How To: Maximize the Relationship with Your Development Partner

In the course of my work with brand managers, I’ve noticed a common set of complaints about web developers in general: we’re poor communicators, we seem to miss obvious details and we’re expensive.

While I am sure there are some truly unreliable teams out there, I can’t help but think that a lot of this disappointment comes from a lack of understanding. In the spirit of progress, I’d like to share some insight on how I think you can get maximum value from your web development partner:

1. Show us your passion and vision

As web developers and marketing professionals, we learn about your school vicariously through you. Our mission is to help you succeed, so understanding what inspires you and your schools helps to get our creativity flowing as we tackle different elements throughout your project. We’re in this together, so learning about what you’re working on and why it matters is extremely important to us. The next time you’re meeting with your web developer, be sure to spend a few moments up front talking about the “why” before you jump right to the “what.”

2. Remember: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

The biggest time suck in a web project isn’t usually slowness of work or poor workmanship, but time wasted due to poor communication. The web design process can frequently feel like a game of “telephone”; you know — the game where one person starts by whispering something, but by the time it gets to the end of the line, the message is totally confused? We can work nights and weekends to get a job done for you, but it won’t matter if it turns out there was a miscommunication about what was supposed to be built in the first place. A few lengthy meeting to review and iron out the finer details of a project can be arduous, but remember: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

3. Set up regular check-in meetings

Web developers tend to be introverts, so impromptu meetings and phone calls don’t come as easily as they may for some. Solve this problem by establishing a schedule of meetings or status updates up-front that will keep you in the know about what’s happening with your project.

4. Express gratitude

A little bit of gratitude goes a long way. We once had a client bring in a pizza as a surprise for the development team when they were in the middle of a big project. Let’s just say I’ve never seen so much good will purchased for so little money.

And for all you web developers out there, there was a great article on Happy Cog a while back about how you can also help bridge the communication gap and make the development process for seamless for everyone involved.

Good luck out there! Here’s to setting correct expectations and effective communication all around.