Over my years in working within retail, I’ve come up with a personal philosophy when it comes to driving a successful software development. I call it, “following the four Cs.”
This is self-explanatory. Ensure that you have clear and regular communication lines with all stakeholders and take note of the following.
1) Know when is it best to speak to them and when it isn’t. It’s often easy in a software deployment to assume that it’s the primary responsibility of stakeholders to dedicate resources to it, when the reality is that many of them have other responsibilities to manage alongside any incoming changes to their processes and solutions. Be respectful of their time and demonstrate a mutual understanding of when it’s okay to use it.
2) Remember that face to face is preferable. Sitting side by side with key stakeholders will enable quicker cut through and more collaborative working. If this isn’t practical, pick up the phone.
3) Speak the same language as your audience. As often as you can, listen intently to the choice of words people are using and then match your choice of words to theirs. It sounds obvious, but this will help build rapport and allow for easier progression of the project.
While seeking to understand requirements from your client, always take the initiative to circle back around to them for additional clarity. Put simply, getting it right the first time is better than getting it wrong and having to waste your client’s time in the future. Clearing up any ambiguity in expectations will help you gain respect and buy-in from your stakeholders.
If you commit to something you’re expected to deliver, but can’t deliver it, you have to be upfront as to what obstacles can stop you from moving forward. Remember that consistency breeds both trust and credibility. In the long run, both of these traits will empower your ability to drive the project forward.
This is among the most critical necessities when working in a software deployment, whether you’re working with remote teams or in the same office. Understanding the individual skills, attributes, and limitations of everyone involved within an implementation means that you can keep your expectations realistic while continuing to move forward. Like any project, taking the time to get to know everyone working on a software deployment, and learning what makes each person tick, is a fundamental driver of success.
And if you have the other Cs? Consider your project guaranteed for an A+.