As a software agency we always encourage our team members across disciplines to nurture a healthy understanding of the technology landscape. It’s common to see this area of expertise left solely to the software engineers, after all they’re the ones writing the code. We’ve found that this can lead to a siloed approach to building software and causes some technical decisions with broad implication to be made outside the full context of the product or business. This way of working prohibits collaboration and pushes the pressure of tech decisions onto fewer individuals.
When a team shares a general understanding of how the tech and infrastructure of a product work we’re able to have more productive discussions informed by all areas of the business. A small caveat here, just because you’ve developed a general understanding that allows you to participate in and contribute to more nuanced technical discussions doesn’t make you an expert. It’s important to remember that we still need to defer to the subject matter experts on our team to have the final say on decisions in their area. The job of the non subject matter expert is to bring the perspective of your area of expertise in order to better inform your team.
At Fusionbox we work with a wide variety of clients with a wide range of technical acumen. While we love working with clients of all types, and consider ourselves excellent coaches and evangelizers that adapt to any team’s needs, we typically find that clients with a basic technical background have an easier time participating in the software development process. This presents itself across multiple key points in the product development process.
Informed Decision Making:
Increased technical knowledge greatly improves an individual's conception of the work required to complete various different software projects. It helps gain an understanding of what’s technically possible and what’s feasible for the business. Technical Knowledge aids in making informed decisions about product features, prioritization, and resource allocation.
Understanding the software development process and your tech stack helps in communicating effectively with developers and stakeholders. It bridges the gap between non-technical and technical team members. This allows you to involve more members of your team into the process.
Knowing the basics of your product’s tech stack enables you to understand challenges and contribute to more problem-solving discussions. The more actively you can participate in the problem solving process the more you can bring in your expertise about the business and product.
Understanding the basics of technology helps in ensuring the quality of your product and understanding its limitations and capabilities. Basic understanding of browser tools can be a game changer in evaluating your site’s performance, responsiveness and accessibility. This also saves you money by leveraging your own resources to participate in and contribute more to the QA process. It’s empowering when you’re able to validate that your product is meeting all of your technical requirements and expectations.
Increasing your understanding of the technology that fuels your application also allows you to improve your communication with customers. It enhances your ability to explain product capabilities and limitations to your users, improving relationships and trust. It allows you to quickly provide context and timelines to customers in a myriad of cases.
In short, even if you’re not building the software products that fuel your business it’s important to have a general understanding of how they work and what they're built on. This greatly increases your ability to make decisions and empower your team. The work to become fluent in the many facets of software development and IT can be daunting but it’ll increase your productivity and save you money in the long run.
Ready to dive in? Here are some resources for improving your technical knowledge:
As a way to help our nontechnical client’s with this challenge we offer hands-on training and lectures through our Fusionbox University series
Free Computer Science, Technology and Coding Courses from Harvard
An excellent entry level book on everything you need to know about the Cloud
A playlist of short videos explaining a wide variety of system design topics
An illustrative video explanation of Generative AI
Use ChatGPT to explain most any basic or complex topics