Good communication is the key to profitable, successful projects. In addition to client communication, inter-department communication is essential to success. Account, Project Managers and Development must all work together to keep everything moving forward. Communication is not just speaking to one another, but also understanding the processes in the development cycle.
Client vs Account vs Development
A common occurrence is that sometimes animosity develops between account and development teams. The development mentality is that the account team is not on their side. The account teams feel like development doesn’t want to facilitate the requests from the client. The reality is that a failure to communicate correctly on both sides is usually to blame.
Team leads should focus on establishing those working relationships. Promote transparency between groups. Too often a group will withhold information because they do not trust the other. This is true on both sides. Account may withhold actual deadlines in lieu of earlier ones for fear of development not performing. Development will withhold information for fear that account will share it too soon with the client. This type of mistrust is detrimental to the development process.
1. Establish a good understanding with the team leads. This means understanding the complexities of development as well as faith in the process. If you show the development team that you trust them, they begin to favor you. Developers will work harder for people who they think trust them.
2. Learn the lingo. Just knowing the terminology that developers use goes a long way to establishing trust. You don’t have to understand it all, but just the basics will help. This will also help with client communication.
3. Educate the dev team. Find a way to explain what you do and what issues you face day to day. You have to navigate very rough waters and they should know that.
4. You face the same challenges. Establish relationships by using that as a common ground.
5. Understand that developers love to make people happy. They love to over promise. You have to work with development leads to adjust your promises to the client accordingly. Always assume at least a 15% buffer in deliveries.
6. Make an effort to deliver quality instead of quantity. Set expectations early that we should produce excellent work.
7. Take a phased approach whenever possible. Phased development establishes long term relationships and makes quality deliverables easier to achieve. Work with solution management to identify current resources to determine if a phased approach should be applied to the project.