How to Effectively Communicate With Your Development Team
In the complex and often confusing world of mobile app development, effective communication between yourself and your development team is of paramount importance. Proactively maintaining a healthy and productive dialogue with your dev team will ensure you get the most out of their talents; saving you time, budget and a good deal of stress in the long run. So in this article, we will delve into what you should be discussing with your dev team, how often you should be speaking, and the key times when getting your dev team’s input is crucial.
What to Discuss with Your Dev Team
Project Goals and Vision: Right from the off, your dev team should be a part of discussions around your app's purpose and target audience, as well as your own long-term goals. Their input at this stage will help focus your goals around what’s actually possible but also may reveal new ideas you hadn’t thought of. But more importantly, providing your dev team with a clear understanding of your objectives ensures that the end product, that they will be building after all, aligns with your vision.
Features and Functionality: Developers need a crystal clear set of features and functionality in order to work efficiently. Vague or poorly defined features will always lead to developers having to rewrite parts of their code. Of course, your PM will help bridge the gap between your vision and the dev’s keyboard, but making sure you are as clear as possible concerning the user experience, interface design, and specific functionalities of your app will ensure it’s built just the way you want it.
Budget and Timeline: Budget constraints and desired timelines must be understood by all stakeholders and project team members. Being transparent about financial considerations will allow your dev team to make informed decisions around project scope.
Technical Details: If discussing the technical aspects of your app makes you glaze over, don’t worry as your development team and PM will be able to guide you through the important parts. However, if you do know your way around an API or two, and have your own requirements or preferences around the tech stack, then make sure to communicate that to your devs.
Assets and Copy: Just as you wouldn’t expect a builder to decorate your living room, you shouldn’t expect a developer to fill your website or app with images, videos or copy. If you’re transferring content from another site or app, you should discuss with your dev team how best to go about this. However, if the only way to move the old content is manual entry, or if you’re adding new content, don’t expect the developers to do this for you. Manual content uploading is a time-consuming task and rarely is it part of a developer’s job description.
How Often to Stay in Touch
Maintaining a balance in communication frequency is key. While it's important to stay connected, it's equally important not to overwhelm your dev team and give them time to actually do the work. Here's a general guideline:
Regular Updates: Weekly meetings are the most common schedule for keeping tabs on progress, addressing any issues, and providing feedback. For larger projects, daily meetings can also take place, but it’s important to keep these brief (no longer than 15 mins) to avoid slowing your team down. And keep in mind, unless you’re paying for full-time developers, your team will likely have other regular meetings for other projects they need to attend.
Status Reports: Periodic status reports and/or progress updates can also be beneficial, allowing you to track the dev team's progress at a glance.
Emergencies or Critical Changes: If there are urgent changes or bugs that affect either the project's course or live users, immediate communication is essential. Make sure you provide as much info as possible in your first communication to avoid costly back and forths. For instance, if you’re reporting a bug, make sure you include; what should be happening, what is happening, what the ramifications are, who is it happening to, and when the bug first appeared.
Key Times for Communication
There are various key points during the development process where it’s important to make sure you and your dev team are on the same page:
Project Kick-off: As we mentioned earlier, you should be speaking to your dev team right from the beginning in order to make sure they understand your project objectives and vision. Plus building a good relationship straight away is always a good idea.
Discovery Phase: The discovery phase is all about refining what you want your app to be and then confirming what it can be. A dev’s eye at this stage is vital in determining the latter.
Design Phase: As the ones who will actually be building the revolutionary designs your designers will have created, it’s important the devs give their two cents on how it looks. There might be UI elements that simply cannot be done within budget, but by bringing in your devs at this stage, they may be able to offer an ingenious alternative.
Development Milestones: Stay engaged during the development process to track progress and help address any issues that pop up promptly.
Testing and Quality Assurance: Be actively involved in the testing phase to identify and resolve any bugs or usability issues. The more thorough your tests and the more detailed your feedback, the sooner you will have a fully working app
Post-Launch Support: Before going live it’s important to discuss any ongoing maintenance, updates, or potential future development you might need to keep your app competitive and up-to-date. (Just a hint, you will definitely need to update your app to keep it competitive)
Final Review and Launch: The final stages are critical for ensuring a smooth launch. Make sure you’ve given yourself and your dev team enough time to fully review the app. So often a project can trip at this last hurdle because the launch was rushed.
So to sum up, effective communication between you and your dev teams is vital for the success of your app. Discussing project goals, features, budgets, and timelines, maintaining a balanced communication frequency, and focusing on key times for interaction all contribute to a smoother and more successful app development journey. With clear, open lines of communication, you can turn your app vision into a reality.