Making sure that communication between stakeholders and the outsourcing company is a high priority for Sprinterra. We ensure that there is always a clear picture of what is going on for both sides, why some requirements are addressed before others, what the next development phases are, what the future output is, etc.
There are some effective tools that are used on a daily basis to make any project run smoothly.
Let’s explore the main ones.
Doing a presentation of any completed functionality is an essential part of any development process. It helps to get feedback from future users as well as encourages the team to get a better understanding of how the future application will be used.
There are a few simple hacks which help to involve all the parties in the process:
- Each team member does a demo in turn. This keeps the team motivated.
- Asking all participants questions during the demo. This way everyone is sure they are involved.
- Making the stakeholders do the demo themselves. They can be guided, but have the opportunity to try the new functionality for themselves. Such an approach additionally helps to maintain a high level of user experience.
- Requesting the business user demo allows the business side to show the development team how the software will be used in real life.
User Stories Confirmation
In any Agile project the requirements are transferred into user stories. Each user story should contain the business value as well as the technical acceptance criteria for the development team.
Making sure that stakeholders review and confirm those stories helps ensure that no business requirements are forgotten. At this point it is important to keep in mind that it might be difficult for a business user to go into technical details, but asking for their input and follow-up is a good start.
Communication and Responsibility Matrix
It is very important for the project that everybody understands who is responsible for what. For example, there is no need to escalate small things to the investors of the project. Often dealing with an analyst will be enough to solve most issues. The creation of a responsibility matrix with escalation levels will help everyone understand which issues should be addressed to which particular person.
Another important tool is a Communication Matrix. The aim of such matrix is to reflect communication types (e.g. meetings, emails, reports), frequency and participants on both sides of the project.
It is always a good idea to send a follow-up after any discussions to check that everyone is on the same page about any agreements that were made. A simple email with bullet points, outlining the most important items of the meeting would be a good option.
Recipients should be encouraged to confirm, extend or comment on those emails.
Stand Up Meetings With Client
Stand Up Meetings are not just for internal teams. Sometimes it is good to have daily calls with the client to sync. This will let the client know what you are working on and what obstacles you may have on the business side. Also getting an answer is always easier during a daily call than via emails.
Open Issue Report
Sending out a weekly table to all related parties with any open issues is another useful item. Include information about who is responsible for the next step for every issue. This will help to keep track of all the progress made, as well as to show transparency on the responsibilities, and any action taken.
It is essential to take the time to update the roadmap once in a while together with stakeholders to make sure everyone is aware of future milestones.
Keeping a backlog with up-to-date priorities will help when planning future steps. The most efficient option is to clean and prioritize the backlog together with the client during a meeting. This will not only help to understand the future vision of the project from the stakeholders’ perspective but can also help remove those items that are not required anymore.
Visual vs Audial Perception
“Know Your Client” aka Stakeholder. This is the most important thing any consulting company will say. Learning how the client wants to receive information better: visually or audially, can make a big difference. It is good to try both options and see what works better in your particular case:
- Visual: mock ups, wireframes, prototypes, schemas, diagrams are examples of how information can be displayed in a friendly way
- Audial: for those who like to perceive information audially, recurring meetings will make all the difference and give the ability to talk through all the things planned. It is better to keep a recording for such a meeting that can be shared with everybody, so that it’s possible to go back to it any time.
Asking All Those Questions
It’s extremely important to ask additional questions. They help to get a clearer picture and avoid mistakes in the development process. It will cost much more if those mistakes turn into bugs and defects.
Choosing Sprinterra as your partner in software development, you can be sure that all measures are taken to make projects as transparent as possible.