Is It Time to Break Up? Your Relationship with Your Developer

By Stuart Smith | April 16, 2020 |

Is It Time to Break Up? Your Relationship with Your Developer

It’s funny to think of it this way but having a relationship with a software development company can be like a romantic relationship. When you consider it, the similarities become obvious.

Entering a new relationship can be tricky. People put their best foot forward when dating. It’s hard to really get to know someone when you are just dating. Things tend to stay a little more surface level. Once you do enter a real relationship, you start to understand the person better over time.

Good communication is important in any relationship. The better and easier communication is, the better the chance of having a deeper connection and a successful relationship.

Often relationships end because one party breaks the other’s trust, sometimes by cheating on them with another. If another person is getting all the attention and you start to feel neglected, there is a good chance the relationship will not work out.

Typically, when a relationship goes bad there are warning signs right from the beginning. We tend to ignore these warning signs in the beginning, as we are excited about the possibilities the relationship will bring.

Often relationships start out great but then turn sour as time passes. When they do turn sour, they can be difficult, even painful to end.

If you have been burned in a relationship there is a lot of trepidation when it comes time to try to start a new relationship with someone else. No one wants to get burned again.

breaking up with your developer

Know When It’s Time To Move On

I’m sure a lot of this sounds familiar when you speak about a relationship with another person. But think about it in the context of a relationship between two companies or an entrepreneur and a software development company.

Entering a new relationship with a company is similar in that companies try to put their best foot forward when you first meet. It’s hard to really get to know a company until you enter a relationship with them and experience working with them firsthand.

Good communication in a business relationship is critical. You should always know the status of a project. You should know how decisions you make will affect the timeline or budget. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make good decisions.

When you first start a project with a company, you may be their entire focus. Your project gets the most attention and everyone is excited to see it be successful. But sometimes other projects can become more important to the company you’re working with and you start to feel neglected. Resources can get pulled to other projects and your projects slows or worse. You can feel abandoned.

Often there are small warning signs from the beginning that things might not be all you thought they would be. Maybe you don’t get status updates as frequently as possible, or communications with the development team are difficult because of time zones or language barriers. Maybe tasks take a little longer to complete than expected or cost estimates are a little off. Often these warning signs are overlooked. Until they start to compound with other issues.

When you do decide to end your relationship with a company it can get ugly. Sometimes the breakup is more friendly and mutual, but it can be very difficult and painful to end. Some companies will try to hold you hostage and even be reluctant to turn over YOUR code. If you have a partner with an equity stake in your project, it can be even harder to get away.

If you have just come out of a bad relationship with a company, it’s hard to start a new relationship without a lot of trepidation. How do you know that you won’t get burned again?

Meeting discussing software development quotes

Find “The One” For You

Again, it may sound funny, but you can learn to trust again. You can learn from the mistakes made the first time around and look for those warning signs that may have been ignored.

Any new company that you decide to partner with must be able to earn your trust. They should be able to communicate clearly, have enough resources to have people focused on your project, and have a track record of seeing things through.

It’s often better to start a new relationship slowly. If your project has been in production for some time and you would like a new company to take over maintenance and enhancements, it’s best to start small in an isolated area of the product and then expand from there. This way you can get a feel for the company before committing, like dating before you get married.

Any new company you consider partnering with should have some empathy for your situation. It’s important that the history is exposed so that past mistakes can be addressed and avoided in the future. Plus, it just feels good to vent sometimes.

In any case, sometimes there comes a time when you have to start again, and you have to be able to accept the past and move on with a new relationship.

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith

Stuart has been working as a technology professional for about 30 years. He got his start working in systems operations/systems management and then moved on to software development. He has a diverse history with technology working with software applications and systems ranging from avionics, web applications, disaster recovery, license plate recognition, content management, and systems monitoring.