Product Elphas - what's the biggest challenge of working with developers?

I'd say my greatest challenge is encouraging developers to proactively communicate. As a product manager, I need to know if a feature is going to be delayed and I like to know "why" so that we can work together to remove blockers. I try to encourage this type of communication by asking for updates and letting the developer know why it's important for me to know (i.e. Are we still on track to ship this week? I'm training on Sales Team today and know they'll ask for the latest update.), so that I don't sound like I'm nagging for no reason :)
saskiahill's profile thumbnail
I feel this one too! Especially tricky with a remote development team, as I can't just pop over to their desk to ask how things are going.Some things we've tried that have helped:'walking the board' - we use a Kanban setup on Jira that shows tickets progressing through different states (to do/in progress/in review etc.). For our standups we talk through what's on the board, so each day you can see exactly what has (or hasn't) moved from the day before. If something hasn't moved the Devs usually explain why as part of their update, so it acts as a flag that something's happened and gives them a chance to report it before you ask about it.Timeboxing - if we want to understand a task with an unclear scope (e.g. what impact will the release of Android 11 have on our app), then we agree a set amount of time in advance for the developers to work on the problem. Once they reach the time they report back - so if they're blocked, it's flagged within a reasonable time frame.The other key thing is trust - if your developers think they'll be punished for finding issues, or delaying, they're less likely to surface it. Keep an open communication and discuss what happened rather than who is 'at fault', and use the opportunities to work together to figure out how similar issues can be avoided in future - shows you're supporting them with their development too 👍
lynchen's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing, @hermine218 ! Communication is definitely extra important during this time. Do you have any favorite tools you use to help with this issue or does it just require more human touch?
No specific tools, more so just the extra human touch! We do team "stand up" each morning to discuss what each person worked on the previous day / what they'll work on today. I'll try to ask during that meeting for timelines but I also ask via Slack as well