If your team can get more visibility into releases, you will have more confidence that the code you have developed meets the quality standards. With more visibility, you’ll be deploying faster, and meeting customer needs earlier. Visibility and collaboration are critical not just to get teams to work more efficiently, but they also help in accelerating time-to-market. That said, here are 10 tips to increase software delivery and IT project visibility and collaboration:
1. Keep track of all the work centrally using a tool:
With so many people working on so many different aspects of application delivery, knowing who is working on what and what hurdles are being faced is difficult. Keeping track of all the work that is being done through a central tool like Git is a great way to provide teams visibility into piecewise project requirements, and the roles and responsibilities of each one involved.
Thomson Reuters uses Git to streamline the version control process and track and manage bugs while ensuring code is reviewed and merged efficiently.
2. Automate reporting:
Given the critical tasks developers, testers, and other software engineers need to perform, a lot of their time gets wasted in report creation. Now imagine a world where reports are generated and updated automatically, without teams having to put in the effort! Automated reporting can allow teams to focus on more important activities while generating better, and deeper insights in the same amount of time through automated reporting. For teams looking to drive higher value, they need to automate reporting as much as possible and rely on tools that show real-time project progress.
3. Empower team members to use online tools for collaboration and sharing:
With teams expected to make changes to code frequently, and with the pressure to reduce the time taken to resolve issues, waiting for a weekly review meeting to know the status of on ongoing project is no longer feasible to track development. As software teams today comprise several resources spread across the world, empowering team members to use online tools for collaboration and sharing is critical.
Marketing company HubSpot uses collaboration tools like Confluence to fuel communication, collaboration, and transparency within their teams.
4. Discard email:
In the software development world, the days of email are gone. With changes and features expected to be incorporated ever so frequently, sending an email to a team member, and wasting time waiting for the response can delay time-to-market. What works better for project visibility and collaboration is using an online tool that can help streamline the communication and show project progress in real-time.
Auto major Audi uses tools like Confluence to store and share knowledge documentation and enable teams to stay abreast with all the happenings.
5. Use advanced scheduling tools:
For project teams working on myriad tasks, poor scheduling of activities often impacts project visibility and collaboration. Incorrect or inappropriate scheduling does not take resource constraints into account, causing confusion and frustration within teams. Advanced scheduling tools allow project managers and other stakeholders to efficiently plan projects, portfolios, resources, budgets and more, while seamlessly integrating research and development activities. Such bi-directional nature of the integration closes the loop and eliminates the visibility gap: engineers focus on day-to-day tasks and report their progress, while project management teams get a clear view of project progress.
6. Use collaboration tools for document reviews and commenting:
In most software development projects, a lot of time is wasted waiting for documents to be reviewed, and comments to be addressed. Using a collaboration tool such as Slack for document reviews and commenting is a great way to speed up review time, and get the project going – without any interruption. Meal kit company HelloFresh uses Slack to have their cross-function and multinational teams work together to documentation, and provide and address comments in real-time – allowing everyone involved to view updates immediately.
7. Ensure a transparent communication flow:
Despite teams working together on various projects, they usually fail to answer questions using the information they have during the project lifecycle – mainly because of the lack of a transparent communication flow. Transparent communication is extremely critical in software development as it makes information available to people instantly and allows them to make informed decisions. Ensuring a transparent communication flow through a well-defined communication plan ensures accessibility, understandability, and relevance, enabling teams to see the information they need to complete their tasks, and reach their goals.
8. Keep a centralized repository of all digital assets:
Tracking and monitoring digital assets, and finding the information needed is a tough task for any project resources. Technology company Carfax uses tools like Jira to build a centralized repository of all digital assets and ensures assets are properly stored, and accessible by resources at any time. Not only is such a repository scalable, it allows customization of metadata as well as the permissions applied to read or modify them.
9. Define metrics/measures and track them till the end of the project:
In the absence of a project management tool, visibility across projects and portfolios is difficult, if not impossible. If every task or project is delivered using a different method or tool, in the absence of a common base for tracking and reporting, how can teams generate and measure metrics? Using a single project management tool to plan, track and update projects is a great way to incorporate a culture of visibility across teams. Through real-time collaboration and reporting, the tool can make it easy to manage project documentation – without any complex coding or configuration. Teams can quickly identify gaps and get the visibility they need to steer the project in the right direction.
10. Embrace Agile methodologies:
With management and customers expecting a quick turnaround, monthly reviews, and weekly team meetings are a recipe for project disaster. With no insight into what the different teams are working on, there is a high likelihood of duplication of effort, lack of knowledge of challenges, and poor collaboration between teams.
Embracing agile development methodologies is a great way to accelerate the process of continuous planning and feedback and deliver value that can be maximized throughout the development process. Through iterative planning and feedback loops, continuous integration tools like Jenkins allow teams to continuously align the delivered software with desired business needs, and easily adapt to changing requirements throughout the process.
In the age of DevOps and continuous delivery, weekly status update emails definitely cannot be sufficient to address such questions. What the teams need is real-time visibility, immediate notifications, and seamless handshakes. There are tons of ways project teams can increase software development and IT project visibility and collaboration – the right collaboration tools, communication plans, project development methodologies, and Agile practices can all provide real-time visibility into what’s going on.
Implement these top tips today to facilitate the process of software delivery, more accurately meet customer needs, and ensure internal and external expectations are managed closely.