Successful Software Engineering Subcontracting – Part II

Introduction

So you have reached a decision that you need to subcontract some aspect of the software engineering required for your latest project.  This blog forms the second part of a series of blogs where we seek to outline some simple steps to ensure the success of any subcontracted software engineering project.

Today, we are going to look at the role of effective communication.

Communication & Transparency

A crucial aspect of any project that will make or break the outcome.

“Communication is a two way process”, one of many universal truths and an effective two way communication process is essential to bringing about a successful project.  You, the client, will be keen to be aware what the current situation is with your project at all times, but, communication in the opposite direction is of equal importance to us, the software subcontractor.

Simply handing a project over and hoping that all turns out well is not an ideal working methodology for either party. Working as a team, and working for each other, will result in a much more beneficial working relationship.  The earlier this communication takes place the better, as it helps set clear expectations for both parties.

Transfer of knowledge is a critical part of this initial communication.  Whilst it can be expected that any engineer assigned to your project will always be suitably qualified and experienced, they are unlikely from the outset to appreciate the subtle nuances and details of what is required.  These can only be understood from talking to you directly, as only you will fully understand the business goals of the project.

On any project, a subcontractor will typically be producing documentation, user interface designs, prototype software or beta releases that will all require some form of feedback or approval.  The easier it is to get this feedback, the quicker any problems that may surface can be addressed and handled.

Having said all of the above, there is of course a fine balance between staying in touch and micro-managing a project.  Excessive micromanagement will lead to a hold up in progress, as the project team is too busy managing the project to actually develop the solution.

At Zircon, we will always assign a project manager to a project.  That person will typically be the main contact point between client and the project team with responsibility for stakeholder management, ensuring that all stakeholders have been identified and an effective communication structure exists between them.  However, other members of the team will always be directly accessible to you.

At the end of the day, we are entirely driven by the need to satisfy all your requirements, both in terms of the end result and how the project is conducted – your peace of mind, from beginning to end, is of paramount importance to us.  This means we keep you informed at every stage because, after all, you want us to solve your problems, not make them worse!