Why transparency in software development partnership gives your product an edge
Transparency is a term used in many areas of life and generally means qualities related to trust, openness, and communication. The transparency function is to explain and understand why processes run a certain way.
Transparency should be a broadly understood concept. Within technology projects, it can mean different things to different team members. Therefore, it is a good idea to cover the topic so everyone understands why it’s crucial to increase transparency and how closely it is related to the success of the product.
Why transparency in software development is important
For the client looking for a software development company to enter the collaboration with, transparency is a solid added value that impacts a decision about which partner to choose. No wonder. When cooperating remotely, the entire process and resources are embedded in the company delivering the product. Potentially, in such a situation, the fear of fraud may arouse, and therefore, staying transparent and reliable are the basis of a well-implemented project.
At Software Things we believe that transparency is not a nice-to-have but a must-have we form our work on. Moreover, we perceive transparency as one of the key aspects determining whether the final product would be a success or not. Why? The product built as a result of the software development process is usually one-of-a-kind and requires a very flexible and cooperative approach from everyone who takes part in the process – clients, project managers, and developers. It is quite different than in typical service delivery, where the client gets only the output and all processes happen behind the scenes. So we can conclude that transparency is simply openness, thanks to which each project participant knows at what stage the process is and what is happening at the moment.
Transparency is everyone’s matter
At Software Things we understand transparency as including customers in the whole process of software development. We begin with acknowledging clients’ vision and needs they came with in the first place.
Thus, transparent cooperation requires creating open communication between both sites, as a result, the project manager and the client are informed about the status of the development process. The same level of awareness allows for the best decision-making, and that’s crucial for delivering a successful product.
How to build a transparent partnership?
What are the most common actions that we undertake at Software Things to build solid and transparent cooperation between the development team and client?
The schedule importance
Understanding the timeline, and acknowledging the deadlines is the best opening of the software development process. During the schedule creation, the client-side needs to communicate which parts of the project are essential for them to be done on certain dates. On the other hand, the software company representation has to calculate the ability to keep the stakeholders’ deadlines. Team members have to know their resources and must estimate the work hours needed for tasks delivery. The schedule to be successful must be suitable and realistic for both sides. Therefore, the plan must be clear-cut, and it is worth defining good practices to follow when creating it.
- setting clear expectations during the meetings
- agreeing on the timeline for specific tasks
- taking into account the resources of the individual and whole team
- tracking results and milestones
The workshops ideas
It’s never a good idea to work blindly, so the workshops with clients are a place to establish theirs and the future user expectations. Workshops must be based on collaboration and open communication, and their result should be jointly set project goals. Another beneficial thing about the workshops is the chance to spend some time together, so both sides can get to know a bit about each other.
Benefits of the workshops
- chance to dig deeper into product vision, then to requirements and convert doubts into ideas
- analysis of the ideas which turn into solution propositions
- defining technological possibilities and if needed the communication of the associated costs
- a better understanding of the team culture and mutual needs regarding the communication
The agile way of working supports the transparent partnership, and transparency reduces project risk. Why? Agile methodology is a manner of producing software based on continuous iterations. Every iteration (so-called ‘sprint’) lasts a certain amount of time, has appointed goals, and should be ended with completed, functioning parts of the product.
Working in Agile allows development processes to be clear and transparent. The methodology is one of the tools that releases access to the already developed product and makes it easier for the client to reevaluate business needs, as soon as possible. Thanks to working in iterations, the client has a chance to check the progress regularly and be aware of any problems.
Because agile transparency is based on agile values, not processes or tools are the most important but people and interactions. If people can communicate their needs, then the agile way of working allows for really satisfying cooperation between the client and the software house.
We appreciate the client feedback regarding the agile approach because it proves that transparent partnership builds strong products.
“Certainly, the smoothness of contact allowed for quick reactions during project implementation and even allowed for the flexible introduction of minor changes. “Owner, Morphing Design
Access to periodical reports
The client we work with is always on the same page as the project team, participates in planning, and can check the results of individual tasks. One of the ways to familiarize the client with the status of work is to present data through periodic reports. We think that well-defined reports can outline the stage of a project, describe specific issues and thus avoid misunderstandings. Accessible reports also allow for indicating weaker points that can be talked through and addressed. At Software Things we treat the periodical reports as a must-have in the development process.
How frequently the reports will be created, should be established at the beginning of the project collaboration. What essential elements should the project manager include in a periodical report?
- status of progress (a good measure of that could be a percentage of the task that are completed),
- clear information about the challenges and risks, which can occur in the development process,
- list of elements that should be prepared on a client site and potential schedule changes.
Staying in touch
Delivering a great digital product is a complex process. During the project, many ideas are brought to life – changes in needs, overcoming obstacles, and many more. All of this must be agreed upon and talked through, thus, staying in contact is one of the key aspects of a project’s success.
Clear communication requires frequent contact, and nothing is more aggravating than the lack of information when it’s needed. Nowadays there are many ways to stay in touch that can be adapted to both sites’ needs. Videoconferences, phone calls, text communications – a wide range of tools we can choose from to maintain constant and necessary contact.
We always try to be proactive and helpful in terms of communication, and we know the clients appreciate this.
“From the very beginning, we had a very helpful Account Manager assigned to our project who took care of every single question, idea, and doubt. We were extremely satisfied with their friendly and helpful approach.”Children’s University Project Manager, Bajka Pana Kleksa
„The biggest advantage is the direct, easy contact with the person responsible for the process, understanding the environment of official procedures.”Katowice City of Gardens – public institution.
Transparency reduces project risk
Running technological projects is about taking the risk. However, it must be known, discussed, and monitored. Then it is possible to decide if we can accept the risk, and work together to minimize it. Yes, risk in a project is a common concern of both the developer and the client.
Risks that cannot be accepted may arise from issues that haven’t been properly addressed or thought through, such as:
- unrealistic expectations concerning the budget
- poor communication regarding requirements and functional expectations
These kinds of issues, which will surely increase the risk of project failure, need to be resolved and explained. Therefore, especially in difficult matters, transparent communication is the crucial aspect.
In addition, it is worth emphasizing that some projects may be risky due to legal restrictions. Not every product can be implemented in any form in any part of the world. To reduce the potential risk, legal research must be conducted before the product will be brought to development.
Risk management is also, and often above all, a financial issue. Changing requirements and the scope of the project, with high probability, will affect the final price. Two-way, open communication is crucial so that both sides know what to deliver and how it impacts the agreed financial estimations.
At Software Things, we talk openly about any factor that may be a potential risk affecting product delivery or changing the project cost. Years of experience allow us to identify these factors, as well as propose alternative scenarios for their solution. We indisputably believe that honesty means transparency, and it is a necessary element helping the development process to succeed.
Transparency benefits in the software development process
Transparency in terms of business relations is beneficial for both sides. Understanding the importance of a transparent collaboration gives the outsourcer company the tools to take care of the client by giving the ground for trust and a sense of stability. Transparency is also very important and helpful in terms of project management.
Transparency assets from the project perspective:
- understand the processes followed by software house
- measure efficiency
- deliver the visible parts of the product
- identifying and then overcoming risks
What client gets
Open and frequent communication, reporting the progress, all enables the client to see the effort and the effects of actions that strengthen the partnership. A transparent way of working allows clients to be always up-to-date with the development phase, but also to give some notes and redefine the business needs. This type of collaboration makes customers feel like team members who are also responsible for the outcome, and in the end, the products usually turn out to be more suitable, and pleasing.
What gains the software development company?
Partnership based on transparency is also beneficial for the software house team. At Software Things we use transparent cooperation as a chance to show our engagement, effort, and to build a positive experience for clients which turns into motivation for the next parts of the project. In general, transparency gives the possibility to build a long-lasting partnership, which causes the growth of both organizations.
Does transparency really have a meaning?
Transparency is not a cliche. It seems to be easy and obvious but it is not. It needs principles and processes that help transparent partnership happen. By establishing the rules we can create a predictable environment where transparency boosts in the best way. Transparency, in turn, builds trust. In business relations based on trust and transparency, both parties are not afraid of changes, and as a result of outcomes. The changes in requirements are discussed on an ongoing basis, as well as the changing costs or scope of activities. No one is left without information about how one change affects the other. Everything is transparent.
So now that we know how transparent cooperation should work, and we acknowledge the benefits coming from it, we are ready to start our journey together. Contact us and share your idea.
If you want to know more about the projects we run, check out our latest case study!
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