You are only as good as the team behind you. You must get to know what they do, how they do it, and why.

This is a short version of my personal journey to better understand the developers I work with day in and day out.

As I continue to receive feedback on how to best team up with my fellow coworkers at Nearsoft, I, as a marketing guy,I still want to be on the same wavelength with developers.

After all, I am supposed to have the scoop on what we are /l actually trying to sell.

As a rule of thumb I am focused on building a conversation and rapport with prospects. This requires creativity and communication skills.

I should have a working knowledge of what goes on in a developer’s environment. And it starts with asking questions.

Ask the Right Questions

I should ask the right questions, and keep asking them until I understand the answers. Only then I will be able to see the method behind the madness. Hopefully, I’ll learn about the products they’re working on.

Take a Genuine Interest

I want to understand at least the basics of the technologies used.

I am not talking about just asking superfluous questions, but to really understand. Only then I can help my team leave an imprint in the industry as a whole.

Find Common Ground

This could be common passions, interests, motivators, and even hobbies.

I will surely find something in common with most folks at the company. Eating lunch together whenever possible; talking over a beer, coffee, or whatever; or just take a few minutes to chat, either in person or online.

I want to get to know as many of the other people who make the company tick as possible.

Hopefully, they’ll want to get to know me as well.

It’s the What, Not the How

After watching my developer coworkers, I know that creating a software product is hard. Not because of the code, but because of the gap between what the client wants and what is possible.

When a client says, “I want to do X…,” they key is to understand exactly what “X” means. Great developers are skilled in doing this. A similar skill helps me not look like a fool.

Ask LOTS of Questions

Ask about the big picture, fine details, challenges, and deliverables.
How do developers approach a new problem? How do they break it into smaller pieces? How do they identify which of those they should worry most about? When should I check back in? How can I help?

There are a literally thousand of these types of decisions along the path that need to be in alignment.

Finally …

I believe that when it comes to straddling the gap between marketing and developers, I should be able to adapt.

Even if it feels awkward at first, keep trying. Fake it until you make it.