Digital Agencies

Understanding the Development Team – A Challenge for a CMO?

Published 19/10/2021

Although it might seem like a clich?, software engineers and marketers rarely see eye to eye in many agencies. After collaborating with the technical team, a CMO may ask, “Why is Understanding the Development Team such a Challenge?” However, this “conflict” between marketing and engineering is brought about by certain factors for which both sides are partly responsible. Here are some reasons why a CMO may find it hard to understand the development team.

Software Engineers Speak A Different Language

No secret, specialized fields, including engineering and marketing, use vernacular. These jargons come in handy when communicating with colleagues using acronyms, shorthand, and various industry terms. However, many software engineers sometimes use these technical terms when interacting with the marketing team, leading to confusion. For instance, when discussing projects like application or website development, the technical team might throw around some technical-sounding words like “JSON Web Encryption” and “graceful degradation.” 

However, CMOs and other marketing team members prefer that the development team communicate in simple, plain English instead of assuming that non-tech teams are familiar with their terms. As such, many experts recommend that developers should always speak in simple English and break down concepts. Drawing out ideas through diagrams is also highly recommended so CMOs can understand what developers are communicating better.

The Development Team’s Inflexibility In Switching Tasks

Another crucial answer to the question “Why is Understanding the Development Team such a Challenge?” is that managers don’t understand developers who can’t switch tasks mid-project. Often, when developers are waist-deep in planned project work, many CMOs place requests for a quick fix in other areas in the stack. These CMOs assume that their request’s simplicity is just like switching tabs in a browser to work on something else and simply returning after completion. 

Although these development teams exist as an umbrella to receive and act on these requests, developers often hate being derailed if not high-priority. Therefore, developers are sometimes reluctant to conduct these “quick fixes,” citing the cost involved in fixing other concerns as more meaningful and demanding than merely “switching tabs in a browser.” As such, many CMOs are left bewildered since they cannot grasp developers’ schedules and how different it is at a rudimentary level.

Projects that May Require More Time

In the realm of information technology, many projects often take longer to complete successfully than initially intended. Consequently, many developers quickly communicate the time realities surrounding the successful completion of website development and other projects to CMOs. However, as with any C-Suite role, CMOs prefer things done quickly, so the development team’s prolonged turnaround estimate even with “simple” tasks can be puzzling, with CMOs wondering why their engineers cannot use their skills to move things along faster.

The Choice Between Time, Cost, And Quality

Website development and other projects take time, require money, and must be executed properly to guarantee maximum quality. Some projects can be completed inexpensively and quick but won’t be of the best quality. Similarly, a high-quality product can be done rapidly, but you will have to pay through the nose for it. It is very challenging to satisfy the time, cost, and quality demands of a single project. However, many CMOs prefer tasks to be of the highest quality, completed on time, and at minimum cost. Therefore, CMOs are often left scratching their heads after their development team informs them that they must sacrifice cost, quality, or time to complete their projects successfully.

Engineers Overstepping Their Scope Of Expertise

Engineers often think they understand the business side of operations because it is generally more accessible to outsiders. After all, an intelligent engineer can quickly read a few business articles and make arguments about business strategy, while a marketer or salesperson can’t grasp tech knowledge overnight. Therefore, CMOs are often left confused by developers who try to overstep their scope of expertise. 

Sometimes, engineers may try to force technically great but unmarketable products to the market. These software engineers often believe that once a product works well, it will be a big hit on the market based on technical merit alone. Consequently, CMOs become perplexed when developers don’t seem to get that a product’s success on the market extends beyond its technical capabilities alone, as several elements work together to ensure product success.

Engineers Who Want In On Projects From the Very Beginning

It is common knowledge that all product development starts with discussions about product vision, the market, strategy, and customers. These concerns are typically priorities of CMOs, and their teams, so many CMOs often don’t consider engineers’ involvement crucial at this stage of product development. Many CMOs assume engineers are too busy and disinterested in interacting with others instead of coding, so they are satisfied with leaving them out of product vision and strategy talks in the initial stages. However, for successful product delivery, engineers or at least the lead technologist should be involved in this stage to provide feedback on feasibility and give the technical the overarching product.

Development Teams That Don’t Have Answers

Many CMOs and other marketing staff consider developers as magicians who can solve any problem, irrespective of scope or complexity. However, even the highly specialized development team doesn’t know it all and may have to investigate new technologies and explore alternative ways to approach technological problems. Sometimes, CMOs and other non-tech team members are surprised when the development team has no answers to a particular tech problem.

Developers Asking More Questions

Many CMOs bring ?simple? requests before their development teams, who typically ask many questions to understand what marketing is trying to achieve better. However, these CMOs are reluctant to answer any questions, seeing their quick and harmless requests as simple enough to be acted upon immediately. However, developers often factor in entangled dependencies and other considerations upon receiving these requests, so CMOs often don’t get their wishes granted immediately.

Is There Any Solution?

Communicate, inter-communicate, and over-communicate! When everyone feels validated and valued success follows.?When everyone feels validated and valued success follows.

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