Ask Your Developer

Ask Your Developer: How to Prosper in a ‘Build or Die’ Business Landscape” by Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson is an outstanding book for numerous reasons. Most notably, Lawson delves deep into the significance of integrating engineering needs into the business and emphasizes the importance of maintaining frequent and effective communication with engineers.

All too often, I’ve witnessed software planning and discussions taking place in secluded meetings or sessions involving sales teams, account managers, and senior IT managers, but excluding the very people who will be building the software. Regrettably, I’ve sometimes been that IT manager. At its core, software development is a collaborative process that demands consistent and clear communication. This ensures all stakeholders understand what they are building, what they will receive, and the value it will bring.

Another pivotal aspect of Lawson’s approach is framing any piece of work for an engineer as a problem that needs a solution, rather than a task to be completed. Managers frequently fall into the trap of dictating to engineers how to address an issue, rather than allowing engineers to leverage their extensive technical expertise to devise a solution. Managers should pinpoint the problems (or opportunities), while engineers should be entrusted to resolve those problems (or capitalize on the opportunities).

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