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May 18, 2018

These Web Dev Barriers Can Damage Vendor-Client Relationship

By Special Guest
Yana Yelina, Technology Writer at Oxagile

Even if you’ve been lucky enough to find the optimal software vendor, that doesn’t mean your web development journey will go without a hitch. Considering the complex nature of business partnership, you may face a number of twists and turns on the road to success.

But what are those things solution providers and customers are usually at odds on? In this feature, you’ll find details on most common roadblocks and get result-oriented recommendations on removing them.

Development Model Dilemma

The client and the vendor may have different understanding of what the whole development process should look like. And the choice is never easy when it comes to deciding on the methodology for a web dev endeavor. Waterfall or Scrum — which suits best?

The choice depends on the business goals you’re pursuing.

To make it less of a headache, Scrum is an iterative model that uses time-boxed sprints to help your product reach the market ASAP — without sacrificing quality. Such a model is set to successfully manage big ventures with complex business logic and constantly changing requirements. To put it short, Scrum is all about a quick start, transparency, flexibility, and early value delivery.

Conversely, Waterfall presupposes classic, sequential development: project phases don’t overlap, and without completing the first stages engineers can’t proceed to the next ones. It’s a perfect fit for projects that are relatively small in scope or duration and have a well-defined budget.

If delving into the technicalities is not your cup of tea, it’s better to rely on a vendor who has a solid track record in delivering custom web application development services. After learning more about your business, the IT provider will offer you the optimal model that will become a foundation for creating a product with tangible business value.

Vague Requirements

Once you’ve agreed on which way to move, it’s time to discuss the project details: technologies, design, deadlines, and other important aspects.

If your methodology of choice is Waterfall, you’ll get a software requirements specification (SRS), i.e. a document with a comprehensive description of a future system.

         Yana Yelina 

What functions an application will fulfil, how it will interact with hardware and users in a wide variety of real-world situations — this all is stipulated by the SRS. If used appropriately, SRS can help minimize time and effort, reduce development cost, and prevent project failure.

Unlike the traditional Waterfall approach, Scrum welcomes change — even during the final project stages. So the process of requirements definition and management  here will differ.

You’ll be closely communicating with the development team and the Scrum Master to specify the product backlog — a prioritized feature list describing the functionality to be delivered for the next sprint. Scrum also presupposes discussing the project progress and preparing detailed reports on the work done.

No matter the approach you choose, you’ll have the clearly-defined requirements and hence a good night’s sleep.

Service Level Expectations Mismatch

Different expectations about the product quality and the level of service represent another barrier that may negatively affect vendor-clients relationship.

To make certain you’re on the same page and secure your undertaking from nasty surprises, sign a Service-Level Agreement (SLA). This is a critical component of any technology vendor contract that establishes customer expectations and defines the performance standards the provider must meet on different stages of the development process, including support and quality assurance.

Besides listing the requirements and metrics — such as service availability and uptime, performance benchmarks, and help desk time — SLAs also set down remedies or penalties if the agreed result isn’t achieved.

Poor Communication

Communication is the staple of any partnership, and a client’s feedback has a direct impact on the overall success. Your vendor can’t read your mind so give detailed feedback on the transitional stages of the development process.

Many US companies tend to outsource IT services to Eastern Europe, as hiring tech talents there comes much cheaper — with all other conditions being equal. If you decide to outsource, don’t let a different time zone negatively affect the interaction with your provider.

Rely on business emails, messengers, phone calls, and video conferencing, but don’t undervalue onsite visits. They are a great way to leverage face-to-face communication and knowledge sharing.

As cliche as it may sound, language barrier may be another contributing factor to poor communication. So if you decide to outsource to Eastern Europe, make certain your partners have a good command of English and a well-established English training process.

Summing It Up

In this article, we’ve mentioned just a few business hurdles that may arise between a software developer and a customer. Still, they won’t negatively affect the project down the road if cleared in time.

To accelerate success, define the expected level of service, agree on the optimal development model, specify the requirements, keep an open mind on web development trends and best practices, and provide relevant, timely feedback.

About the Author: Yana Yelina is a Technology Writer at Oxagile, a provider of software engineering and IT consulting services. Her articles have been featured on ITProPortal, Business2Community, UX Matters, and Datafloq, to name a few. Yana is passionate about the untapped potential of technology and explores the perks it can bring businesses of every stripe. You can reach Yana at yana.yelina@oxagile.com or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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