Distributed Software Development Teams: How to Build Effective Communication Paths
Since COVID-19, IT companies have prioritized strong management teams to handle software development. Different individuals are saddled with responsibilities for software building with clearly defined goals.
However, the proper execution of distributed software development is not with every individual member but the teams in general – the collaboration of different development teams for a common goal.
That is why companies now focus on hiring good distributed development teams in a particular or different location and ensuring great communication with and between them for success. Find out in this article the standard roles of this team and how to build great communication paths.
What Does Distributed Software Development Mean?
The first part is to answer – "what is a distributed software development model?"
A distributed software development model is an entire framework of planning, designing, building, and testing a software system under the influence of designated development teams. It solely involves integrating teams into each other and ensuring they work collaboratively to meet software needs.
These teams may be in the same or different locations, depending on the needs of the IT company. And while they exist, an effective communication path must exist between these teams for efficiency.
The development teams in this software building are constricted to follow Agile Development Principles that mainly focus on maintaining a sound level of communication between dispersed teams for efficient software development. However, defining two important things – standard roles and communication paths is important. These factors are responsible for efficiency and ensuring no problems with teams during the development phase.
What are the Standard Roles in Distributed Software Dev.?
In a distributed development environment, teams are invested in performing individual tasks. Their roles are the same for every software development project. In some instances, IT companies may have someone performing more than one role. Nevertheless, discussing the standard roles in this kind of project is important.
The Client is the head of the IT company – the figure at the top of the chain. The person is in charge of sponsoring or financing the software development project. The Client scouts for partners interested in ensuring the company's goals are met. This individual holds the final decision on any project.
The Product Advocate or Partner
The Product Advocate or Partner is an entity hired by the Client or sponsor to oversee various conditions that need to be met for the company to meet its software development goals. This entity can be a person, several people, or a service-providing company. They are also sometimes tasked with recruiting other individuals for the project.
The Program Manager
The Program Manager coordinates the entire project and acts as an intermediary between the Product advocate or Client and the skilled individuals in various fields. This person conducts regular meetings where each arm of the software development team discusses their progress and needs. This individual takes note of every important detail and provides a comprehensive report to the superiors.
The Product Manager
The Product Manager is solely in charge of the product, i.e., the software. This person is the overall development team and coordinates every group by picking team heads and ensuring proper delivery at a set time. This individual is also involved in tackling problems that arise from the software development process. Such a person even finds out if more people will be needed to execute the task and reports to the program manager.
The Development Managers
The development managers are team heads in a distributed development project. They are responsible for managing every team member, assigning them roles, and ensuring they align with the company's objectives and key results. The development teams for software systems are mostly UX, Technical Writing, Engineering, and QA.
The System Architect
Apart from the team that develops the software, there is also an entity responsible for designing it. The System Architect is responsible for designing the best infrastructure that software needs while considering the company's demands. This individual is also responsible for designing the user interface, monitoring data flow, and choosing the technology stack.
The Development Leads
The Development Leads are the next in command after the Development Managers. Their role is to ensure the proper flow of skill sets every day. They ensure that their individual teams meet up with daily quotas or make up for situations where they couldn't meet the target for the day.
Developers, Engineers, Designers, and Writers
The last set of people in the software development chain is the developers, engineers, designers, and technical writers. They are the people with the actual skill set to make a company's software come into reality. They use their skills to build a system that meets the Client's needs and benefits end users.
How to Build an Effective Communication Path Among Teams?
Distributed teams for software development are bound by one significant factor – communication. Without this factor in the most appropriate quality, it will be impossible for a company to achieve its software goals.
Here are ways to build effective communication paths.
An IT company should invest in defined and controllable communication systems with teams. The entire purpose is to constantly check in with software development progress and challenges. These communication systems could be team meetings on Google Meet, Zoom, etc., reviews on design, and client emails. Businesses take up separate VoIP numbers to carry out the communication process to the best. It could be formal or informal – the team chooses the best method.
The company should consider a role-to-role communication pathway. This strategy involves a communication chain from the head to the skilled individuals. For instance, the sponsor sets up a meeting with the program manager and product advocate or partner, discussing company goals, requirements, potential challenges, etc.
These individuals will then communicate with the project manager to set up a dedicated team of developers, designers, engineers, and writers. Whatever issue may arise from the software development, communication primarily exists between these teams and their heads. The heads then report to the client or the next superior entity.
Getting distributed software development project teams is important for an IT company. However, the teams' success is based on clearly defined roles and responsibilities. It is also influenced by maintaining a good communication pathway among team members and other individuals present.
Hiring a good partner advocate shouldn't be difficult –a brilliant idea! They will set up these teams in no time.