You are starting a new project with a team that you have outsourced from offshores. All the teams have been chosen- from the developers to the designers and the quality assurance. Moreover, you have already locked all the requirements from the client and the development has already started. Suddenly you receive the dreadful message from the client asking you to do a certain task “their way” but you know it would change everything you have already been working on. The consequence is disastrous, the team gets discouraged and you would have to start everything all over again.
Now, to improve the communication, it is important to discuss that sometimes the communication mediums and the person responsible for the communication can be the reason for all the disorganization caused during the project. The constant nagging and going back and forth with the requirements causes only one thing – failure. What can you do to improve the communication so that the project runs smoothly? Well, that is why we are here to discuss the tips and tricks to minimize the challenges that arise due to lack of communication.
1. Role of Communication in Software Outsourcing
You might think that after the requirement elicitation, the communication is not as frequent as programming is thought of as a problem solving activity that is solely done by a single person or a coherent team responsible for just “developing” code in an agile environment.
For an agile environment to work, it is important that it could endure the changes- a characteristic otherwise known as flexibility. Moreover, it involves highly organized teams that can communicate informally or formally to quickly respond to the change. This means that good communication is the key to successful software development.
However, when you are sitting in a separate country than your team, it becomes very difficult to convey your business plans. In those situations, you need to develop communications channels that can help you communicate effectively back and forth. A fruitful two-way communication can help you to achieve the business objectives, software objectives, timeline and budget objectives aiding to create a successful customer story.
2. Enhancing Effectiveness in Communication
a. Paint the Bigger Picture
For creating value in your product, it is extremely important to paint a picture of your product in a real world scenario that peaks interest. This allows the product developers to understand why they are creating a product, allowing them to be part of your business as much as you are. This could also generate interesting technical ideas that would help you to achieve your end goal more effectively.
b. Have Robust Conversation
To clarify the requirements even further, it is important to initiate robust conversations with your developers to exchange your ideas. Open-end questions can aid you to force dialogue without restricting the team to robotic responses. For example, instead of asking “You have to complete a certain task”, share why certain tasks have to be performed.
c. Utilize Issue-Tracking Tools
There are many issue-tracking tools that have been developed to track the progress of the tasks assigned to the team. The excellent characteristic of such tools is their inherent ability of opening discussions about the smallest of the tasks. An issue tracker is not just a record for tracking bugs and features, but also acts as the communication medium for the software team.
d. Visualize Workflow
To visualize the workflow of the entire project, a scrum or Kanban board is used. The whole project is divided into multiple sprints or chunkable mini-flows. This way, the team can view the tasks that are to be completed or are in progress. Moreover, it also allows the team to track each other’s contributions within the project.
e. Resolve the Conflicts
Like anywhere else, conflict resolution is the basis of effective communication. Conflicts provide the great opportunity for the team to discuss, mature and come up with an effective solution. However, it is not simple to resolve the conflict, so let’s break down the techniques one can employ to resolve conflict.
- Initiate the conversation about issues at hand
- Define the problem
- Identify the problem area
- Discuss the solutions
- Distribute the tasks
f. Daily Standups and Scrum Meetings
A stand-up is a daily meeting between product owners, stakeholders, developers, testers and scrum masters. This meeting has different purposes and the methods of conducting them are unique to each scrum master. If you want a smooth running project, holding these meeting can benefit quite a ton. The main discussion elements within each meeting includes:
- Report on the task that was assigned yesterday
- Assigning new tasks to all the members
- Status of overall project
- Discussion of the problem areas
These questions allow the team members to stay on the same page and track progress. Moreover, it strengthens the team morale.
3. Defining Quality Standards
For a clear communication, you might have to develop standards and metrics to monitor. A proper channel will allow the team to encounter road blocks with much more preparation. Most of the software fail due to lack of knowledge of quality standards and the adherence to them. Let us go through the guidelines that can help you to achieve this.
a. Coding Standards
There are numerous coding standards that are followed throughout the development world. Find one that best fits your requirements.
b. Define Decision Architecture
Architectural design is one of the most important yet overlooked components of any software project. It is crucial to define and verify the architectural design before the development starts.
c. Communication Standards
What tools will be used for hosting, issue tracking and communication over the internet should be defined and briefed to the team once the project initiates.
Effective communication plays a key role in collaboration between stakeholders and the team. If you are looking for an outsourcing partner with all these characteristics, contact us here.