I work for a digital agency. Seems obvious right? But if I think about my technical ‘digital’ expertise, I would probably consider it minimal. Compared to the team around me who are creating amazing digital products every day, my technical knowledge is lacking. But does that matter?
Is it important for everyone working in such an environment to have a detailed understanding of every stage of the process? We’ve thought so in the past, and it has led to some average hires. Could it be that it takes a diverse bunch of people to fill all the positions in business, even a small business like ours?
Of course, an understanding of the basic process is a given. If you were employing me as a developer (watch your back Christo!) you might be making a huge mistake, but as a client account manager or team leader, does it matter if I don’t have a technical background? I bring other skills to the table that are all part of making a successful business run, keeping clients happy, and leading a happy and engaged team.
It may seem counter-intuitive to have developers report to someone who has never developed a piece of software in their life, but here’s why it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
A team you can trust
I consider myself lucky to have a talented, and dedicated bunch of individuals around me, and therefore I’m happy to bow to their greater knowledge. I defer to their expertise often, always comfortable that their experience and training dictates that I shouldn’t interfere or overrule! Having said that, I’m not afraid to question them when I really think it’s necessary, or when I need something explaining in laymen’s term. If I don’t understand it, the chances are neither will the client.
An opportunity to learn
Inevitably, like in any new environment, you pick things up as you go along. Be open to this. Embrace it! Personally, I like the challenge of learning something new and LOVE the sense of pride when you get to drop your new found knowledge into the day-to-day. (Sometimes I even surprise myself!)
A structure you can lean on
Having the right tools in place as a business makes all of this so much easier. Project Management software, business structure and communication tools create a safe space where collaboration is paramount and simple to facilitate.
Are we even a technical organisation?
Sure, we develop digital products. The core of our business is creating websites and mobile apps. We have the practical expertise to build a sound product, but the real magic is in all the work that happens up front. Analysing the users journey. Perfecting branding. Realising the end goal. Our passion lies in the creative, UI/UX, content strategy and marketing phases of the project. A project isn’t just coding. In that respect, why not have a marketer or designer lead the team?