Lessons for Combining Services and Development
In software delivery projects, the Services team bears the responsibility of delivering on time and on budget within scope. But there is always a heavy reliance on the Development (aka R&D) team to provide the products and bug fixes needed to successfully deliver the project.
Communication is the lifeblood of any successful project and this situation is no different. To enable the R&D team to support Services during the project delivery process, Services needs to ensure that they are communicating all that R&D needs to know to help enable project success. Communicating timelines and deadlines are one piece of it. If there are issues or modifications that need R&D intervention, having concise and accurate requirements developed are key to enabling R&D to deliver the needed changes/fixes right the first time. On the flip side, it’s vitally important for R&D to communicate needs to Services and ensure that they are raising risks and issues as they arise so that Services can help mitigate issues and manage customer expectations.
As with any relationship, there needs to be reasonable expectations on both sides. Along with overcommunicating expectations, it needs to be clear that those expectations need to remain reasonable. Unless a bug comes in as a priority 1 show-stopper, Services (and by extension, the client) cannot expect the bug to be resolved immediately (although miracles sometimes happen). Nothing will fray the relationship between Services and R&D faster than “tossing grenades over the fence”. As issues come in requiring R&D intervention, an assessment needs to be done to determine the impact to the project and how the issue should be prioritized.
In the same vein as overcommunicating it’s crucial that as responses are needed by either side in the effort to support the efforts being put forth by both groups. Say a new feature has to be developed by R&D to support the project and Services is responsible for putting together the business requirements for it – if R&D has follow up questions that is stalling development, it’s vital that Services provide timely responses to keep the development efforts moving.
R&D and Services combined, working in lockstep can prove to be a formidable team when doing software project delivery. By learning how to work effectively together, it provides a more consistent project delivery experience.