There are lots of factors that influence the success of your project. And surely one of the key ingredients in success is talented developers. But having a team full of great individuals won’t bring the desired results if there isn’t effective collaboration. Let’s talk about why collaboration is so critical to your software development project success.

A group of individuals working together toward a common goal
Source: Dribbble.com by Anastasia snigyr

We’ve asked our project managers: Why is collaboration the key to software development project success?

Team collaboration is when team members including product owner work together to meet common business needs. Who knows best how important project collaboration is? Of course, those who are in the center of these projects and know how to manage a team of software developers ― project managers. Below are insights and ideas on team collaboration from the project managers at Steelkiwi.

When developing software, there’s a huge flow of information. It’s therefore important for team communication to be effective and timely. Good communication saves time, money, and effort. What’s obvious for you isn’t always obvious for others. Constantly communicating with stakeholders not only allows you to involve all stakeholders in the project, monitor progress, and make informed decisions but also ensures everyone is on the same page.

Throughout the project, it’s essential to keep an ear to the ground and make sure every party involved has common goals and is fully aware of the requirements. And it’s collaboration that helps you achieve this. When a team has a shorthand with each other and the product owner is involved in development, your chances for success are much higher.

- Olga Semusheva, Project manager at Steelkiwi inc.

Collaboration is vital for the success of the project. In fact, a team is like a clock, and each team member plays the role of a gear. For the clock to function, each gear should do its part. The same goes for the team.

- Alexander Glavatskiy, Project manager at Steelkiwi inc.

Team collaboration is critical throughout the entire development process. If your team isn’t speaking the same language, you’re in danger of developing the wrong product or not meeting the budget. In fact, you’re more likely to fail with your software than to achieve the intended results.

- Nazar Donets, Project manager at Steelkiwi inc.

The importance of team collaboration can’t be stressed enough. It’s an integral part of the project and brings enormous benefits.

  • Team collaboration accelerates product development and allows you to get the product to market faster, since employees address difficulties together.
  • Team collaboration drives creative thinking and effective brainstorming. It allows you to look at problems from multiple angles and points of view.
  • Collaborative teams hold regular meetings, so they have a shared and clear vision of the direction they’re going.
  • Every party involved knows the full scope of the project and what they’re accountable for. This allows each team member to perform efficiently and saves time, money, and effort.

What happens when a project team isn’t collaborating?

Poor collaboration (or no collaboration) threatens your software development project success. Below, we outline the most common issues that hinder effective collaboration and point out how they affect the development of your software solution.

What happens when...?

Results

What happens when...?

Team members skip meetings

Results

The team can’t discuss important issues, and they put off making decisions on these matters. Consequently, the team misses deadlines and the development process takes longer.

What happens when...?

Team members aren’t interested in the project

Results

This harms code quality. When developers lack passion for developing your software, it may result in more bugs. This will lead to more time spent for the QA specialist to test the product and developers to rewrite the code.

What happens when...?

Team members don’t want to share knowledge with each other

Results

When the team fails to communicate among itself, this leads to a negative work environment. There can also be a bad effect on newcomers to the project. If teammates don’t share knowledge with newcomers, newcomers find it difficult to integrate into the process and can’t give valuable input in due time. This may delay development and the project may fail to be delivered on time.

What happens when...?

There’s poor communication within the project team

Results

When team members don’t communicate their understanding of what the software solution should be as well as its goals and objectives, they run the risk of making the wrong product.

What does successful collaboration look like?

Below, we highlight the most crucial components of effective team collaboration: a close-knit team, open communication, diversity, a positive attitude, smart leadership, and great collaboration tools.

Close-knit team

A collaborative team is a close-knit community in which each team member is an integral piece in the project puzzle. When hiring an IT outsourcing company, you’re working with a team of software engineers, UI/UX designers, project managers, and quality assurance specialists. You don’t have to look for different freelancers to build your software solution. Everything you need for crafting your product is in one place. Under the supervision of your project manager, the development team operates as a single mechanism. The time spent on your project is tracked and all new functionality is tested against project standards.

Open communication

A collaborative team is one where teammates are open with each other. Everyone on the team is welcome to ask questions and offer ideas. At Steelkiwi, we work in an open space office to break down barriers to communication. It creates a trustworthy environment where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and experiences, discuss important aspects of the product, and communicate with others on the team.

Diversity

One of the instruments of collaborative teams is diversity. But does it really make sense to count on very different individuals to complete the same task? It isn’t. Having a diverse team on your project ― with team members of different nationalities, genders, and ages and with varied expertise ― gives you the opportunity to generate unique ideas and tackle issues from multiple perspectives. Take Nokia as an example. As of 2018, the company’s Group Leadership Team consisted of fourteen people from all around the world, of different ages (between 30 and 60), genders, and skin colors, and with expertise in many areas including finance, engineering, marketing, law, and technology. At Steelkiwi, we also have diversity in terms of age, gender, and expertise. This helps us look at problems from different perspectives and find the best solution.

Positive attitude

A positive attitude at work is an undeniable sign of effective collaboration and successful software development project management. A happy team is a more productive team. Project managers at Steelkiwi shape a positive work environment through:

  • small informal discussions at the beginning of meetings to check how the team is doing;
  • celebrating accomplishments with events such as bowling, visiting quest rooms, or just spending time together with pizza;
  • sending thank you messages to teams or individual team members in the general chat;
  • providing meaningful feedback without criticism.

Smart leadership

Collaborative teams are those in which each teammate is aware of their contribution to the project, what they’re in charge of, and what they’re expected to do. Project managers define roles and distribute tasks. They bring a team together on a regular basis to keep track of progress and make sure everyone’s on the same page. At Steelkiwi, we hold six project development meetings that help us collaborate effectively. These range from kick-off meetings during which both internal and external stakeholders discuss goals, objectives, and other important issues to start planning the project to retrospective meetings during which the team shares feedback for further improvements. Smart and positive management leadership is of absolute importance, since it helps create a harmonious work environment and optimize the team for maximum productivity.

Great collaboration tools

Remote software development teams can’t do without software development collaboration tools. Collaboration software is a powerful means for discussing ideas, distributing tasks, monitoring project progress, communicating with clients and teammates, and keeping a team in sync.

At Steelkiwi, we consider these the best tools for collaborating with developers, designers, and project managers:

  • For project management: Jira, Trello, Confluence, Google Docs
  • For team communication: Slack, Skype, Hangouts, email
  • For document collaboration: Confluence, Google Docs

Great products require great collaboration

Team collaboration is of great importance in software development. It helps reduce misunderstandings of the project scope and thus saves resources. Lack of collaboration can lead to dramatic consequences, and your product may eventually end in failure.

If you’re looking for a highly collaborative team to build your solution, we’re happy to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us to request any details that might interest you.