Today most companies provide some online access during the custom software development life cycle. In many cases, the client is provided with a login to preview the latest build of their project, and in a few cases they are even given access to a bug logging system, such as Bugzilla.
In our mind, it really comes down to transparency. Instead of just being able to preview the latest build, what if the client could actually look behind the curtain, and see how the software is being developed? We’re talking about letting the client be a partner in the process. Why would we want and need to do this?
The Benefits of Project Transparency
Today for most clients the development cycle is a black hole. Except for the project plans they are given, and occasional access to preview builds, the client really has no idea where the project is really at. Are we 50% complete? 75%? There is really no way to gauge it if the client is left out of the development loop. So the first benefit to project transparency is being able to accurately understand where you are in the development cycle. Lancera uses such software so our clients can track and visually see what milestones are being reached on their project.
But transparency brings other more striking benefits. If you can see what tasks the team is working on, review the latest internal project plan, read the latest technical documents, etc. don’t you think the team is more likely to be on their toes? If development knew the client was watching, they would try extra hard to get things right the first time, and avoid costly re-factoring transparency improves productivity and accountability. Isn’t that what we are all after?
Because we believe in transparency, we utilize an online project management software called Assembla. Our clients have 24/7 access to their project online, and the system is fast and intuitive. If they would like to review the latest project plan, everything is available online.