Posted by: ahmedashfaque | June 22, 2014

Business needs, end users and implementation team: the great disconnect

The devil is in communication disconnect. How true!

You have great plans, great project team, great customer and still the end result is project failure. It all boils down to communication disconnect among customer needs, end user needs and the project team. The managers at customer company want something. The end users want something and the project team understands these needs all too wrong.

The managers want good reports. The do not care how data is gathered for generating those reports. They just want the data to be accurate and it will be easy for them to generate the reports they need.

the end users generate all those data needed for managers. The end users want screens which are easy to use and input data and do their everyday transactions.

But due to either lack of understanding or implementing validations which are way too difficult, the project team fails to deliver the proper validations. This results in wrong data entering into the system. The project team is always fighting against time to deliver the project under very tight project schedule. So they always miss out on providing easy screen for end users. Their first priority is to deliver a working system which may not be easy to use. And even this working system proves to be an illusion due to the great communication disconnect.

Good documentation is a must for any project. In fact an effective communication is vital for any project. But communication gap persists due to misunderstanding among various stakeholders on the project. Even formal communication like sharing of project documents may raise some misunderstanding. The informal communication on a project raises more misunderstanding. The end result is that even though the end users and managers signed off the first draft of the requirement specifications, when they see some prototypes they are bound to come back for change requests because the project team misunderstood some of their requirements and thus had developed a wrong prototype.

When 2 people have been working for a long time then they understand each other perfectly. Each word spoken or not spoken is understood by the other person perfectly. But when you have to deal with an stranger then there are bound to be some misunderstandings when you communicate with each other. On a new project, the people from customer side are strangers to the project team and thus misunderstandings arise in communication with them.

the best way to deal with communication disconnect is to get approval from the customer for each and every requirement. then develop a prototype and show it to the customer. After correcting the wrong parts of the prototype, you are most likely to be off to a good project with least communication disconnect.

There is extra work involved on the project but it pays off handsomely.


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