How to Manage a Tech Team if You’re a Non-Technical Person?
Not all managers of technology companies understand technology. LeadIT - a multidisciplinary web developer confirms: you can manage an IT company without the ability to write code - and shares the experience of how to manage the development of the product, if you do not understand anything about it.
When the technical manager sets a deadline: 6 months to solve the problem. How can you possibly disagree with him: you do not know how long it takes. Is half a year a lot or not enough for such tasks?
But if the management sets physically impracticable demands, the team will have problems. You do not want the lack of the necessary knowledge to lead to a crisis. That's what you should do, so that this does not happen.
№1 Learn to trust your experts.
When you are told that it takes six months to complete the task, you have the right to ask whether it is possible to speed things up, but you cannot demand it. You need to trust the team for a word, trust its pace and do not interfere.
№2 Convince professionals to trust you.
For a manager, strategic thinking, the ability to lead people and to unite them around a common goal are paramount. Show that you are a reliable leader. Let them know your standards and your commitment. Be honest and fair with them. Usually, to get your authority recognized and respected, you should show that you deserve it.
№ 3 Initiate investments in technology.
Without understanding the technology, it's easy to be distracted by familiar and notable aspects - monetization, development of functions. But what is hidden from the eyes of the client - the architecture of the project, the improvement of processes and tools, the rewriting of outdated code, the improvement of quality and reliability – should mean as much. To know the needs of you team, gather them weekly or monthly for special meetings where they can share their problems and recommend some improvements.
№4 Focus on large-scale technical issues.
This helps to understand the position of the development teams and determine what obstacles must be eliminated so that work on the product is more effective. Apart from that, talk to your team about the final goals and serious issues to get regular updates and to show that you are involved in the process.
№5 Continue to learn.
In the technological industry, everything is changing rapidly. Watch out for changes so as not to look like a dinosaur in the eyes of your subordinates. You may not be able to write code, but at least the names of the most common programming languages and platforms are worth remembering (Ruby and Python, although now everyone is switching to React).
№6 Know your product.
It seems obvious at first sight and most managers of coarse do it. When I say ”know it” I actually mean “understand it”. You must understand and always keep in mind what the product will be used for, who is going to use it, what problems it will solve and what stages the product needs to pass before going to the market.
№7 Make friends with the team.
A friendly talk on the BBQ at weekend or at the bar on the Friday night with some of your team members will help you understand and evaluate the real atmosphere in the team. In addition, some of your team members might be happy to teach you some tech stuff so you can talk the same language with them.