It’s sometimes necessary to go beyond the basics of a Slack channel and weekly emails to keep all involved in your software project’s development on the same page.
Project leaders looking to get the most out of their team need to plan out a comprehensive approach to communication that transcends individual mediums and makes the most of every message exchanged.
A strong communication strategy ensures that differing perspectives, understandings, and expectations can be brought into greater alignment as a software project matures. Read on to learn how you can optimize your communication strategy as well as discover a few winning approaches worth considering.
Assembling winning communication strategies
To piece together a strong communication strategy, you should first establish your top priorities. Optimization of the following factors plays into any communication strategy’s success.
This is simply the information that needs to go from one person or group to another. Depending on the nature of the message itself, certain mediums and approaches could be better than others (i.e., for milestone reports we use Asana’s status update features but they can also be delivered by email or in person with sufficient detail to keep less-connected parties in the loop).
The audience you or your team members must communicate with at any given time can greatly influence your choice of communication strategy.
Within your organization
This group is made up of team members who are directly responsible for the advancement of your project first, and other members of the company second. The communicative needs of this group are usually the highest and should be streamlined as effectively as possible when the project begins.
Outside of your organization
This group may include client-side stakeholders and leadership, investors, or even members of the press. Although this audience is less likely to need real-time updates on progress and detailed reports on individual development challenges, a certain degree of transparency must be conveyed at all times.
Your chosen communication medium can completely redefine your approach to communicating (i.e., a conference video chat works well for big-picture briefings, but might make minutia and details harder to keep track of).
Just as the message determines the medium, so does the audience. Your choice of communication channel should be flexible enough to suit different needs, priorities, and types of information.
Overlooked elements of effective communication strategies
It’s often the little things that make or break communication attempts. The following details are easy to forget, but make a big difference in response times, trust building, and overall adaptability.
Getting optimal productivity out of your team often comes down to supporting collaboration, but there are many ways to do this, such as push notifications and “buddy systems.”
Leveraging the immediacy that push notifications and topic-centered channels provide in apps like Slack can help keep members of your development team on the same page as development progresses. In the case of intrapersonal arrangements like buddy systems, team members (especially new ones) are encouraged to help one another become accustomed with their projects, leading often to unexpected, beneficial, collaborative efforts that drastically improve communication across departments and disciplines.
Push notifications can be a double-edged sword nonetheless. Due to it’s distracting nature, it is highly recommended to tame them regularly to make sure one only receives instant notifications when it’s really necessary.
Communication with clients and stakeholders
As a project progresses, clients and stakeholders waiting for it to be completed will likely want to be kept in the loop. Determining not only how to keep them updated, but precisely who should serve as the “point person” for these updates is essential.
Regularity is also a crucial factor to think about as your project matures: How often do updates need to be provided? When should milestones be reported? These are questions that you’ll need to have answered early on in the project’s development to keep everyone on the same page.
Give upward communication a chance
So-called downward communication is what a majority of employees across industries have grown all too familiar with over the years. This form of communication leaves no room for responses or input from team members, forcing them to accept decisions rather than actively taking part in them.
Upward communication flips this issue on its head, allowing everyone involved to express opinions and ideas openly, as long as proper steps are taken to do so. There are various reasons for allowing this kind of communication, but the ones below are some of the most common.
Shifting company culture
Are devs sensing a need for change that management may have missed? Is the company proceeding in a new direction without explaining it clearly to developers on the ground floor? Cultural tweaks that alter individual projects’ structures or objectives must always be clarified for team members to apply them appropriately in practice.
Making necessary critiques possible
Offering a clear, safe path for providing constructive criticism regardless of rank or responsibilities can help keep your entire team accountable for their project’s success.
Open communication is effective communication
At VeryCreatives, we take our commitment to communicating seriously, whether with internal team members or clients. As your reliable tech partner, we collaborate openly with your team to create the kinds of results your company depends on for lasting market success.
Reach out today to sign up for a free consultation.