A good website should be clear and well-designed, as well as secure and easy to navigate.
Building a site with all of these elements requires insights and expertise from both marketing and engineering teams. But oftentimes, the process isn’t truly collaborative.
Instead, these teams often work within silos. The marketing team might write tickets requesting updates — like adding a new interactive element, fresh CTAs, or tweaks to the sitemap — which are “thrown over the wall” to engineers to decipher and implement these requests. This can lead to valuable time spent resolving miscommunication, resulting in an “us versus them” mentality between teams and taking precious time away from the essential work that each team does best.
Luckily, there’s a better way to approach web development. When marketers and engineers are both able to own different parts of the website and play to their respective strengths, everyone is able to succeed. Here’s some tips to keep in mind when reimagining web development in your organization.
How silos create friction for engineers and marketers
The typical siloed web development process puts a lot of strain on both marketing and engineering teams, with harmful consequences for both the website and the teams’ well-being.
- Engineers spending time away from the core product. With traditional web development models, each time a request to update the website comes in, engineers have to spend their limited time on the website — rather than focusing on the core product. This is particularly consequential because it shifts focus away from key parts of an engineer's job — such as building and innovating new features or debugging and maintaining existing code.
- Slow implementation times. Waiting for engineers to implement changes slows marketers’ creative process down. Over time, these delays make it harder for the website to keep pace with shifts in the market and an evolving product.
- Ideas getting lost in translation. Describing a new website element in a ticket may not be the best way to communicate across teams. When engineers misinterpret a marketing request, both teams have to go through additional rounds of revisions.
- Difficulty learning from users. Ideally, marketing teams should be able to run quick experiments to test how users respond to the website’s content and adjust elements and experiences accordingly. But when marketers rely on engineers to implement all of the content, these experiments become more removed from the key drivers (marketers) and thus,run the risk of failing to target potential users effectively.
- Teams feeling frustrated. Long iteration times, miscommunication, having to work on another team’s timeline — it’s not surprising that web development can be a pain point for both marketers and engineers.
Collaborative tools make web development faster and better
Fortunately, it’s possible to build a great website without these silos. With visual development tools like Webflow, non-technical teams are able to build, develop, and maintain stunning websites, and marketers and engineers can share ownership over their website.
For example, the marketing team could own all updates to the website’s text and visual layout, while the engineers focus on security and optimizing page load times.
Several potential benefits include:
- Engineers have more time for the product. When they don’t have to interrupt their work to update the website as often, engineers can focus on the parts of the site that require more technical skills — such as complex site optimizations — leaving them with more time to work on the business’ core product itself.
- Marketers can work more efficiently. When marketers have more autonomy when it comes to the website, they can try out different ideas and iterate more quickly to arrive at the best solution or end product.
- The site keeps pace with the market. With quicker iteration times, marketers can also ensure that the website experience, content, and messaging can keep up with shifts in the market, ensuring the business remains innovative and ahead of the competition.
- Marketers can learn from users and iterate quickly. When it’s relatively quick to add in a new visual or build a new site page, marketers also have more time to test these changes with users and make an informed decision about the best final version.
- Less is lost in translation. When the marketing team members can play more of a designer-developer role, they can bring new ideas to life without compromising on their vision.
- Teams focus on the users, not internal workflows. When engineering and marketing teams collaborate harmoniously, both teams can focus on the product and users, rather than squandering precious time tracking the website’s progress as it’s handed off between teams.
Bring effective collaboration to your company
It’s clear collaboration makes web development better for engineers, marketers, and the website itself. That’s why now more than ever, it’s critical teams invest in tools and processes that break down silos and improve web development processes
To get started, consider what approach will work best for your teams. It might make sense for your engineers to own every aspect of your website, apart from the content. Or, maybe your marketers should own the content, visual layout, and sitemap while engineers focus on making the site fast, reliable, and secure. The key? Finding ways for both teams to own the portion of the website where they can have the largest impact. Finding this balance will increase your chances of building a website that is clear and on-brand, while also being performant and secure.
If you’re looking for more ideas for building cross-team collaboration, check out our ebook on reimagining web development teams.