Your Startup should have a Developer and Project Manager – But Never the Same in One

Many businesses make the mistake of hiring people for roles that they aren’t qualified or experienced to perform. This is especially the case for startup companies looking to keep costs down by having as small a staff as possible. Developers in particular are often hired to both develop and act as project managers, which is fundamentally flawed. In fact, this is one of the top human resources related reasons, in addition to poor staff management, that leads to the failure of startups.

The Problem in a Nutshell

A smart entrepreneur poised for success is someone who has a well thought-out business plan which has already factored in the costs of hiring integral staff members – at least for a year anyway. Business owners who don’t, end up hiring too few people and overworking them, in addition to expecting skill sets these individuals aren’t trained to provide. This stunts the growth of the company and has undesirable side effects on the team as a whole.

What a Developer can bring to the Table

The term “developer” can be used to describe a wide range of professionals. There are software developers, web developers, system developers, application developers, and more. What they all have in common is that they usually work as part of a team (or on their own) to design a part of, or see to the completion, of an element (whether a website, database, application, game or anything else). Developers are hired for their specialization in a certain area, and also assist with research, testing, maintenance, updates, and modifications as needed. Developers often work directly with clients to discuss projects, and also assist the company they work for by presenting ideas and cost assessments.

The Advantage of Hiring a Project Manager

Whereas a developer usually focuses on a specific task, a project manager is someone who often manages a team of professionals and orchestrates development toward an end goal. While there are entry level developers, a project manager is usually someone with years of experience within a specific industry and knows how to steer a company in the right direction; especially in relation to creating quality, profitable products and services on time and on budget. Funnily enough, many project managers are ridiculed for having “easy jobs”, but that’s usually a façade since those competent at their jobs eliminate problems before they see the light of day and keep things organized.

A business owner who sees a developer and project manager as two separate assets, and understands each of their roles will have a better chance of success. If you don’t have large capital, it’s always possible to contract work on a per project basis or work with an agency to find suitable temps. There are stories abound of people who tried and failed, so rather than imitating their ignorance, learn from their mistakes and turn your staff into a well-oiled machine to carry your mission forward.