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Biggest mistakes in communication while working on your digital product

Business - 28th March 2019
By Filip Hasa

The development of your mobile app or website has started and everything looks just great. After a few sprints you realise that the project is not going the way you imagined and you have more questions than answers. Where is the mistake and how to avoid it? The problem might not be a client or developers, it could just be the communication between them. What are the most common mistakes?

There are no set ways of communication

A problem, which arises right at the beginning of a project. For effective communication, it needs to be clear who you should communicate with. If everyone is involved in everything, you will get into situation, when the less pleasant issue start to disappear without solution.

It is also important to set communication channels and regular meetings. When sending an e-mail to your team with five other people from the counterparty in copy, you have a huge problem! Those messages are rarely read.  

Tell yourself when to use chat, when to call each other and what messages belong to email. You should not try to reach any agreements via email, unless it is necessary. In this case, always set the mechanism of how to note these things – for example into your roadmap or back-log. This way you can avoid embarrassing and frustrating situations, where both sides search their email history to see the agreement.

Meetings are not to the point

Talking about meeting, it is essential to have a prepared agenda and a time frame. 45 minutes should be enough for most issues, that need to be solved (if it is not a workshop, stakeholders interview etc.).  

Avoid meetings that do not have a clear frame, staff and program. It is better to cancel it than waste time. At the end of each meeting, there should be a clear output – achieving a certain goal or reaching a decision regarding the points, which should be solved. Always remember to have the output shared to you and if you also take some notes – put yours and the others together. Don’t forget to complete the following steps – such as putting tickets into system or putting notifications into your calendar.

If there is a given topic, stick to it! Digital environment is extremely competitive and every minute counts. Small talks belong to cafés and bars, not to a meeting room full of people with a job mindset.

Your promises are not achievable

We all have only 24 hours a day and our weeks are long just 7 days. It is no shame not to have all your tasks completed immediately, in case it is not keeping the others from work. Do not set unrealistic deadlines, unless you are sure to meet them.

Right, it is easy to do say and maybe you think that you can do it in the evening or during your weekend. If that doesn’t happen, a problem is born. Everyone setting deadlines should be able to meet them, otherwise the whole project will fall apart.

Most of us are used to counting “how many pages do I have to read tomorrow, as I have not studied today” from school. This approach doesn’t belong to app development. If you are unable to meet the deadline – delegate, work overtime. New time schedule is not as easy as when you were at school.  

You are not open and clear

When you are unable to do something on time, or there is a problem, try to solve it right away. To be honest and open might be hard, but it prevents you from troubles. It is essential to forget about your fears and admit those problems.  

Try to handle the issue without emotions, there is always a solution available. Also, if you are not sure what solutions have you reached, you are in trouble. The other side of the table could have a completely different vision of what is your agreement.

Ending a call or leaving the meeting room with unpleasant feeling that “it must be clear”, you are making a mistake, which might cost you a lot of money in the future.

Being about deadlines

Talking about deadlines – it is not only about meeting them. When you promise something, you must fulfil it and if that doesn’t happen on time, it is an obvious failure. Now I am talking about setting the deadlines.

Often you will find yourself in situation, when you are communicating with a developer, graphic designer or anyone else – in this case do never push them into something. If you do so and set a deadline in a way “on Saturday”, you will create unnecessary pressure and there will be a great chance, that it is not going to be completed by “Saturday”. It is natural that promises we were pushed to made are not as binding as they should be.

You don’t focus on preparation

You might have a clear idea of your product in mind, but if you really want to be sure you are understood, you need to make an effort and put your ideas into a shareable form, so that the others can read them too.

When you are willing to give the team more freedom, they will surely appreciate that and maybe come up with a better result than you expected. However, in case that you have a clear image in your head, you have to share it. There is nothing like a “self-evident” feature. There is not. And it is not about laziness and intelligence of your developer. When creating a tailor-made product, it is a completely different process than just buying one.

Filip Hasa
Written by
Filip Hasa
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