How to manage developers

in March 2016 we acquired Notify. over the next five months i learned how to write technical specs through trial and error, for a dev team that worked while i slept.

the essence of a good spec? minimal ambiguity.

today i’m shipping a course to help non-technical marketers and business people manage their technical counterparts.

if you:

  • work on a team alongside developers
  • founded a company or side project with developers
  • already hired a developer but aren’t managing them well

this course may help.

developer lingo

in rapid fire i describe 30 important pieces of software terminology. when you speak the same language as your developer counterparts, you get more done.

spec writing

this is the holy grail of developer communication. articulate what you want clearly and your product ships. if you don’t it goes over budget or doesn’t get finished at all.

data modeling

since this is a large subject, i merely introduce it in v1 of the course. as students submit feedback i’ll add more lectures outlining how to think about database architecture and how to illustrate it for developers.


one of my favorite aspects of product planning, wireframes are a high leverage tactic to visually explain what you want, further reducing ambiguity from your vision.

hiring and negotiating

i walk through the pros and cons of paying developers hourly vs flat-rate, and how you can lock in the latter arrangement. we also discuss what development needs warrant full time employees or agencies vs contractors.


how do you keep a developer on track daily, weekly, monthly? we’ll walk through a few tools and techniques to stay on the same page while also reducing distractions so developers can do their best work.

scaling and empowerment

over time, the ROI of great engineers compounds: they become an expert at your product, and an expert at your personal tastes. in this section we talk about how to keep developers motivated to stick around and unlock this benefit.

check out the course and enroll here.