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5 Top Tips to Maximise your Client-Developer Partnership

5 Top Tips To Maximise Your Client-Developer Partnership

In the never-ending rush of software development, successful projects often rely on the strength of the client-developer partnership. A good relationship here can mean the difference between a project that meets expectations and one that falls short. To ensure that your collaboration is productive and successful, we’ve put together 5 top tips for you to keep in mind:




1. Communicate Clearly and Regularly

Good communication is the glue that holds a project together. Imagine playing the "broken telephone" game when you were a kid – things got mixed up pretty fast, right? That's why clear speaking and listening are important skills when clients and developers work together. Clear communication matters more than you think.

Here's how to keep everyone on the same page:

  • Chat Regularly: Have meetings often and update each other on how things are going. It’s like catching up with a friend – the more you talk, the better you understand each other.
  • Feedback Loops: Be open to giving and getting feedback. Think of it as a two-way street; everyone should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns.
  • Shared Spaces:Use the same tools to chat and keep track of everything. Platforms like Slack, Teams, or Skype are like shared digital offices where everyone can talk and find information easily.

And let’s not forget about the classics:

  • Group Chats: Set up a special chat group just for your project. This gives you a private room where everyone can talk, share ideas, and make decisions quickly, without waiting for someone else to pass on the message.
  • Everyone’s Included: When sending emails, make sure everyone important is in the "To" or "CC" line. It’s like inviting the whole team to a meeting – nobody misses out, and everyone knows what’s going on.

By keeping the lines of communication transparent, open and easy, you avoid mix-ups, save time, and work towards the best possible outcome. 

2. Define Goals and Expectations Together

You’ve worked hard to select the right software development team to help you with your project. Think of your partnership as a journey you’re taking together. Just like any successful journey, a little preparation goes a long way. 

Here’s how to make sure everyone’s ready:

  • Define the Destination: Understand and agree on what you’re aiming to achieve with this project. Like planning your route before you start driving, this helps avoid unnecessary stops or changes in direction.
  • Stay in Touch: Regular communication is key. Your feedback and insights during the journey can lead to better outcomes and avoid misdirection.
  • Joint Planning Sessions: Have detailed discussions about the project plan. Make sure all parties are on the same page. This is essential to avoid scope creep and to help manage expectations.
  • Document the Journey: If new ideas or changes come up, note them down and discuss. 
  • Regular Checkpoints: Regularly revisit your plans to ensure you're on the right path. This also allows you to adjust if needed. 


By actively participating in these steps, you'll not only ensure the project remains on track but also maximise the value of the partnership, leading to outcomes that truly meet your needs and expectations.


3. Engage in Planning and Decision-Making

Software development is not a ‘set and forget’ activity [we've debunked this myth already]. It’s a living, breathing project where you, as the client, are a key player rather than a bystander. Getting involved in the planning and decision-making directly affects the success of the project.  

Here's 3 approaches that we’ve seen work quite successfully over the years:

 Join the Team Early On

Don't wait on the sidelines. Jump into brainstorming sessions, workshops, or design reviews from the start. It's your project, so your insights, preferences, and decisions are crucial. 

Why This Matters:

  1. Your Voice Shapes the Project: Your feedback and ideas are invaluable. They help steer the project in the right direction from the start, ensuring the final result is exactly what you need.
  2. Stay Aligned with Your Vision: Regularly sharing your thoughts helps keep the project aligned with your expectations, avoiding surprises at the end.

Collaborate on Decisions

This is your project, so your input is crucial. Engage as equal partners. This doesn't just make the project more likely to succeed; it also ensures the end result will truly meet your needs.

The Benefits: When you're involved, you can spot and address potential issues early. This can save time, money, and headaches down the line. Plus, diverse perspectives can lead to more creative solutions.

 Be Inclusive

A software project worth the investment typically affects many aspects of your business. Make sure all relevant voices from your side are heard. This could include feedback from your marketing team, customer service, or sales department. 


By engaging deeply with the planning and decision-making, you’ll help ensure the project not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Remember, the more you put into the partnership, the more you’ll get out of it.


4. Embrace Iterative Development and Continuous Feedback

The ‘Old’ ways of doing projects are out; today’s Agile project management techniques and tools favour the value of a joint relationship, being flexible and making improvements as you go. 

Here’s how you can play a crucial role:

  • Iterative development: This means your software is built in stages, reviewing and adjusting as the project moves forward. Get involved in this process. Your insights and feedback at each stage are invaluable for steering the project in the right direction.
  • Continuous Feedback: Attend the feedback and planning sessions to share your thoughts. Quick, honest feedback helps developers make changes faster and keeps the project moving smoothly.

Why Feedback Works:

  • Better Results: Your feedback helps improve the project continuously, ensuring the final outcome is what you really need.
  • You’re in This Together: Feedback builds team spirit, making sure everyone's working towards the same goal.
  • Quick Fixes: When you share your needs and ideas early, the team can make changes right away, avoiding bigger issues later.


5. Build a Relationship Based on Trust and Respect

Here’s easily actionable communication advice: Always remember to stay on TRAC. T = Trust, R = Respect, A = Affirmation and C = Communication.
If you keep those 4 things in mind, you’ll enjoy the benefits of good communication. We too carry this with me for client-developer partnerships.

Software development is a team effort and the best projects are a team effort where everyone values each other’s ideas and work.

Conversation patterns for client-developer partership


Here are some tips to help you build a strong foundation of trust and respect with your software team. 

  • TRAC:
    • Trust and Respect: You’re in this together, valuing what each individual  brings to the table.
    • Affirmation: Recognising and appreciating the joint efforts keeps morale high.
    • Communication: Clear and open chats mean no surprises, just progress.

  • A Creative and Open Space: This approach opens the door to new ideas and makes solving any hiccups easier.
  • Clear Goals and Transparency: Knowing what you’re aiming for and how everyone is doing keeps everything running smoothly.
  • A Team That Works Well Together: Embracing these ideas leads to a productive team and successful projects.
  • Unlocking Potential: When you work like this, there’s no limit to what can be achieved together in software development.

Embarking on a new project is a journey filled with opportunities and challenges. But remember, it's not just about the destination; it's about the journey you take together with your chosen software development partner. We believe that implementing these top tips will maximise your client-developer partnership.


Download | The Executive's Guide to Software Project Management

Feedback Loops: Your Key to Success in Software Projects

About Author

Marilize Laskey
Marilize Laskey

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