7. 12. 2023
7 min read
7 communication fears founders have and how we tackle them
The absence of effective and transparent communication in software delivery is like building a puzzle with missing pieces – things just won't end right. A well-established communication is the key to making sure that both parties have expectations (your’s as a founder and our team’s) aligned, so we can work together smoothly and avoid any misunderstandings that would definitely get in the way at some point.
Thanks to our product development experience, our teams are well-equipped to address product-related questions and challenges on their own, which minimizes your involvement. This approach significantly accelerates delivery time, allowing us to respond to outstanding questions overnight through async messages or live meetings handled by our product managers, when necessary. As a result, we can leverage time zone differences to make progress either on other priority work or even finalize the requirements in question to a reasonable extent without the need for complicated rework later. It allows you to test and improve solutions during working hours, giving you practical benefits and flexibility in decision-making.
We've outlined some of the communication concerns you as a founder might have and how we handle them.
1. How do we preserve all information and knowledge so it would not be lost during the work on the project? What communication channels do we use?
Our teams employ various tools and practices to ensure that no information gets lost in the process. Let’s enlist at least the most important parts of project documentation:
Every project begins with a well-crafted proposal that outlines a broad plan of the work and essential details gathered from our initial meetings with the customer.
Product-related knowledge is carefully documented and stored in
Notion, sharing the entire content with our client. This keeps them informed about every update and allows them to actively participate in making product decisions.
Initial project scope overview, product roadmaps, and high-level feature definition are designed in
Figma, to ensure seamless team collaboration during the discovery and planning phases.
Detailed feature specifications, their breakdown into smaller workpieces, planning, delivery monitoring, and all aspects related to the actual delivery process are centralized within ticket management tools such as
For ad-hoc communication, we utilize
Slackchannels, offering team notifications, conversation history, and additional features to guarantee that no queries or discussions go unanswered or overlooked.
We conduct daily team calls, weekly meetings with stakeholders, and monthly reporting and progress summary sessions, among other regular communication activities.
All mentioned tools and systems are interconnected via integrations or tool automation and represent our project management tooling.
2. How do we ensure that everything is communicated with transparency and on time?
To make sure that the right information reaches the right people at the right time, it is very important how we structure our communication:
To ensure the team stays updated on changes, daily tasks, issue resolution, and more, we conduct daily team meetings. Additionally, certain projects require various specialized meetings such as Requirements Specification, Grooming, Long-term Planning, and Short-term (Sprint) Planning sessions.
In order to gather input from both the team and stakeholders and foster a positive work environment, we organize monthly retrospective sessions with our team and the client. These sessions provide an opportunity for anyone to propose enhancements related to processes, collaboration, and our chosen approaches.
Our Product Managers maintain close contact with our clients, typically holding daily or weekly meetings to ensure that both the team and stakeholders remain well-coordinated at every stage of project delivery. The frequency of these meetings varies based on client requirements, product readiness for development, and the need for ad-hoc discussions.
Our main points of contact for clients typically include Product Managers, responsible for product discovery, specification, and gathering of requirements, as well as Tech Leads, who handle technical assessments, estimations, and overall delivery responsibilities.
3. What does our internal communication structure look like? Who is responsible for collecting all the information from you as our client?
At our company, we identify different roles and their specific communication duties:
The Product Manager is tasked with gathering all the information about the product and acting as a stand-in for the client in their absence.
The Tech Lead's role involves conveying all technical matters with or between our client and our engineering team. They are responsible for clarifying technical subjects in a manner that even non-technical audiences can grasp, enabling Product Managers or stakeholders to make informed decisions based on this information.
Engineers are entitled to communicate through offline channels like Slack or ticket comments when they require additional information necessary to complete their tasks. If requested by clients or if clients specifically want to discuss project details with them, engineers may also join any calls with clients.
Every team member, regardless of their role, is encouraged to communicate when necessary, as we believe that transparent communication is essential for a successful project delivery.
4. How do we handle it when someone from the team doesn’t speak fluently in English?
We are leaning here to our thorough hiring process which includes also candidates’ English proficiency assessments. It ensures that all of our team members are well-prepared to collaborate with any of our clients, almost all of whom are located in the US or other English-speaking countries. We also provide English lessons as a benefit to all our colleagues.
5. How do we handle the sharing of knowledge and information provided by the client if not everyone is present at team meetings with a client during overlapping working hours?
When we talk to our clients, it's usually Product Managers or Tech Leads who handle the meetings, meaning we don't have to bring the entire team to every meeting. This helps us save resources and make sure everyone has a good work-life balance so they can do their best during office hours. The rest of the team will get all the info they need during our usual project updates from their leads (either PM or TL) or through tickets, messages, or other regular (or ad-hoc) team meetings.
6. How are we dealing with calls outside of our team’s working hours (usually late evening or at night)? How are we dealing with timezone differences?
Our Product Managers make use of overlapping office hours to discuss important matters. Less critical topics may receive less immediate attention and can be addressed through async messages or comments in tickets. It's important to note that all Product Managers and Tech Leads must be flexible with scheduling late calls, but careful planning at the project's outset ensures that neither our clients nor our team are disadvantaged. Our standard overlapping hours for calls and online discussions are typically between 5 pm and 7 pm Slovakia time, which corresponds to 8 am to 10 am in San Francisco, 11 am to 1 pm in New York, and so on.”
7. What if you are not a tech person? How would we communicate technically challenging topics that might affect former or future product decisions?
You don’t need to worry about technical details. Our tech leads and product managers can communicate it to you in an understandable manner. Therefore, you can use information from them to make important business decisions.
It is crucial that all of our engineers understand the value that the features they are working on bring to the final product. It’s essential and one of our core values to understand that implementation of features is not just writing a great quality code, but what it brings at the end to our clients and finally to their clients as end product users.
Also, it’s important that our teams can propose solutions that could save development time, with the same performance and quality, and therefore save costs in the end. Usually, there is no need to build extremely complex solutions for simple problems, that is exactly how we can progress quickly and deliver the value our client needs sooner.
Technically challenging topics are communicated via upsides and drawbacks to the final value that a specific feature brings to the product. Therefore we can communicate on a business level and there is no need for our clients to have deep technical knowledge.
We believe that communication is one of the main pillars of quality work. Given that our clients are spread across the globe, often spanning time zones with differences of up to 9 hours, our ability to work efficiently hinges on proactive and open communication.
We hope this blog post helped you with your concerns about communication issues on your product development journey. If you have an idea you want to discuss, feel free to contact us. You can send an email to [email protected], or book a call with our CEO, Jozef.