Engineers use their skill set to design, develop and create a product or solution. The problem happens when organizations have non-technical managers propose IT projects. This can cause a communication gap between the business side and the technology side.
Collaboration between departments requires:
- Clear goals and expectations
- Effective communication skills
Within organizations that have a technology department, the technology employees are often used as a platform to achieve business goals. However, this platform requires a careful balance between the technology department and the business as a whole. There also need to be interdepartmental practices in place that allow technology department employees to inject their own creativity into the products that they build.
Steps to create the best possible technology product possible:
At the start of a project, it's important for the non-technical manager to realize their level of tech knowledge. The initial proposal is instrumental in setting the tone for an innovative project.
Other goals and talking points of this stage include:
- The business side to explain why the project is needed
- How the project should benefit the organization
- Set a realistic, but agile timeline
- Any other goals and expectations
When embarking on an overhaul of an old process or preparing to create a new product, it is necessary for both sides to take an agile approach. The foundation of any agile project is Alex Osborn’s brainstorming concept. He describes four basic principles to stimulate creative thinking, which are:
- Go for quantity
- Withhold criticism
- Welcome wild ideas
- Combine ideas
During brainstorming, each side needs to follow a set of guidelines that relate to their role. For example, in the brainstorming process, a non-technical manager should define basic requirements, not how they would design the technology product. Frustration can easily develop within this stage because of a lack of understanding. How can a software developer have a conversation with a sales manager if they do not even speak the same technical languages? Instead of the initial proposal being a constructive conversation, it can easily become a series of commands from the business side.
Once a technology team has a defined and unified goal, the development team can begin to creatively collaborate. The goal is to have technology become the art of formulating a vision based on a set of goals and expectations. At this stage, it is important to have a creative work environment, and also prioritize an individual’s internal motivation. By know what drives your employee’s internal motivators to do a task, an organization can reap the benefits associated with challenged and satisfied employees. During development non-technical managers must realize that change is inevitable. If a technology team is allowed to have creative freedoms they can constantly find more efficient and useful ways to create the best end result.
After the project has been completed, it is important for the business to realize and acknowledge the innovation of the technology team. As Patrick Guevara, our Lead Software Engineer, said, “One of the things that hinders creativity is the widely held belief that the devices, and the people working with them, are just machines.” Managers can show appreciation by providing encouragement. This will promote future innovation the team and also individual employees. Simply said, a job well done, should always be praised.
Creativity and innovation within the constraints of a technology department is centered around:
- Collective problem solving
By having the necessary freedoms and processes in place, the bridge between non-technical business teams and technology teams can be joined thereby allowing for innovative products and projects.