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Profitable communication in software development (part 1/2)

by | October 12th, 2016

“Good communication”, errr, it sounds like a buzz nowadays.

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But today I want to explain our vision and give an answer to this question from slightly different angle. Information here is what we practice ourselves at Gera-IT and recommend our partners to achieve better results in development of web products. 

Let me start from stating couple of key ideas around question “Why communication is important?”:

  1. Communication is important because it can save your money
  2. Communication is even more important  because you can earn more!

Pretty speculative, right?

Somebody may even even punch me: why am i talking about money only? I should probably highlight other “human oriented” aspects as team members satisfaction, human uniqueness and their comfort. No. While these are different sides of the same coin I’d like to point to simple truth:

– If business is not effective financially – it dies.

So let’s discuss how exactly good communication can help business be more profitable?

Before we start, I want to specify that I am primarily talking about software development teams which includes Product Owner, Developers and other roles/parts of Agile development process. But same ideas can be used in many other areas.

1 How good communication can save money?

There are at least two great aspects to answer this question: “Fail cheap” principle and impact of communication on general proficiency of the team.

1.1 “Fail cheap” principle.

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Idea is very simple: good communication between Product Owner and Team allows to implement fast delivery of small chunks of features doing small steps. It gives Product Owner ability to review the results and understand that feature and Project  itself are still moving to the right direction.

This approach is very demanding to availability of  decision makers. At the same time it can save a huge amount of money that is not invested in development of wrong and unnecessary ideas.

How to implement “Fail cheap” principle?

  • Arrange some of your time to collaborate with team
  • Do this collaboration regularly
  • Stay deep in details within this process
  • Stay focused

Items above are critical for decision makers(like PO), as for others this is only a part of “culture” – set of rules how life on the project is organised.

Anti-positive example:

On one of our recent projects everything looked really great: team worked normally doing delivery step by step and feedbacks from customer were positive. Then release moment came. And it appeared that customer disagrees about lots of aspects in the app.

The reason was simple: Product Owner didn’t spent enough time and his attention on testing the important business logic and, moreover, some cases were not covered at all. We’ve spent much more time(and budget) making changes even in core app models for the things that could be done easier and faster if communication was good on regular basis.

Here term “good” means: regular, with enough attention and digging deep in the logic.

1.2 Communication as a way to rise average team proficiency

It goes without saying that the more professional each team member is – the more performance, scalability, advanced tech solutions you get.

The best way to train proficiency is creating learning culture.

Key aspect here is that “learning” is not a one and only part of this culture. The 2nd part which is not less important is sharing the knowledge in various ways:
– mentorship
– “coffee” talks
– masterclasses, etc

It is ability of specific member to express new knowledge across the team. You may know that many people underestimate the value of their experience: “This is too simple.. Who else might be interested in..?”, etc.

From this point of view this is all about communication again. It is “good” when it happens and people save a bunch of time in comparison to learning on their mistakes.

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How to implement “learning” culture?

  • Give you team members ability to learn regularly and share the knowledge for the rest of the team.
  • Attract some people  who love to  grow and share knowledge to the team
  • Provide positive feedback to those who educate to motivate them

In the next part of the article we will talk about how good communication can help you to earn more money.

 

Stay Gera-Efficient

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