I will soon have been working on various IT projects for 20 years. During that time, I have learned what international organisations value most in their Finnish cooperation partners is their honesty. Nothing more, nothing less. When considering this issue, from an IT viewpoint, honesty comes before any method, line of code, or process chart.
The most essential thing in a software development process is that we, as the service provider, can sufficiently get close to the customer. Something which is impossible without openness. Of course, some topics can be hard to raise, but the effort will pay off as the project moves forward.
As hard as drawing up the age-old project triangle of content, schedule and budget can sometimes seem, ultimately, it is one of the easiest things to record. But to offer genuine added value to the customer, you must know them well enough to know where to look.
Maximum added value from open interaction
When a project is underway, we must be able to have open dialogue, both within the team and with the customer. If people feel unable to address the things that aren’t working, then the result will please no one. The principles of interaction and responding to change following a plan are also featured in the 2001 Manifesto for Agile Software Development (see below).
The factors that are crucial for the success of the project, i.e., the creation of well-functioning software, are usually discovered through dialogue. Even a side remark can often lead the UX Designer to have a decisive epiphany.
The user experience specialists work at the heart of honesty. Their work is based on having discussions with users on the desired purpose of the software. A well-functioning dialogue between individuals allows the UX Designer to carefully chart the correct issues, meaning that we are likely to be able to prototype the product to some extent before a single line of code has been written.
Agile software development also involves customer cooperation. During the project, should we notice that the customer needs help in some other area, we must be able to highlight the issue. We must have the courage to offer our help without fear of it looking like we are aiming for additional sales. In reality, of course, increased sales are key however, when trust has been established, the customer will see that our primary goal is to offer things that they genuinely need.
Our projects provide us insight into the customer’s future. It would be a huge mistake to not highlight issues that might arise after the completion of the project. The customer’s business is an organic process that lives on after the software development project is over. By understanding the customer’s business and observing development opportunities, we can offer the kind of added value that only our competence can provide.
It’s always important to discuss future plans after a project’s completion in order to identify if further work may be required, or if we can move on to planning the next project together. If future opportunities aren’t discussed then we risk losing the opportunity to create additional value for the customer. Situational awareness is indeed essential in agile software development.
The principles and objectives of software development are enshrined in the 2001 Manifesto for Agile Software Development:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Read the entire manifesto here.
Success is based on happy employees
The Solution Delivery Manager responsible for the project must know the customer, but they must also know their own employees involved in the customer relationship. When you know the strengths and weaknesses of each of your employees, it is easy to stand with them and guide them in the right direction. When everyone has faith in their team and themselves, we can carry out the project in a way that generates maximum added value for all.
Our strength lies in our people. To keep our teams happy while working for us and on our customer projects, we must conduct open dialogue on their interests, wishes and dreams related to their work and personal lives. By genuinely listening to them and enhancing their strengths, employees can succeed and develop themselves further. And hopefully, on top of all that, the employees are also happy.
We all have our own particular strengths. When the strengths of the current and future top professionals are combined with those of the customer, we can achieve amazing things.
Solution Delivery Manager
Ilpo has almost 20 years of work experience in the IT industry as both a customer and a supplier. After studying Computer Science, he worked on defining database models and storing data. Responsibilities expanded to the design and delivery of complete software services. In recent years, Ilpo has worked as a Solution Delivery Manager, ie as a project manager in the implementation of IT projects. In his free time, Ilpo can be found on the volleyball court in the role of coach.