Don’t lose touch with the developers

I was chatting to Andre last night at the 27 Dinner at the Primi in Melrose Arch. He was pretty passionate about how tech evangelists (I’m using this as a broad category intended to include social media/new media evangelists and people advocating the use of technologies but who will likely hand the actual work off to a group of developers/technical people) promote the use of technologies in a variety of contexts and can often lose touch with the feasibility of these implementations and the actual requirements to properly integrate these solutions into an existing infrastructure. We chatted about the example of social media evangelists who advocate the use of social media elements in business and who don’t have a conversation with the developers who may be left to implement these solutions within the company, instead focussing on persuading the thought leaders to buy into the proposed solutions.

I agree with many of his arguments. I believe it is really important to include the developers in the conversation about implementing these solutions and to work out a realistic plan which takes into account the resources and time needed to properly implement the solutions, test them and release them for general consumption. It is also important not to create unrealistic expectations in the minds of the decision makers themselves. On the other hand I also think it is valuable to push the envelope and this is often where evangelists come in. We catch on to a new trend or solution and see the potential for it in a client’s business or generally and promote it. The solution may be outside or on the periphery of the developers’ frame of reference but that’s ok. If we don’t innovate then we don’t make any real progress.

Bottom line here is not to forget the people who will be doing all the work you talk about when you have those conversations. At least take them into account when you make your pitch.

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