I just read a great article in Entrepreneur by Kuty Shalev, founder of Clevertech, on tips for how business people can best communicate with developers. Bad communication between these groups has been a major issue for as long as I can remember and Shalev’s four methods are a great way to start turning that around.
Shalev advises that before beginning a project, you have to be very clear on what you expect the final product to look like. Custom features which may not seem like a big deal, can require major efforts and resources, especially if they are added later in the development process. When changes do come up, make sure to discuss it with the development team as early as possible.
Listen when the development team talks about feasibility and timelines. Although it is difficult to provide exact costs for software projects, good developers can give you a pretty close estimate and they will let you know when things get delayed or off track. It’s also key to focus on what can be done to remediate the effects of the delay, and avoid assigning blame unless it becomes a pattern.
Remember: You get what you pay for. The outsourced team charging $10 per hour may sound attractive, but if the project fails to meet expectations, it is likely to cost more in the long run. Don’t expect cheaper junior developers to architect solutions without outside help. At the same time, more expensive developers should provide clear and concise communication, regular updates and robust architecture.
- Understand the Methodology
Most modern teams use some form of agile management instead. Agile development turns out features faster but often requires several iterations to work out the bugs. If the development team is Agile, you should focus on dynamic feedback as the project progresses. When critiquing agile projects, remember to avoid introducing scope creep by instead focusing on the original features. Those can be added to a future iteration.