5 Reasons Developers need to be Educators

Telling the client that the problem is fixed is not enough.

I’ve been writing more and more each day but it’s not for you…it’s for our clients. My “topics” haven’t been about timelines or project updates, it has been about education.

I’ve been taking the time to teach our clients about what we do and how we do it. You might be thinking “oh, that’s very nice of you”, but really, it’s for selfish reasons.

Telling the client that the problem is fixed is not enough. It’s kinda like that ol’ saying…” Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach him to use the Internet, and he won’t bother you for weeks!” In our case, it’s about teaching our clients about what the problem is, the logic we took to fix the problem and what walls we came up against in troubleshooting it.

This doesn’t just have to be about bug squashing either. It could be about the benefits of using Zurb’s Foundation framework, or how modular scale works or the reason for using one typeface over another or why Git is just plain awesome. Here are some of the why’s about the how’s:

  1. Transparency. Having client’s “see” what you’re doing has huge value. They feel involved and are able to pass on that understanding to other problems or technologies. It helps them understand your point of view and ultimately see the amount of effort it takes to deliver a product or service
  2. You help them become an expert. By explaining what you are doing and how you’re doing it, you’re enabling them to become the internal expert in their company or organization.
  3. Clients become partners. This follows from #1 and #2. If the client understands what you’re doing and slowly becomes an expert in their own right, the client and service relationship becomes much more of a partnership. Projects become collaborative rather than separate.
  4. It saves time. Educating clients saves a bunch of time. When they know more, you need to explain less.
  5. It’s fun. Helping people get better is gratifying and you might even get a beer out of it.

Taking the time to educate is critical. Taking the time now will save you time later.

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