Gone are the days when project success used to be defined on criteria like delivering the pre-approved feature set within the set deadline and meeting the budget requirements. In this era of digital revolution project success depends on ‘agility’, i.e. the overall capability to deliver value in a context of constant change, evolution, innovation, improvement and re-invention.
To facilitate agility, early and often feedback is vital. Early feedback lets you fail quickly and educates you on what actually the client wants, in an early phase of product development.
Thus, making you fix your mistakes when they are cheap. Let’s discuss in detail what early and regular feedback brings onboard.
Identify gaps in your understanding of requirements
As Joshua Davidson states “We collaborate with clients heavily during the discovery phase of the project. Our job is to get them to break down everything that they would like to build. Tell us everything they visualize for the product. We help them connect the dots and articulate specifics.
That way there’s no frustration later for our clients or our programming team.”
If you are developing something that the client does not want, then it’s quite obvious that there is a disconnect. Filing in these gaps is crucial in early phases of development lifecycle.
As the project progresses it gets more and more difficult to update features and flow of data. As the deadline approaches the pressure builds up and doing major strategic changes can lead to an unwanted mess.Structural and database level changes in later phases are complex and lethal.
Define the personas better
Personas are fictitious, representative users that are defined based on the research conducted with real users and the knowledge gained. Personas guide you with online behaviour of real users making you recognise the goals and motivation of your end users.
Clients are the stand-ins for actual users during the development phase. Feedback from clients reflects the expectations of real users that adds to your knowledge and research about end users and assist you take better informed decisions while defining personas.
Identify influencers and decision makers
Feedback from client side in ideation and discovery phase gets you a broad idea of whose vision leads the trails of ideas and comments coming in. This lets you spot the key influencers who can share meaningful insights to take the project in the right direction. A thumb up from such decision makers in the later stages gives you the confidence to move on without wasting time in waiting for inputs from one and all.
Speeds up development and execution
Initially looping in feedback at early stages might appear as a time consuming activity. But it’s worth spending an extra day to wait for client’s feedback during early development sprints. As it clears any ambiguity regarding requirements and target audience. This clarity boosts your confidence and fosters speedy development in later phases.
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This ensures in time project delivery, keeping context with innovation and evolution.
Transparency and Visibility
The clients are like your extended team. And a team collaborates efficiently when all team members are on the same page in each bit of time. Keeping clients in loop right from the beginning keeps them better informed and updated. When all the project progress can be seamlessly accessed by clients and team members alike. It fosters client’s trust and confidence in you. Thus laying the foundation for long-term relations.
Consistency and Simplicity
Be it a website, a web app or any other project, it needs to be consistent in terms of design (font, color scheme, templates, etc.), research and procedure. Designers and developers can easily get overwhelmed and may provide users with multiple options and interactive elements. But this might add on to the complexity resulting in inconsistency. Regular feedback right from the beginning keeps a check on this. Simple and consistent UI leads to best User experiences.
Improve and improvise
Create and improvise is what agile methodologies recommend. Quickly build features and get them tested. The feedback from QA team and clients makes you identify what can be improved and how it can be improved and also why it needs to be improved. Knowing the why behind is crucial as it motivates you to improve and visualize expectations. The early you know what is to be reworked upon the better it is. As your research and thought chain is still fresh and breathing. Once you lose context you have to start over again. That is highly undesirable.
Constant client feedback from the ideation phase lets you stick to the end goals without any deviation. Thus, the deliverables are ready in time, with minimal rework and wasted efforts. Moreover, you are never stuck in the vicious circle of delayed or denied client approvals.
The flow of information is smooth and consistent. You can opt for any medium to get feedback from your clients (emails, design feedback tools, collaboration tools, etc.). Whatever works best for you as well as your client. What matters, in the end, is you get right feedback in right time.