3 Mistakes Non-Technical People Make When They Develop Software
Developing successful software is challenging, and creating it can be even more difficult if you aren’t technically skilled. Not only must you manage all the typical challenges that accompany development, but you must also learn what those challenges are in the first place. Software development skills may seem foreign to you at the start, and it’s easy to get lost in the complexities of the discipline.
Mistake #1: Underestimating the Language Barrier
Communication is a two-way street; its biggest issues are misunderstandings, such as requirements, expectations, or solutions. Translating complex technical concepts into layperson’s terms is no easy task. It’s not just technical terminology that can cause gaps in understanding. The language of software development confuses many non-technical people, but the same is often true in reverse. When working with your team, you likely use industry or company-specific terminology. Technologists are specialists in their field, not healthcare, logistics, finance, or other sectors.
Be sure to ask for clarification on terminology and ask questions when you have them. Go beyond expectations and define common terminology you use within your industry. You didn’t learn your job overnight, and nor will you immediately understand all the intricacies of development. The best way to learn is through firsthand experience. Remain persistent, ask questions, and have faith in the process.
Mistake #2: Getting Stuck on the Wrong Task
When you’re first able to work with something tangible in your development process, it’s easy to start thinking about finer details like stock imagery or filler copy. In this formative stage, the focus is not on the content but rather on the structure and outline of the web page and how menus work.
For example, the main concern during a project’s wireframing phase is to ensure that the functionality you want is represented. Try not to worry about how the design will look at the end of the process. When deciding on a design, look at the color, feel, and layout. Pay attention to the text’s layout and the amount of area offered, and don’t ruminate over the text content or images.
Solution: Clarify Feedback Expectations
Many developers follow an Agile model, focusing sprints on completing smaller pieces of functionality. Whenever you receive a deliverable, ask your developer what you should be evaluating. For wireframes, it’ll likely be the page structure and user flows. For designs, review the colors and page elements. Make sure you understand the objective of each sprint and provide feedback accordingly.
Mistake #3: Just Because it is Simple to Explain Doesn’t Make it Simple to Build
Even though a process can be easily explained, the actions of its creation are challenging. For example, you want to implement the ability for a user to upload a document to your existing online form submission. While this is simple to develop, to do it correctly, the code should do much more than accept the file and store it in a database on a server. The code must account for data storage, user considerations, error handling, security issues, and retrieval capabilities. Here are a few examples:
- What is the maximum upload size?
- Did the entire file transfer from the user’s browser to the database?
- Are the files free of any viruses or malware?
- Can the user delete and upload a different document if they accidentally uploaded the wrong one?
- What kind of file types will be allowed to be uploaded?
- How do we give the user feedback on the transfer and success (or failure)?
- What happens if the user’s internet connection fails during the transfer?
Solution: Don’t Assume Anything is Simple
No matter how simple an idea or functionality might seem, complications may emerge that make it anything but simple to create.
It All Comes Down to Trust
You hired a development company because of the quality of their work rather than doing it yourself. You rely on their expertise, knowledge, and technical skills. Your professional partner can help you with what technology stack, architectural structure, and other decisions you need to make. No matter your selection, it will have consequences for your project and allow you to assess how you will handle problems in the future. When working with a software development firm, they will have your best interest in mind, but it can be hard to explain the technical reasons why. Knowing you can trust the company’s judgment will help establish your trust in it.