16.11.2018 / 16:57
Customer's role and responsibilities in software development project
There are a lot of factors that can change the result of a software development project: professionalism of an outsourcing team, quality of collected requirements, project's budget, etc. But the quality of the developed product depends on both the implementing partner and the client. Let's see what is the client's role in a software development project.
Providing project development requirements
Before starting a project, it is necessary to provide the executing team with the development requirements. If a project is large or there is nothing but the idea, the executor offers a business analyst to collect the requirements, create the decomposition of planned works. Then developers set the number of hours needed on implementation. In both cases, the executing team provides their client with an estimate of the project. By the way, model of cooperation can change a responsible party for loading of developers during the project:
In case of dedicated resources project manager (PM) or another technician from the customer’s side handles loading developers with tasks.
In case of Project Development PM from the executor’s side regulates the loading of the team to deliver the project on time and with the necessary functionality.
It's absolutely normal when the development team asks clarifying questions during analysis, evaluation or project development. For example, new challenges that can’t be solved with standard or planned ways can arise. And inaccuracy of the information provided leads to misunderstanding and inappropriate work. Thus, feedback from the client is a factor of mutually beneficial communication.
Delivery Verification and Software Version Control
Client should check the progress of the project and take part in meetings with an outsourcing partner to see the real situation and be on the same wavelength. Sometimes changes in requirements happen (especially in Time & Material projects). The faster developers receive feedback to the result, the faster they resolve emerging issues. And no one will overpay.
Project budget control
The customer must control the budget for project development. It is especially true for Time & Material projects where initially the scope of work and the budget are defined roughly, and requirements may change during the development process. And of course, every executor wants to receive payment for their services timely. So, do not hurt either yourself or your partner.
Risk identification and management
Risks can arise not only from the production side, but from the client's side too. For example, local industry regulations or people responsible for some parts of the project may change, or a project may pause due to higher priority tasks. There are also risks depending on the model of cooperation:
Dedicated Resources possible risks: there are cases when a developer needs to be replaced for some reason (for example, illness or insufficient qualifications); or the client doesn’t load the developers, but the time is still paid.
Project Development: project estimate may not correspond to reality (leads to escalations); choice of an irrelevant developer (for example, Fullstack developer chosen for a large amount of work on Frontend and Backend parts may not keep the deadline; or the client took both Frontend and Backend developers where Fullstack one would be more profitable).
Success of a project depends both on outsourcing team and on the client’s involvement in activities like providing development requirements, project budget (especially for T&M projects) and software versions control, risk identification and management. The more the client is involved in above-mentioned activities, the more result will match his expectations.