A new project: where to start
Every project starts with an idea. What is an idea? In simple words, it is your vision of how a certain process should be organized or problem solved. The first thing that should be done is preparation. It involves numerous discussions and descriptions because you are the only person who knows what result should be achieved. It is very important to devote the required time and effort to this task because it can significantly save time and money in the future.
What is communication? How to organize it effectively?
Communication in the context of business relationships means all types of discussions between a customer and a software team. There are different means that can be used to organize the communication process while developing a software product. The most widely used means of communication include
- text messages
- analytic reports
- progress reports, etc.
We will have a closer look at each of them in the next section of this article and right now it is significant to understand that both a client and a software partner should pay special attention to discussing and choosing the most effective means of communication during the preparation period.
What is effective info sharing?
It does not matter whether it is communication, development, or any other process, “effective” means well-developed, organized, and structured. When you contact a software team and you agree on the details and start working together it is most likely that they will offer you some certain pattern of communication and you as a client should check whether it meets your expectations and needs. We would suggest the following pattern to be considered.
Calls are perfect for introducing new ideas, setting goals, discussing solutions/problems, and making conclusions. It is very important to make them regular and agree on a schedule for 2-4 weeks in advance. What is more, an experienced project manager would tell you that is also desirable to have a plan for the call that will allow you to focus on ideas, follow the timing and discuss all critical issues.
Video conferences are one of the most popular options for organizing meetings. The list of tools is enormous and you may start using any you like, we would recommend paying attention to the following three Microsoft teams, google meet, and zoom.
Emails are perfect for confirming, summing up, and notifying. There are things and materials that we need to have written or we want several team members to be aware of certain information then email threads become a perfect choice.
Text messages are short informal messages that can be used to share information very quickly and stay in touch. Usually, they are used by team members who work together on the same tasks and they might have some small quick questions to discuss without involving anyone else.
Documentation is a very specific and wide term. It will very much depend on a project, its complexity, features, etc. But there are several rules that should be followed.
All documentation should be systemized and kept in storage. The most popular cloud storages in our opinion are GoogleDrive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.
All documents should be unified – similar structure, presentation, language style, etc.
All documents should be neat, precise, technical, and informative.
Analytic reports are another important thing that should be implemented in the work of the team. You as a client might consider having several types of reports
- analysis of the market (existing products, features, technical solutions);
- analysis of the effectiveness of work (analysis of tasks completed, time used, etc.)
- analysis of the effectiveness of tech solutions chosen and more.
Satutuses are very useful for customers, those are small things that will help you understand what your team is working on, what questions they might have, and what additional features you would like to add. Depending on the level of your involvement you might agree on receiving them every 2 days, every week, or every 2 weeks.
Progress reports describe what has been done, what the team is working on, and what will be done shortly. It is an important tool for planning because you understand the dates when certain features of a product will be implemented and you can use that information for promoting, marketing, creating educational materials for your customers, etc. The best option is to have those reports once a month for them to be complete and really useful.
What are the tools that can be used by teams?
The choice of project management tools is really huge. Every team makes a choice depending on their budget, preferences, location, etc. Project management tools are really great, they help to create tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates, check progress, change statuses, store documentation, and more.
You as a client need to decide whether you want to add some tasks on your own or you would prefer a project manager do that for you. In the second case, it is enough for you to receive reports and have the possibility to check what you are interested in, progress, statuses, etc.
The most popular project management tools today are considered to be
How to optimize workflow?
We have discussed various tools for info sharing, there is one more thing that should be mentioned – automation platforms. Automation platforms are tools that help to create a shared workspace for your team and connect applications that you are using. Also, you can create “triggers” that will turn on repetitive flows, for instance, send posts to social media when a new article is published, send emails to your blog subscribers, etc. You can check out the following options: Zapier, made.com, ClickUP, Sure Triggers, Hive, Keap, etc.
Development of a software product is the art of combining communication, and discussions with technical solutions. You need to agree with your team on how to create tasks, share statuses, discuss issues, share ideas, receive reports, etc. It should be a simple and clear option that will allow you to save time and be involved in the process as much as you want. Modern project management tools are really helpful and will keep you updated on every aspect of the project.