Software estimation is no longer a solitary activity - as more organizations continue to move away from silo-driven development methodologies, the role of collaboration becomes increasingly essential. Organizations may have estimation experts within their companies, but there’s now a huge push towards bringing all stakeholders together throughout the estimation process. This movement is largely due to an increasingly-apparent correlation between collaboration and successful estimation.
When estimation experts create an environment of continuous collaboration between all stakeholders - from the technical to business level - estimation accuracy improves and expectations overall are better aligned across every stage of the software development lifecycle. That being said, it is critical that organizations establish an effective system for collaboration that appeals to all stakeholders.
To enable quality collaboration, organizations need to implement a system that supports intelligence sharing and communication for both the technically-focused users and the non-technical, business owners. There are a few critical requirements organizations should consider when creating their collaboration system or choosing from already available tools: accessibility, workflow capabilities, and the ability to integrate with third-party applications.
Because the collaboration platform needs to appeal to a variety of different stakeholders, web-based access is critical. C-suite level users don’t want to sift through the granular details of software development to get the answers they need, and external users shouldn’t have to go through a team member to take part in the collaboration process - thus, a web-based application, designed with the end user in mind, is key.
Software estimates are frequently developed with input from multiple individuals, so it’s especially important to have a system that tracks the changes throughout the estimation process and is able to notify the relevant stakeholders when subsequent action is needed.
Integration with Third-Party Applications
Without the ability to integrate the collaboration tool with other applications such as portfolio management tools, back-office users end up wasting hours manually re-entering the data from the collaboration tool into other applications. Furthermore, integration ensures that the customer’s portfolio of projects is based on accurate estimation data.
We all recognize the benefits of collaboration in software project development; creating a mindset of collaboration throughout the estimation process is a logical next step for those who want to implement success from the start. There are a number of collaboration tools that organizations can easily implement, just be sure your system of choice - at the bare minimum - fulfills the requirements above. We’re of course partial to SLIM-Collaborate 3.0, which was recently upgraded February 21st. You can find more information about SLIM-Collaborate here, or feel free to reach out if I can answer any questions.