Why are these roles not always obvious? Tech companies operate a little differently to traditional firms because they are built around products, not departments.
People work within a matrix that supports the product and each area will have its own marketing, HR and research functions, providing specialist support to the designers and coders who are developing the product. These roles play critical parts in the success of the product during its journey to market.
Building a team
Before the first line of code is even written, someone needs to establish whether it has a place in the market. This is where business development comes in to run the numbers, working out how big the market is, the potential for growth, and the likelihood of making a profit.
Once they give the green light, the rest of the team – coders and non-coders alike – need to be hired. Finding the right candidates will usually be the responsibility of HR; however, for larger companies that have spotted a gap in the market and want to act fast, corporate development will be brought in to acquire entire startups to jump-start the development process.
Creating a vision
Once the key staff are in place, other roles come to the fore. Research is vital, both market research to analyse general trends within the sector and user experience to ensure that the product will work the way potential customers expect it to work.
Product managers will take this research and will work alongside designers and engineers to create a vision of a new product.
Once they know what they are building, the project managers take over, creating a detailed plan, laying out timescales, and breaking the goal down into tasks that can be easily measured and tracked. Once a prototype is signed off, operations team members work out how it can be scaled up and mass produced in a factory.
Spreading the word
Once plans for the product are firmly in place, there are a whole range of supporting roles needed to help it succeed in the marketplace. Marketing will take the lead, building awareness by creating a campaign and crafting shareable content, often by making use of social media influencers.
Business development will support this by building key partnerships, talking to relevant stores and distributers. Once the launch date arrives, sales will take the lead on pushing the product out, cutting deals and promoting the product one to one. With aftercare more important than ever in an age of social media, customer services staff provide vital after-sales support.
Finally, behind every good campaign will be the finance team working out whether it has all been worth it.While smaller companies may combine some of these roles, there is a huge need for those with non-tech skills to support tech companies.
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