Fractional Developer Management... to the Rescue?
Got a Dev Team, But Not Results?
Jun 22, 2023
You: I hired a good developer. So where is my product?
Shouldn't it be done by now? What's going on with software development? Why isn't this product finished yet? Why don't the developers get anything done? Is this team really even putting the hours in?
Your Developer: Every time I talk to the CEO and the team there's a new idea.
I'm chasing all these different threads and have no idea what this application is actually supposed to do. Every time I get 90% done with something and show it to them, they want to pivot it! And they insist that everything be perfect and bug-free before launch...
I've been on both sides of this equation, so I can empathize! What's missing from this equation? Simply put, it's a full proper scoop of Product Management, with a sprinkling of project management on top. Most developers lack the industry vertical knowledge needed to translate a CEO's off-the-cuff comments into workable requirements, and those that do command a premium.
Beyond product management, someone needs to gut-check the approach the developers are taking, and crucially, make hard technical decisions fast. That's where a Software Architect and Engineering Manager come in. Larger scale product teams often employ a combination including a Product Owner, a Software Architect, and an engineering manager to boot!
What does each of these players contribute?
Product Owner / Product Manager: The Product Owner or Product Manager is responsible for the What - as in what are we building, and how does that meet the needs of clients and prospects?
Software Architect: The Software Architect is responsible for the How - from a technical perspective, how are we building this application, what's the tech stack, and how do we ensure that meets the goals?
Engineering Manager: The Engineering Manager is responsible for the Who - Who amongst our developers will tackle different aspects of this project, and who will get them to stay on track and unblocked in terms of progress?
Project Manager / Scrum Master: The Project Manager is responsible for the When - keeping individual workstreams on time and communication flowing ensures the project stays on schedule.
While having this complete management layer can be effective at scale, it's simply upside down from a cost perspective on a 2-4 person dev team. So how do you gain the benefits of an effective management layer, without hiring more managers than workers? Hence the image up top - you don't want a team of 4 managers watching one developer write code. Enter fractional management…
Recently clients have been asking us to help manage their outsourced developers, in order to maximize those teams' effectiveness. Using a fractional approach, we've been able to provide Product Management, Project Management, and Software Architecture at a reasonable rate for existing clients. This approach worked well enough that we decided to make it an official plan.
Announcing our new Manage Plan!
Our new Manage plan costs $4k/month and covers the management of a 2-person dev team - it scales up at $2k/month per additional developer from there. Both project management and software architecture guidance are included at this level - we take your dev team and provide the glue to make them more effective.
P.S. If you've read my posts, you know that I'm passionate about growing and running startups profitably. I'm bringing that experience to clients directly - any client of the Manage plan or working with 2 or more of our resources can expect to see me on their Slack! Schedule a time to find out more.