Software development businesses are no exception when it comes to needing a robust communication platform to execute their daily work efficiently.
For many of you, who have either been working in software development or been involved with the development process as a customer, you'll know what I mean when I say "our working days are full of conference calls, customer meetings, staff and team meetings, project discussions, brainstorming sessions, internal project reviews, code reviews, customer project reviews, reporting and a whole lot more."
In fact, the backbone of our ability to function well depends on the management teams, development teams, and the customers being on the same page from the very onset, throughout the entire process and well in to the implementation.
The entire process of software development calls for each of these parties to be completely involved and hands on in communicating what is expected and what needs to be done at every stage.
To some, this means frequent emails, online meetings, and web conferences, and to others it means frequent long phone calls, assuming that not everyone is always in the same office all the time.
While all these may be a necessary part of the process, each of these requires the different parties involved to set time aside for each of these communication sessions -- so that they can connect at the same time wherever they are located and that can take up a lot of everyone’s time.
To improve efficiency of a development project you still need to be able to communicate frequently, but allow for that communication to be asynchronous as much as possible, so that each party can still have the flexibility of managing their own time schedules.
That’s where having team collaboration software in place comes in handy. An internal collaboration platform ensures security and helps keep all communication confidential, while bringing everything under one roof, so to speak, rather than using different communication tools on different sites.
The ability to quickly create a project wiki and post task lists, guidelines, milestones, and reports ... while being able to update frequently is a very effective way to manage projects on the fly.
Combined with other features like instant messaging, discussion forums, and the ability to share and keep all documentation within the intranet help consolidate all communication and content in a single location accessible to all who are a part of the project.
Everyone logs in to the social intranet software, which serves as home base.
Customers can suggest changes or ask questions.
Project managers can provide updates and answer queries, teams can ask technical questions and collaborate on problems, and management on both sides get clear visibility into what is going on and where things stand simply by logging in.
The pros to incorporating a social collaboration section into the process are:
Software companies have been at the forefront of adopting social software, and yet, there are still many who are yet to benefit from using collaboration software in their core processes of communication and project management.
Give it some thought and you’ll probably see a lot of the chaos settle down, and you'll find things working more effectively.
Tim is a co-founder and president of Axero and the author of his forthcoming book, Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Break Down the Invisible Barriers to Employee Engagement. He's spilt insightful ink on the pages of Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, CNBC, Today, and other top publications.
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