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Collaborating with Multiple Development Teams

Collaborating with Multiple Development Teams

Does your company have an in-house development team that will engage with a Dynamics 365 Partner for your implementation?

Are you interfacing with multiple vendors’ development teams?

It is common for developers from different organizations to be accustomed to different operating principles, resulting in the following challenges during implementation:

  • Miscommunication or Absence of Communication
  • Inconsistent Governance
  • Lack of Consistency in Build

In today’s blog, we’ll discuss a few best practices for that seemingly inevitable scenario in which you and your organization are simultaneously partnering with multiple development teams. We’ll share tactics we’ve found successful in mitigating the challenges described above. They are recommended at the start of the project, but if you’re already knee-deep in it, remember that it’s never too late to call for a team reset.

Miscommunication or Absence of Communication

A Workflow Management Tool can remove most of the “guesswork” of communication and minimize failed handoffs between resources. Common software includes TFS (Azure DevOps), Jira, Rally, and Trello.

Not only does it bring visibility to prioritization and dependencies across team members, it can also show the overall health of a release based on status of Tasks beneath a Feature or Requirement.  Set expectations from the start about how tasks will be written and the frequency of updates. Be certain that everyone understands the meaning of each status as work progresses on a Task.

Determine the frequency and timing of team meetings, standups, and huddles.  The cadence for these will vary depending on each phase of your project.

Inconsistent Governance

Identify the various levels of decision-making authority within your project team and define when decisions should be escalated.  This also applies to which milestones or deliverables require signoff.

Develop documentation standards so expectations can be set appropriately within the team.

Create a Solution Management Plan at the start of the project. For example, outline how and by whom code will be pushed from Dev > QA > Test > Prod.

Lack of Consistency in Build

At the start of a project, discuss guiding principles and standards; share yours and allow your developers to share theirs. Discuss and resolve any conflicts upfront.

Set the stage for teamwork. Remind everyone that all involved are aiming for a common goal. Emphasize that the “blame game” is neither healthy nor helpful.  Resist the urge to point fingers when bugs arise - it's wasted energy and brings down team morale. Instead, all developers should be expected to eagerly jump in to help triage and resolve.

Recognize that problems will arise – they always do – and that they will be tackled as a team.  Discuss lessons learned from mistakes and quickly move on.

Start the team on the right foot by holding a kickoff meeting to cover the following:

  • Communication
  • Training on the Workflow Management Tool
  • Meeting Cadence / Status Reports
  • Source Code Management Approach
  • Testing Process
  • Documentation Standards, Define Terminology
  • Naming Conventions that will be followed
  • Solution Management Plan

The more of these practices you can instill, the healthier your work environment will be. Healthy teaming environments result in better ideas, more organic communication/collaboration, less frustration and blame, minimized rework, and improved productivity as a result of increased focus.

There’s no silver bullet to ensure flawless integration between the teams, but these tips will help to facilitate teamwork and an all-around better output.

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Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

By Joe D365
Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.

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