Talk More, Build Less
A common pitfall for development companies is not having enough communication with their clients. A development team may go days or weeks without telling the client anything about the progress made on their application. We have heard clients complain about their experiences with poorly communicating companies. “I never knew what they were doing. They didn’t talk to me until they were done with something.” Many development companies regard this complaint with low priority. Instead, they focus on creating as much code as possible in a business day. To the developers, it seems like the more time spent talking with the client will result in less time working on the code. This disconnect between the development team and the client is one that drives miscommunication, skepticism, and ultimately, frustration.
How Does Metova Communicate?
Here at Metova, we have drastically changed our approach to how we handle client communication. Previously, developers would talk to clients on a weekly basis. Between meetings assumptions were made. Now we have taken on the task of communicating daily with our clients and working to form meaningful relationships with them. The results have been astounding. Without changing our development process, we saw our sour relationships improve and good relationships get stronger. How is it that such a simple and seemingly small change can make such a big difference with our customers? What is involved in these magical dialogues?
What Did We Accomplish Today?
In our daily conversations, the development team updates the client on what they accomplished in the day. This provides transparency into the development process and holds the team accountable to producing valuable work every day. If there is functionality added to the application within the course of the day, we also instruct our clients to test out the new features. This is mutually beneficial. It allows our customers to see exactly what progress was made to the app while, at the same time, making the development team quickly aware of any new bugs they may find.
What Are Our Priorities For Tomorrow?
The client sets the team’s priorities. It is incredibly important they know what is in store for tomorrow and how it fits into the larger picture of the project. When developers provide this information daily, the client can accurately tell if the team is working on tasks that are directly associated with the highest priorities of the project.
Changing Course And Re-Prioritizing
Occasionally, a client will tell us that the development team needs to re-prioritize tasks or change course entirely. This most often occurs when new product markets are discovered, a development problem is requiring more time than initially expected, or a project’s timeline is changed. When this happens, good communication allows the team to quickly pivot and focus on new priorities. Daily discussion ensures little time is wasted on less important tasks.
Feels Good, Man
Aside from the direct benefits, daily discussion with our clients makes for a deeper relationship with them and their product. The customer feels (and is!) involved in the development process. Likewise, the developer feels more connected with the client and project. Making suggestions, raising concerns, or working through a difficult situation becomes much easier when everyone is on the same page working toward the same goal.
If you find yourself continuously making assumptions or on-the-spot decisions, take a look at how you are communicating. Talking with your client daily doesn’t mean you need to have hour long discussions. Just reach out and touch on what’s important. Involve your clients and make them part of the team! You won’t regret it.