Reading the State of Client Collaboration in Development & Design Survey Report, a survey of approximately 1000 web development companies across the globe and industries, provided some interesting insights on client communication and collaboration. It struck me that this space is evolving gradually, but it seems it’s still suffering from fundamental issues.
Client collaboration changes
The survey not only highlights how client collaboration and communication has changed over the years, but also stresses how much it still needs to change.
Full report available
You can download the 2016-Client-Collaboration-Survey-Report
I’ll provide a digest of the details of the report in case you do not have time to read the full report.
Geography is no longer a limiting factor, clients are making choices for web development partners based on raft of other factors which include relevant Industry Experience (69%) and Referrals (64%). Price based on a geographic location is no longer a differentiating factor. Most customers have learned their lessons from cheap outsourcing and are now focusing their selection criteria on value provision.
Focus on Agile & Scrum
It seems the survey tended to focus on how web development companies work and which methodologies they implement. It seems that 2016 is the year that web development companies are due to embrace Agile and Lean principles, with the Scrum framework becoming the industries de facto choice.
There seems to be a tendency for web development teams to offer weekly or monthly retainer based work. Transitioning away from hourly engagements to ongoing collaborations. This is a clear signal that the industry has finally realised that web & mobile projects are never “finished” and there is always that new feature required.
Challenges of scope creep and client communication
The key driver for long-term relationships is partly due to the fact that, client priorities clearly change, which immediately effects the scope of the work.
Need for improved collaboration tools
Although Slack promised an end to email, 41% of web development companies still choose email as their main method of communication with clients. Skype is also still a dominate player for VOIP interaction.
It seems the industry is now grappling with how to integrate the various different work management tools and issue tracking tools together i.e. JIRA, Rally, Github etc. In order to effectively communicate and provide transparency. The argument that all consultancies and customer should use one tool does not hold well, in that most organisations manage their workloads differently and often revolve around their tool of choice.
Synchronizing the data between these different toolsets becomes a viable options. This is where a tool like Tasktop Sync definitely has a lot to offer in this space in terms of simplifying the integration points, but it may take time for the web development industry to realise.
Reading reports like this does offer some unique insights into this ever changing industry. It was surprising to find out that an industry that has evolved to improve customer collaboration is now suffering from exactly the same issues .