Skip to content

What to do when the developer doesn’t want to explain what he’s doing

Today I’m going to answer a question from Peter, the founder of a personal development app. His question is…

Should I keep working with a developer who doesn't want to explain what he's doing?

Before answering this question, let’s add a bit of context.

Peter has already started the development of the first version of his app, but he is wondering if his developer is really suitable for the project. His developer doesn't like sharing a lot of the details of his work.

First off, when its comes to developing an application or a website, there is one basic rule that you need to be aware of as a CEO, and it's: everything developed for the company should belong to the company.

Everything developed for the company should belong to the company

This means that when you hire a developer, he should share his work with you on almost a daily basis if possible. And the best way to do this is by asking him to store his ongoing source code in your own source code repository.

This is basically like a Google Drive or a Dropbox folder but for source code. This video on creating your own source code repository for your developer will show you how you can do just that.

Now let's talk about the mindset.

The developer's mindset speaks for itself

One of the best ways to evaluate a developer is in their ability to question themselves. A good developer is usually very open to sharing his work and to getting feedback on it, whether from other developers, the CTO, or the business and marketing team, to improve the app.

Why they might want to keep the control

  • Afraid of being judged
  • Afraid of losing the client

So coming back to Peter's question, if the developer you’re working with is not willing to teach you or at least explain to you what he’s working on, that might be for two reasons. First, he’s not quite sure that he developed the app right and is afraid of being judged, and/or he’s afraid of losing you as a client or employer, and doesn't want anyone else to take his place.

And in startups, there is no room for that. If someone is a good fit, that also means that he is confident enough to listen to objective feedback and is willing to improve himself. Transparency is definitely key.

This is even more important when you’re considering growing your technical team and having several developers work together and help each other improve and optimize the development process.


So in conclusion, keep control of your development, no matter what.

Ask your team to open up to you, the owner. If you feel that they are deliberately not letting you take control of the technical aspect of your project, then bring in someone to coach or manage them so they can see the benefits of working with others.

And if that doesn’t work, that’s the time when you should consider getting someone else to continue the development of your app.

And that's absolutely fine—projects are usually not built by only one developer. But you, as a founder, are more likely to stick around to lead the project.

Now if like Peter, you have a specific question for your project, just go ahead and ask on

I will do my best to answer your question by video or redirect you to any existing content that will answer it.

I publish a new video every week, so subscribe now and learn how to be better at tech management and build your startup successfully.

Also be sure to go through our other content at to learn more from real startup growth experiences.

I’ll be waiting for your questions, and I look forward to seeing you in other videos. Cheers.