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Managing a tech development project without coding expertise: strategies for effective control

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Managing a tech development project without coding expertise: strategies for effective control

Around six years ago I had a friend. An acquaintance, to be completely honest. A wise, old businessman. I say old, but in reality He was around 45 at the time. Well, for the 19 year old me, 45 seemed like the perfect age to knock on the heaven's door. Fun times. He was a founder of a very popular, multi-million dollar platform I'm sure many of you, dear readers, have used.

He had this somewhat criminal look, manner of speech and vibe in general, so you better believe I've paid attention to what he was saying. We were taking a coffee, and talking about smart business stuff. If we filter out all the profanity from his monologue, he told me a very simple truth:

"Cathy, top managers are dumb. They are proud, spoiled, useless and generally can't see past the end of their nose. Entrepreneurs – those are the real heroes! Don't look up to top managers, do me a favour. If you want to be a decent entrepreneur – just do stuff. What's so complicated about that? Two weeks – this is the time it takes to learn anything about anything. Just put everything away – your studies, your job, cat, I don't know, open your laptop and go on a two week binge to learn everything about your next business venture. That's all it takes."

Questionable? Without a doubt. First of all, I personally don't think that "top managers are nitwits" [citation needed]. There are some really talented and wise people out there. Then again, two weeks to learn anything about anything? Really?

On the other hand, if I don't take advice from people less successful than me, I should at least consider the advice given by a much, much more successful person than me. So I did.

Wait, wait – I had a topic to cover. What was it, again? "Managing a tech development project without coding expertise: strategies for effective control"... Oh, okay...

What I'm trying to say is that there's just no magic wand to manage a successful tech project without any understanding of tech. Man, it just doesn't work this way, there's no way around. There comes a moment when you have to roll up your sleeves and do stuff, as this guy said. But be not afraid, for the time of suffering is fleeting – mere 14 days.

You're right, only a Sith deals in absolutes, and two weeks is not nearly enough to learn everything, but it's definitely enough for all the new stuff in your head to click in place. Let me think of a good example... Let's take the concept of technical singularity. Here's what Wikipedia says about it:

"The technological singularity—or simply the singularity[1]—is a hypothetical future point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable consequences for human civilization."

What does it have to do with your coding experience (or its absence)?

See, there comes a moment in any learning curve, when you begin to learn without actually studying. By just, you know, living. This is the equivalent of singularity in learning – knowing barely enough to know how to ask and what the answer means. Take your time and learn what a database is, but by God, don't try to learn which database structure is superior – you'll wake up old and all wrinkly. There are people for that, and you'll ask them. Learn about frameworks and libraries, but don't memorise their names as your DuoLingo flashcards – there are people for that, and they will share their priceless advice. Learn about developer types but don't waste your time becoming a developer yourself – again, there are people for that (these people are us, by the way).

So, was my friend right? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure he owes most of his achievements to hard work, grip and a bit of luck (in a good way, we all need it) – and all that bravado about 2 weeks to learn everything was just that – cheap bravado to impress me. Did it work? Yeah, it did. 19 year old me started to employ this method in my studies, work, at home. Everywhere, basically. Then, as I grew older, in business. Two weeks of pure, uninterrupted concentration – a crash course of sorts.

On a side note – how the hell did you expect to manage a tech project without any tech knowledge? You've stumbled upon this article which means it ranked high enough for you to see it – are you all guys out of your mind? Guess my next article will cover another popular topic: "How to perform an open heart surgery if I'm a professional wrestler". For real, if you're confident enough that your next app will be a success – be confident enough to learn a bit about the tech behind it, simple as that.

(That's how I felt writing the paragraph above)

Go to StackOverflow, ask questions, get boo-ed, ask more questions, get boo-ed again! For all his arrogance, what my friend said made sense. Talk about defining moments in life.

So, React or React Native? MongoDB or MySQL? Async or Defer? Come on – 14 days, clock's ticking.


And if you've already surpassed the tech language barrier, it might be a good moment to start thinking about building your developer team. And at we'll be happy to help. We screen our devs, we background check our devs, we test our devs, we love our devs. And I'm sure you'll do too.

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