Adding Value to Your Technical Team: Think Like Einstein
Not an engineer? Work at an engineering firm? Trying to add value?
Revelry, for the most part, is made up of engineers. While I can speak Engineer, and can understand coded solutions, I am not a developer. When it comes to putting beautiful code on the paper, the team is on a different level.
My motto and intention at the beginning of every week is to add value to the company.
I set out to complete the work that is on my plate, but also to push the needle forward. This is difficult when your team can solve most problems with a coded solution. Fortunately, for the non-technical team, engineering firms are the same as any other business. There is always something, outside of coding a solution, that can be done to add value. Code can only take you so far. When the service your company provides is masterfully crafted code, the majority of the engineers’ working hours are in production on client projects. Even though the team can build something to solve most problems, often, there is not enough time in the day. Business tasks fall outside of the traditional engineer job description. These tasks create the opportunity for the non-technical team to add value.
Whether you are in sales, project or product management, marketing, human resources, or any other non-technical team position at a technical company, adding value is not only a necessity to stand out, it is more accessible than you may think.
Here are 5 ways the non-technical team can add value within a technical work environment.
All five of these are related, and are components that empower you to add value when you put them all together.
If you work at a software company or a development agency you should task yourself to understand the technical ins and outs of your product or service. With this knowledge you can speak more effectively and begin to conduct a deeper analysis of processes and services. This will help create space for your contributions.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying” – Albert Einstein
At Revelry, we use Slack for communication. While verbal meetings and email still exist, the majority of the magic happens through Slack. This provides an opportunity to stay plugged in by simply following various channels. As a non-engineer this helps you get a greater understanding of the development process and will help you identify the areas ripe for your contribution. By using one central communication tool, you can pick up on things that get mentioned by stakeholders, find areas of a project that are not being given attention, figure out what everyone is working on, and find items that are not being addressed. With an ear to the ground, you can always chart a course to add value.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
Picking up the work in a technical company usually means doing something technical. Do not be afraid. Engineers are smart and protect their code in myriad ways. With that said, they will not put you in a position to truly break anything. If you can clean up copy, add marketing features, polish the SEO, run QA, and essentially do anything that falls outside of the primary focus of creating functional code, do it! It will help you learn, but also show other people in the company that you’re not just a one-trick pony. Members of the team might start thinking of you as an option to handle future issues.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
4. Ask Questions
How will you know, if you do not ask? As non-engineers we can approach problems from a different perspective. If you do not ask questions, your perspective will be less valuable. If you can’t figure out something, ask. If you want to know how something works, ask. If you are not sure if your idea is feasible, ask.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
Speak up. Your ideas and solutions might be the outside perspective needed. While rejection hurts, you cannot add value by keeping your thoughts to yourself. If you work at the company you are a part of the team, and your brain has been identified as valuable. Use that brain to think of solutions, push more sales, make better products, increase awareness, or anything else that will increase the notoriety of your firm. Whether your ideas are accepted or not, the exercise is valuable for you and your team. Your voice may be the spark of your team members moment of genius, which is a win for the team.
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” – Albert Einstein
Adding value is a mindset rooted in teamwork. Every person at a company should seek out opportunities to contribute. While being a non-engineer at an engineering firm can be daunting, think of it as just another challenge. This is an opportunity for your expertise to push the company’s technical solutions even further, exceed customer expectations, and surpass internal goals.
The next time you feel like the odd one out, remember to learn, listen, fail, ask questions, share.
What tips and tricks do you use to add value? Got any advice? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story. Would love to chat about playing a non-technical role inside a technical environment.