How can I improve collaboration with my development team?

Product people are right in the center of the storm.

What happens when you cross paths with the other storm, the engineering team? You may plan what your product is going to look like, but they’re the ones actually building it. Your work is inextricably wound up in each other’s, so how can you make your job (and theirs) easier and more effective?

Here are a few tips to help you (and them) work in sync.

Always include the business case

A common complaint among engineers is that they get specs thrown into their inbox with zero context. Not fun, right? They’re part of the team too – and they deserve to know why they’re building a spec. Before you send over an idea to your engineering team, make sure that you’ve drawn out enough background information to help them understand what they need to deliver. This could include specific customer feedback, key comments from other teams and of course, the business case.

The business case is really just these two questions:

1.What problem are you trying to solve?

2. What impact would it have if it were solved?

If your team works with user stories, you can enter those within the idea too. You can push those independently from the idea or one by one – you choose! They will all still remain part of the same epic so your team can work through the tasks.

If you have supporting documentation and mockups, include those in the idea. We support mockup versioning as well, so both you and your engineering team can keep track of the documentation progress.

Don’t things look better already?

Keep things tidy

Now that you’ve organized all the relevant parts of your spec for your engineers, clean up the rest.

Keep all conversation, votes, and comments all in one place so it won’t interfere with their work. What you want to do is give them the time and space to work on their job without the extra clutter.

So if you can control their view, keep their tasks clean and allow them to focus on what they need to do. They don’t want (or need) to be concerned with the rest.

Don’t be a dictator!

Keeping the conversation separate from the engineering workflow does not mean you shouldn’t include them in the conversation. Let them see what’s going on – don’t just throw stuff over the fence and expect them to blindly work on things! By giving your whole team access to ProdPad, they can cooperate, understand, and contribute to new features as you’re spec’ing out for them.

Once your idea is ready to be worked on, hook up ProdPad to your favorite development tool such as JIRA, Trello, or Github, and allow your team to work on it. Voila!

 

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