At Inverted Software we found that communication is the key to a successful project delivery and a happy customer.
If you are outsourcing your software development and struggling to get back a quality product, improving vendor communication might help you get back on track.
Below are our top five tips for improving communication and maximizing your software project success rate:
Define the requirements
Clear requirements are vital to an accurate scope of work estimate.
Any software project starts with requirement gathering.
This can be done before you select your software outsourcing company or as a part of phase zero, when the team is still ramping up and your vendor’s solution director is planning the development sprint cycle.
At Inverted Software we have dedicated product managers on demand to help you conduct stakeholder interviews, gather and define your requirements and lock the scope of work.
Have a single point of contact in both ends
Software development cycles run best if there are dedicated and committed points of contact that are directly responsible for the success of the project.
Your CTO, VP or director of software engineering might be far too busy to personally check in with a vendor on a daily basis, and if this is the case, a project manager is usually the best point of contact as they are most likely experienced in managing projects and vendors.
Inverted Software provides dedicated fractional solution directors as a part of every development team.
The solution director serves as the single point of contact and is responsible for all aspects of the product delivery.
Set clear milestones
Development is done in phases, phases are divided into sprints. Setting clear milestone goals for each batch of sprints, helps keeping track of the overall delivery pace of the project and estimate a more accurate completion date.
If a milestone is missed, this should immediately raise warning flags, indicating action should be taken to get back on track.
Follow up on sprints
Each development sprint is essentially a collection of tasks containing requirements and development time estimates that are assigned to a developer or a QA engineer.
After a task is closed, it is important to verify it was completed correctly and have passed its quality assurance tests.
The time to follow up on tasks completion is during the sprint closing meeting.
In that meeting, both the architect and the solution director should be able to verify the developers have completed their work and QA have signed off on the resulted product.
Overlap before completion
When a vendor delivers a software project, it is time for your team to take over.
Sometime the SOW includes maintenance and support, which helps stabilize the system.
If your in house team is scheduled to take over the product, an overlap handoff period is a great idea to conduct knowledge transfer and bring your team up to speed.
If handoff is done with the original engineers, it can take place after the project is completed, but, many times your software outsourcing partner’s team have moved on to another project.
Try and get an overlap before the project has ended. This means the code is still fresh in the engineer’s mind and knowledge transfer is more effective.
Communication is a process and following the process with yield better results in keeping your software project on track.
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