The art of being a perfect client, part 2. How to communicate with a development team efficiently

Communications is a transfer of information which includes words of an oral and/or a written language, sign language, and "body language": facial expression, gestures, and motion.

How you can see from the article’s title, we will talk about not usual communications, our purpose is to show you how to build effective business communications with a development team, and what mistakes you shouldn't make. 

Over 7 years of team leading experience and work in ADCI Solutions I have identified several key clients’ mistakes that interfere with productive work.

So, for whom this article is:

  1. The article will help the persons who are planning to work with the development team, build the right and “healthy” communications.
  2. For people who had a negative experience with web development companies, the article will help to realize the mistakes made and provide a solution and a way out of such situations.
  3. The persons who had a great and successful process of communication with the development team can pat themselves on the shoulder, note the items that they complied, and find something new.

Well-built communications are key to a successful project because information is a paramount resource of website development. As far as communications are good enough, the results of the work will be impressive. This is a direct relation formula. I want to show you a short comic example of bad business communications.

Business Owner to Head of the Marketing Department:

"I have thought about your offer to make a new website for our company. You have given the good analysis that has shown loss of leads. I decided that we should develop a new website. Please, find about 3-5 development teams which can create for us the best solution, do it during this week. We will choose one together later.

My requirements: the site should be created with our corporate colors, the main page will be white, other pages are blue. Development period is 4-month maximum."

Head of the Marketing Department to Marketing Assistant:

"Our Business Owner has accepted the offer of the new website. So, after this week he wants to see a list with some development teams that can develop the site.

His requirements: the site should be created with our corporate colors, the main page will be blue, other pages are white. Development period is about 4-month. You can start your research."

Have you found the inconsistencies? This two-stage communication shows you that every word is important and how a multiple transmission of information between participants in the communication process leads to the inevitable distortion of meaning. Can you imagine what will be if this communication overcomes more stages? The picture below can show you the possible outcome.

What Business Owner wanted to have and what he will get instead

I think that I persuaded you why communications are important. 

Business communications are separated into internal and external. Internal is the communication within a company. The example above refers to internal communications. And external is communication between two or more parties. After we will talk about external communications: between a client and the web development team.

What're the forms of communications between the web development team and clients? There’re chats, email, video conference, voice conference, in-person meetings. You and your development team need to choose the form of communications together. It should be optimal for both of you.

Let’s consider the top 6 communication mistakes that kill relationships between the client and the dev team. After each communication problem, you will find short tips which can solve difficulties:  

1. Long wait for a response

There are many questions arising during work. The faster you answer a development team’s question, the faster they will be back to work. The long wait for answer wastes your time, that means the money waste as well. 

Solutions: 

  1. Be sure that your notifications are on.
  2. Download mobile versions of communication applications to have an opportunity to discuss the project everywhere. 
  3. If you’re busy and can’t devote enough time to a project, you should have a special employee which will be responsible for the website development, he or she needs to be always in touch with the development team for a quick bug fix.

2. Rare meetings

The rare discussions of a project between a client and developers lead to a large accumulation of many errors. 

Solutions:

Plan your meeting at a time of your convenience, you should discard all extraneous affairs and only do a common project.

3. Forget about time zones

If you work with a remote team from another country, you should remember about the difference in time. Nobody wants to hear annoying phone sounds at 3 am.

Solutions:

  1. Draw attention to your developers’ status in messenger, online or offline.
  2. To don’t forget about something important you can write it on notes. When your dev team will be online, you will need just to copy and past this information in your messenger.

4. Delete history of messages

If you save all messages you can turn back to them to find something important in your conversation with developers. Not every developer is decent, he or she can confuse the project deadlines and argue that it’s your mistake. So your messages can be proof that you’re right.

Solutions:

  1. The solution is easy - don’t delete messages.
  2. And if your development team suggests you track the time spent on a project in the task tracker, agree without fail because this service saves all information about the time of the project. We use BaseCamp in our work.

5. Many points of contact

This is chaos if you and your dev team have more than one mean of communication because you lose the chronology of messages and stages of product development. 

Sometimes clients write us on Upwork, on email, and on BaseCamp at the same time. And there was an online document where different persons were adding tasks. This is hell!

Solutions: 

  1. You should agree with each other about which applications you will use in your work. To work with the clients productively, we use one messenger (Slack), one application for video calls (Skype), and one time tracker (BaseCamp). 
  2. We advise you to have only one person who will give the tasks to developers in one application.

6. Misunderstandings

The misunderstanding is a common occurrence between people from different areas. Developers can’t know everything about medicine or science. You may not understand the process, special IT terms. And both situations are okay. 

Solutions:

  1. Be open-door, permissive, understanding. 
  2. When you doubt if everything is going good, the right way out is to ask a question. (So, I’m waiting when you finish this task, right? Now you are fixing bugs, aren’t you?)
  3. To learn more about web development companies’ approaches, workflow, and development, stages you can read our article “Web development methodologies and approaches”.

Conclusion

Those were the most popular communications’ mistakes which I have met in my 7 years of work practice. 

Also, I want to suggest you get familiar with the first part of this article. There you can find the other clients’ mistakes which appear directly in the development process. 

Hope you will be an excellent client and your communication with a development team will be perfect! Don’t forget about problem-solving techniques from the first and the second article’s parts to be a guru in cooperation with the development team.

P.S. The human error is always possible. To make mistakes is a norma. 
 

You might also like

Drupal best practices: site-building in Drupal 8

In this article, we are going to consider some Drupal best site-building practices. We will share what modules’ switching on and off can get over the problems with Drupal SEO, Drupal security, Drupal performance and maintenance.

Drupal best practices: theming

In this article, we are going to consider the best front-end Drupal practices - theming. You will learn about integrating dynamic imports, splitting code into small chunks in Drupal 8.