Customer Pitfalls. Part 2: Communication


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It’s highly important to manage scope and budget for the development efficiently. And proper communication during a work plays a great role and to a great extent defines its success. Today we will talk about common communication pitfalls and ways to avoid them.

1. Don’t be a weathercock

No doubt, being a product owner is a hard job, where you need to take plenty of important decisions. And quite often it’s quite difficult to bear the burden of responsibility all by yourself. It’s OK to ask your colleagues or somebody not involved into the process to get a second opinion. But it doesn’t mean that of somebody disagrees with your solution, you should immediately change it.

Don’t go where the wind blows, since any change request is bad for your project: it affects deadlines, costs and quality if the technical solution. This doesn’t mean though that you can’t change anything in the system, but you should definitely make grounded decisions and not depend on others.

2. Show more

One picture is worth a thousand words. When discussing MVP, vision or scope of the project don’t limit yourself to text only. Feel free to use all ways to make the point. There’s nothing better than sketching and doodling interfaces or diagrams.

Even though they might look messy, it is the process that matters. Besides, you will have some information recorded after the meeting. And looking at your sketch will only take you a couple seconds to remind what you were planning to do.

3. Avoid helicopter management

Similarly to helicopter parenting, helicopter management is no good. If you control every micro-step of the development process, the system wouldn’t be developed better or quicker. Vice versa, your Team will spend too much time on needless reports and will feel that they are not trusted.

The best solution here is to establish some milestones at which the status if the project is checked. If you are using SCRUM methodology with a 2-week course, this can be a demo that is held once a sprint together with roadmap grooming sessions held once a month.

4. Delegate decision-making

Delegating permissions is one of the beast ways to motivate the Team and achieve working balance. Delegation in fact improves the following three levels:

  • Responsibility
  • Authority
  • Accountability

So basically, it is a win-win situation, where you get more free time and your Team becomes more involved in the process. Trust you Business Analyst or Project Manger to make some decisions themselves and you will be pleasantly surprised by the final results.

5. Give background

And, finally, always give a background to your idea or a change request. People who have different roles in the Team look at the issue from a different angle. If you found a problem, instead of jumping to the solution right away, it is better to discuss the problem itself and then choose from the solutions offered.

This way the Team will have a bigger picture and will make sure the problem is solved and you might be offered a better or a cheaper solution, which would be beneficial for the project.

As you see, communication is full of traps, but we hope that with our tips you will be able to make it all right.

Vera Rabkina

Business Analyst at Rubyroid Labs


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