Finding the right partner (business or otherwise) involves establishing a relationship based on trust. Effective, regular, and honest communication is the key element in building trust in any relationship. This is particularly the case in long-distance relationships between outsourcing software development companies and their clients.
We’ve conducted a short survey among potential clients asking what would make them hesitate when choosing a software development partner. One of the biggest reasons quoted was bad communication. This was either out of a general perception that outsourcing companies lack clear communication skills, or it came from previous (mediocre) experience.
Honest Communication Makes Perfect
Here are three tips to ensure that the communication with the company you choose to develop your next software is productive:
- Set clear expectations for outcomes. This may sound obvious, but setting clear expectations is critical for the success of your project. Meet with your team and write down the problem that needs to be solved. This must be comprehensive and as clear as possible. Note any possible solutions you see, but ask for feedback from the software development guys. They should advise regarding alternative solutions to help cut costs and plan ahead. Software development is no different from construction – if you plan on adding additional floors, you should have a solid foundation. Also, the floors themselves should allow for more floors to be added later (or the design and function of each to be modified). Make sure you know what the purpose of the solution is in the long-term. This will allow for advance planning and minimize surprises down the road.
- Expect and ask for regular updates and progress reports. Once the project has begun, make sure you keep in touch with the developers. Progress reports, regular meetings and updates are a must when the process has started. This ensures that the project runs smoothly and problems are identified early. Clarifying questions, issues that were not initially planned will always come up. Regular feedback helps keep the project on-track.
- Expect honesty. As the deadline approaches, having all the information will help you plan accordingly and act fast. If something goes wrong, you should know about it as soon as possible. Overly-optimistic deadlines, capacities, or price estimates can surely turn your project into a disaster. Setting incremental deadlines, milestones, and Skype calls will ensure that the project is moving forward. However, honest feedback cannot be underestimated.
Until that trust is built between you and the developers, you can only plan ahead, ask for regular progress reports and make sure that the incremental deadlines are being met. Honest software development companies will make sure that you have all the information. If you feel something is off, it may be time to make some changes.