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A Client’s Guide to Working with Sprint Developers

It takes a great deal of coordination and efficient communication for sprint developers to create a product that will be a valuable asset to their clients.

Business owners and entrepreneurs rely on expert developers and app experts when they need a web or mobile application or software for their company. It takes a great deal of coordination and efficient communication for sprint developers to create a product that will be a valuable asset to their clients. When you are a client who is not familiar with the technicalities of software or app creation, it is easy to stay in the background and watch your app development company do their thing. However, you need to keep updated regarding project progression and prototypes with your developers at every iteration of your project.

Being involved improves the efficiency of the team and its process. But before getting involved, first you need to understand their process. Some (if not most) development teams use the Scrum approach for their projects. So what is the Scrum approach?

What is the Scrum Approach?

The Scrum approach cuts a project up into tasks that can be completed on their own. Each group of tasks is assigned a “sprint” - a two to four-week slot of time for shipping their respective phases.

The Scrum approach makes sure that the process is moving and expectations are being met through constant reassessments at the end of each sprint.

Different Roles in the Scrum Approach

Three essential roles exist to shoulder different responsibilities that come with the Scrum approach:

Product Owner or Project Managers

The Product Owner is deeply knowledgeable about all the aspects of development. They are the point of contact of both the client and the team of sprint developers. A project owner ensures that the client's needs are adequately communicated to the team.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master relays the Project Manager's instructions to the rest of the team. They also make sure that the team is on the right track in every single sprint of the project.

Note: Depending on the company, sometimes the Product Manager and the Scrum Master are the same person.

The Team

The team are the developers that are working on the sprints. They are in charge of dividing the task and meeting the sprint deadlines.

Five Scrum Meetings

The main structure of the Scrum approach revolves around five important meetings:

Backlog Refinement Meeting

This meeting is held on the first day of each sprint. The backlog refinement meeting allows the whole team to look at the task at hand and see which tasks are done, which ones need more time and which ones are left behind. This is where the Project Manager decides what to focus on.

Sprint Planning Meeting

This meeting is for discussing what the team will be building and why are they building it. The sprint planning meeting is where tasks are divided for each team to work on.

Daily Scrum Meetings

This meeting is the team's way of updating each member on their progress.

Sprint Review

This meeting is when the team presents the product that they have so far to the clients. This shows that the team is really working on the project, and it also makes sure that the completed items align with the client's goal.

Sprint Retrospective

This meeting is held immediately after the sprint review meeting. The sprint retrospective meeting is all about collaborative feedback. The team takes time to look at their achievements and holdups. They reevaluate their process, looking at what is working and what isn't working.

Why Your Feedback Matters to Your Development Company

Now that you have an idea of what’s going on in the technical side of things. Let us move on to the thing that you should be involved in.

Many factors make an app or software unique and incredible, but no matter how ground-breaking your idea is, keep in mind that your train of thought may not be similar to what your developer is thinking. No matter where your ideas take you, remember that every app development company handles different clients, so factors like preferences, the level of accessibility and functionality vary from one client to another. If you don't let your developers know what you need, then you can end up with a product that is a little far from what you have in mind.

To avoid scenarios where you, as a client, are unhappy with the end result after waiting for an app for a long time, you should ask your developers about new features, preferably after every Sprint. This will help them determine the following:

  • Features that are essential to the product
  • Features that are accessible in terms of design and functionality for you and other end-users

Giving them feedback regarding these features before launching the final product can save both you and the development team some time and money since you won't be pushing unnecessary features forward. Your sprint developers will be able to give you a more valuable and refined product that is accurately customised for your target audience. All they need is for you to provide them with clear feedback.

How to Help Sprint Developers Integrate Your Feedback

Neither you or your app development company want to over-extend your project. Letting the developers run their course and not giving them an adequate amount of feedback can push your launch date later than you initially planned.

As a client, you can help your developers smoothen out their plans and lessen the hassle near the end of the project through effective communication. Here are some things that you can do:

1. Be an interactive client. Give regular but timely feedback

An app development agency and its team of developers will depend on the project brief AND your feedback to ensure that they are on the right track. The project brief can only get them so far before they get lost in a sea of code and lose sight of where they should go. It's not that they don't know what to do, but it is a matter of knowing where you want the app or the software to go. Remember, even expert developers are not given the gift of mind-reading. They may have this fantastic idea for a feature, but no matter how incredible this feature is, if it is not something that your business or your audience needs-- then keeping it is just a waste of time.

So, to avoid scenarios that can over-extend a project, developers need to integrate user feedback into their process. And for developers to be able to do this, they need access to YOUR feedback. Some companies have a feedback system of some sorts. It almost always looks like this:

  • They try to access feedback. - By accessing feedback, it means that the team will look for a way where they can get accurate and timely insight. Since they are working on an app for your target audience, it will help them a lot if you actively participate during this process. The team may opt for a customer panel or advisory board. Aside from giving your personal insights, you can also help them by bringing in other trusted individuals to add to the committee or board. Your opinion matters to them. So make sure that you give them enough feedback to let them know where to go.
  • They listen and analyse. - Once they have a customer panel or advisory board, of course, the team will actively listen to them. This part of the process will help the team understand what you and your target audience really need. It pinpoints your pain points, desires, and objective feedback during the early designs and prototypes stage. This is where they can evaluate what's missing and what is unnecessary. So, as much as possible, be honest about what you think about the project so far. Be decisive so that the sprint developers don't have to go back and forth in the long run.
  • They communicate. - Once the development team has analysed your feedback along with the panel's insights, they will convert their findings into tasks. This is the time when they communicate user insights to the entire project team.

If your app development company does not have a feedback stage or system in their earlier phases in the process, you and the development team may run into some problems during the later stages of the project. So if the developers you are working with are not actively looking for your feedback, then you should give them a gentle nudge. Or better yet, find a development agency who cares about your time and your opinion.

2. Understanding the team's approach.

The importance of customer feedback must have been mentioned in this article so many times that you probably get the point. Now that we have established that your insights are vital to the app or software development process, the next thing you need to understand that there is a right place and right time to give your feedback.

Once the developers have collected customer feedback from the customer panel or the advisory board, then it is time for them to integrate the insights at every project Sprint. Once they're at this stage, then it does not make sense for you to give additional feedback or change your mind about some features, because they are all about the application of feedback at this point. This does not mean that they will reject your requests, but it may mean that they have to rework their plans and reconsider the tasks at hand. Overall, giving feedback at random times can disrupt the team's process. Don't be that client.

Understanding your sprint developers' approach to the projects will allow you to time your feedback appropriately. As mentioned previously, some app development companies use the Scrum approach to facilitate project management. This approach involves a Product Owner or Project Manager who communicates evolving business goals and customer feedback to the development teams. Since this is the case, you should talk to the project manager regarding the project schedule and your insights. Each project Sprint will be based on the information you give the team, so you need to be sure and ready when the time comes.

There are Sprint Reviews in the Scrum Approach. Sprint Reviews are held to present on what's been completed to you, their client. Since this step is taken to make sure that the completed tasks align with your goals, this is an excellent time to give your feedback.

3. Manage the feature prioritisation.

One of the critical things to look out for is going overboard with an app or software's features. Some teams let their clients take control of feature prioritisation. Again, different companies have different methods, but either way, it can benefit the sprint developers if you can tell them right off the bat the features you want them to prioritise.

Final Thoughts

You, as a business owner or a client, hire an app development company for creating an application or software for your business, while the purpose of hiring a team is for them to take your idea and to turn it into a reality. In essence, this does not mean that you will leave everything up to them until the last minute. Your feedback is an essential factor in the process that helps the team stay on track. Take time to make sure that your feedback is accessible to your sprint developers. You should also make sure that your decisions are firm and that you give them your insights at appropriate times. Letting them know what features to prioritise can significantly help the developers work effectively and efficiently.

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