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Building Good Relationships Between Engineers and Business Teams

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ENGINEERING SERVICES

Building Good Relationships Between Engineers and Business Teams

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Meeting between engineers and business analysts in an open plan office
Meeting between engineers and business analysts in an open plan office

A growing challenge for businesses today is hiring skilled, affordable developers and technical engineers. In many markets, there are more job openings than candidates to fill them, and demand has caused salaries to increase tremendously. The problem is so severe that many companies are being forced to put major technical projects  on hold or seek alternative solutions, such as outsourcing the work to a consultancy or exploring fractional engineering services.

Whether you’ve managed to hire some great developers and technical engineers internally for your team or outsourced the work externally, you need to focus on making sure that you’re building good relationships between them and the members of your business team. What exactly are the kinds of things you should be doing to ensure that happens? 

Three young engineers sitting at a computer review code

9 Ways to Build a Good Working Relationship Between Your Engineering and Business Teams

To foster an environment filled with equal parts camaraderie and collaboration, here are 9 ways to help ensure that your engineering and business teams work well together as a single, unified team with a common goal: 

1. Consult Your Tech Partner on the Scope of a Project

While it’s always important to have open communication across teams, perhaps the most critical time for that communication to take place is before a project even begins. Defining the resources, timeline, and costs associated with a technical project requires a full understanding of what goes into it, from both a  business and technical perspective. Be sure to include someone with technical experience to help ensure that you scope out the project correctly. 

2. Recognize Unique Skill Sets

A good technical team is made up of specialists with different skill sets. For example, someone with UX/UI experience, likely can not do backend code, and a backend coder isn’t a specialist in dev ops, you get the idea. If you’re lucky enough to have specialists on your team, give them the freedom to do what they excel at. Your team will be better for it.

3. Set Team Expectations Early

While it’s nice to think that two teams will just seamlessly come together, the truth is, you’re going to need to do a little work to help make that happen. You need to define a process of how you’re going to work together that both groups need to agree on, a rules of engagement, if you will. You need to decide how you’ll communicate with members of the other team, how frequently, what channels you’ll use to do so, etc.

Group of coworkers happily discussing a project at their desks

4. Communicate Your Short, Mid, and Long-Term Vision

Make sure everyone on both teams not only fully understands the overall vision of the project, but what that vision will look like at different points along the project journey. This will help to determine the right strategy and infrastructure necessary to bring that vision to fruition. 

5. Set Priorities

While it would certainly be wonderful if you were able to check off every item on your project to-do list, the reality is that you probably won’t. Which is why, when you create your project roadmap, think in terms of priorities. What absolutely needs to get done first versus what would be nice to get done. Make it clear across the team what the priorities are so no time is wasted working on the wrong things. 


quote

Individual commitment to a group effort -- 
that is what makes a team work, a company work, 
a society work, a civilization work.

VINCE LOMBARDI


quote

6. Define the MVP

This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. What is the  minimum viable product (MVP) you want to get out into the marketplace first? That should be everyone’s focus. You might think that getting your product out into the market with all the accompanying bells and whistles is what’s most important toward making a great first impression. Know what’s most important? Early market entry with a product that does exactly what it needs to do, and does it well. With an agile mindset, you’ll have plenty of time to iterate down the road, and add on as many bells and whistles as you like.

7. Check in Regularly

Regular check ins are a great way to avoid teams being siloed or veering from priorities. Regardless of what projects are in motion, we recommend weekly sync ups. Yes, you want to hear from developers that their tasks are moving along or that the roadmap is progressing, but they also need to hear from business teams about larger business decisions that could have a potential impact on technology in some way, even if it’s far down the road. You may not realize something else you’re working on in a silo may impact how they build something now. Remember, over-communicating is never a bad decision. 

Young male engineer sitting at his computer smiling at the camera

8. Maintain Your Code

Technology and code doesn’t get set in stone. It’s not something that you launch once and then leave alone for years to come. You need to maintain it and update it in order for it to work seamlessly with new tools or features you may want to integrate, and for it to be able to keep up with competitors and user expectations. It’s not always possible to add modern functionality to an outdated platform, so, as time goes on, you need to make sure you’re regularly updating things. This will also make it easier to find developers to work on these projects and easier/less expensive/less timely when you have fixes or upgrades down the road.

9. Get to Know Each Other

While it might sound obvious, don’t underestimate the importance of having members of both teams simply spend some personal time getting to know each other. Your teams may have different ways of working, areas of expertise, varied backgrounds, etc, but you’re all working towards the same goal. You’ll find that spending some time sharing those backgrounds with each other will go a long way towards turning two separate teams into one. 

Two colleagues smiling while sitting at a computer

On the Same Page

With competition at an all time high, it’s more important than ever that business and technical teams combine their talents and come together to create a single, unified team with a goal of helping their business grow. The faster you can foster a “one for all and all for one” mentality within your organization, the better off your future fortunes will be.

It’ll also make a difference to your people. Knowing that the person next to you has the same objective that you do helps to instill a single-minded sense that everyone is not just pulling their oars at the same time, but that they’re pulling towards the same destination. 

Interested in learning more about PeakActivity’s Engineering Services? Visit our website for more information.

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