Effective communication is always crucial for any organization to function correctly. The same is also true when outsourcing to a software development company. When communications are disrupted , the entire project suffers – and your idea is often the biggest casualty.
Remember that a custom software development project requires significant investments in time, money, and effort. Your software development team needs a clear direction for them to achieve the right results. A full understanding of your concept and goals early on eliminates many potential problems. When you consider them, you can avoid any delays and stay within the planned budget.
We could hardly overestimate the importance of communicating the idea to your software development team in a clear and effective way. Poor understanding of the concept and goals results in high risks for the project deliverables, which in turn, leads to loss of business opportunities.
Here’s how to explain your business idea effectively to your software development team.
Begin with an Introduction
The best way to start the idea-sharing process is by introducing yourself and your organization. Providing a brief background about your company gives developers insight into your goals and target audience.
Knowing more about your objectives is helpful, especially when outsourcing to a custom software development company. Try to cover this topic on your introduction call and summarize it at a kick-off meeting with the team.
Show Real-World Examples
In a perfect world, the best way to make sure your software team gets it precisely is by sharing actual technical specifications of your product. That way, your software team gets an exact target of what to accomplish.
In a user-centric digital landscape, knowing the solution’s value for the end-users is vital. Thus, it is a good practice to begin the idea-sharing process with describing the user stories.
Sharing real-world examples of your target audience reveals what you’re trying to accomplish. User stories should not tell about the app interface or features. On the contrary, they deal with the user’s pain points and how your proposed solution could solve them.
Here’s a helpful template of user stories for you to apply: “As a <user>, I want <solution> so that <solve pain point>.”
For example, a user story for Uber could be “As a passenger, I want to book a ride from my phone so I can stop waiting for a taxi by the side of the road.”
Explain Using General Terms
Provide a complete vision of your business idea using simple terms. Tell your software development vendor about the top-priority issues and cover the minor details of your concept. Here, you will be talking about the nitty-gritty of your business idea. Be ready to answer the following questions when communicating with your team:
- What kind of software are you building?
- Who is your target market?
- What is their demographic?
- What results do you want to achieve in a short term and long term?
By answering the questions above, you are giving your software development team a concrete idea of what you want out of the project. It eliminates the guesswork involved and gives them a clear direction about your expectations.
As an example, you could say: “I would like to build an Android app that collects bits of news for professionals who have no time to read a full article. The app will collect snippets of news and aggregate them for faster consumption. The snippets should be 100 words or less and should contain no images or videos. The content will be consumed during a quick lunch break, while standing in line or waiting for an elevator.”
Divide the Process into Stages
The software development process can be complex, especially when you, as a product owner, couldn’t prioritize features and try to accomplish everything at once. The saying “begin with the end in mind,” should be your motto here. To follow it effectively, divide up the entire process into small chunks and accomplish one thing at a time.
The first stage of development should be about your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Focus on the primary features of your software. What would you like the app to do? If you release the basic version now, what would its features be? Tell your development team to focus on those aspects before anything else.
Prepare a Flowchart and Visual Mockups
Another way to make sure that you are on the same page with your development team is to work on a flowchart and design mockups before rushing into the development phase. A flowchart, or a wireframe, provides your team with an idea of the functionality you want for your product. A visual mockup, meanwhile, provides a basic overview of its user interface.
Set a Budget and Realistic Project Timeline
Discuss financial details with your software vendor. Costs for the entire project may vary based on diverse factors, including the platform you want to use and the complexity of the features you want to add. Ask for a detailed estimate of the costs and try to follow the roadmap in order to stay within your budget.Additionally, you must provide a realistic deadline: the date when the project must be delivered. Do you have a specific launch date in mind? Give concrete time frames for delivery so the company could prepare the necessary resources to complete the project on time.
Throughout the entire process, the best thing you can do is to let your end-users guide you. At every stage of development, collect feedback from your users about their experience with your software. Are they satisfied with its features? What would they like to change? If they were to improve its features, what would they be?
The most significant advantage you can get when you begin with an MVP is that further development is centered around features that your audience wants. Your audience’s feedback helps your software development team create a better product.
Clearly communicating your ideas to your team is key to ensuring they capture your vision. By eliminating all the guesswork involved in the creation process, you eliminate many problems that could have been avoided.
Have a clear communication plan. Eliminate the confusion to ensure your idea’s execution. When that’s done well, half of the work is done already.