Managing software development as a non-technical person

My business is dependent on a technology platform. It connects retailers with consumers and I had signed on three retailers. I had to make sure that the digital platform was fully functional and could be used by the shop staff and consumers. I am not a software developer, so I hired a company to do the development.

Every time I checked I was told development was on schedule for on-time delivery. I didn’t now what to check for and took their word for it. Every time I asked for a demo something went wrong and they would tell me, “Don’t worry. We are ironing out the bugs. This is a normal part of the process.”

It was hard for me to determine if the bugs were hardware or software issues. When I tried to use it, it was difficult to use and not intuitive. My sense was this was designed for “power users,” people far more tech savvy than my target user.

On the day of the launch, things were not much better. I had to have my company’s staff at each retail outlet to help with the platform because it was too complicated for the consumers and there wasn’t enough time to train the retail partners’ staff.