Client’s participation in a software development project

The article is a part of Code Inspiration’s software development outsourcing Knowledge Base.

When a customer and a software development company agree to develop some software, they sign a contract and the process of software development itself starts. Does it mean that a client can take a seat and relax, waiting for the moment when the software is released? Let’s figure it out. 

Basic recommendations for a client

Well, when a company develops a software, some activity from the customer is expected and, actually, required. Aspect number 1 here is a communication with a software development company. In fact, today software development means building a complex product(s), which consists of multiple important details. So a client is expected to answer developers’ questions related to his business, to ensure the business strategy of the client goes along with software development strategy.

One more aspect is, surely, following the payment schedule indicated in the agreement. Usually, a software development company has a right to stop the work in case the payment was not received, so make sure you pay in full and on time. Otherwise the company will postpone developing software and, respectively, its release.

Particular cases

Client-company interaction within Time and Material model of work

Let’s have a look at some particular cases. Depending on the working model, the client’s role varies. When a Time and Material contract is signed, a client is expected to take part in the development process. It basically means that a client communicates with a manager and they both:

  • define the scope of the sprint
  • discuss the results of the past sprint
  • update the development strategy when necessary

That’s why, actually, Time and Material is considered to be the best working model when the development is ongoing and no fixed scope was formed, business needs are constantly updated for a client – the reason is that a client is able to participate in the process, updating the development strategy according to the business needs. By the way, this model of work is popular enough among early-stage startups.

Client-company interaction within Fixed Time model of work

According to the Fixed price contract a client and a software development company agree on a certain scope of work, timeline for completion and exact budget. The idea of this model of work is that the agreed scope of work, timeline and budget remain unchangeable until the software development company completes the project. 
So, in case of the Fixed Price project, an active client-company communication takes place at the beginning of the project to understand the scope, carry out requirements engineering activities. After the scope is clear and a software development company begins software development, a client is still expected to take part, accepting the results of work after the end of each reporting period. 

Dedicated team model and client-company interaction

Well, the client’s role here may vary. For instance, a client or a client’s representative may manage the dedicated software development team directly, assigning tasks, getting reports and making daily/weekly calls. There is another case, when a dedicated team is managed by a company-executor’s manager(s). This also means client’s active participation because a software development company’s manager will deliver the results of work to a Product owner from the client’s side. Usually a manager generates a written report of the works performed and sends it to a client, then they jump on the call and discuss the achieved progress. 

Final thoughts

To sum up, a client is always considered to be a part of a software development process. His participation does not end after he transferred the requirements to a development company’s business analyst. So, to ensure successful result of software development, an active client-company interaction during a software development project is required

The article is a part of Code Inspiration’s software development outsourcing Knowledge Base.