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How software engineers can better collaborate with business stakeholders

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Software engineering is an in-demand field due to the increasing number of businesses and the advancement of technologies. Many businesses benefit from custom software that suits their business needs precisely. Custom software can save time and money by keeping processes streamlined and making information easy to access. 

Software engineers provide a valuable service by helping businesses pinpoint their needs and goals and creating software solutions that help them achieve these goals. Collaborating with business stakeholders at every step of the process is important as it makes it far easier to achieve the desired results and avoid wasted time.

Here are a few of the ways that software engineers can collaborate effectively with business stakeholders to ensure that goals are met.

Implement a great communication system 

Regularly communicating plans is important in any business and client relationship. Lack of communication accounts for a staggering number of mistakes that, at the very least, slow down a project and result in it costing more money to get the expected results.

Email, text or logging into a company platform on Slack, AirTable or another platform designed for organization and communication is helpful. When numerous people are working on a project, the advantages of using Slack Workplace or a similar platform are significant. For starters, messages can be sent to an entire team or a single individual at any time. 

Files can be shared, and information on a project can be updated in real-time, so there is less chance of missed communications. In addition, these workspaces can be used on smartphones and tablets, so teams can stay in constant communication if something important arises during the course of the project.

A shared understanding of goals

Establishing goals at the very beginning of any project is essential. Software engineers must make sure that clients are completely open and honest about their goals so they can first determine if they are realistic or not and, if not, help them create a plan that comes as close as possible to meet their vision.

Include stakeholders in the planning process

Having stakeholders involved with the planning process helps ensure that no one feels left out and increases the likelihood that there is a satisfactory result. Early involvement decreases the odds that a stakeholder will alter the goal further along in the process of developing the software.

If stakeholders seem reluctant to meet as often as a software engineering team would like, it is a good idea to explain why regular meetings are important and find a way to make them easier. Stakeholders may prefer virtual meetings, thanks to their convenience. Recording meetings so that they can be reviewed by attendees later or viewed by those who are unable to attend is an excellent idea that helps keep everyone informed and allows for input.

Regular prototypes allow for improvements along the way

Testing out software thoroughly as each part is developed is smart. By testing, you can work out problems before they cause trouble for a business and its customers. Feedback allows for improvements that can make all the difference in the final product. Having employees test out new software ahead of time allows managers to get an idea of how the software will work during the average business day.

Showing stakeholders regular prototypes helps to establish trust and comfort. Software development can be a large expense for any company, no matter what size they may be. A lot of their business may be entirely reliant on having great software developed to support their business plan.

Workshops and training

When implementing any new software solution, it is important to offer employees thorough training. Employees must be provided with sufficient time to learn how to use software competently before using it for any important data or projects. Thorough training helps reduce mistakes and frustration while supporting more seamless business operations. 

Neglecting orientation and training never pays off. Even a single mistake due to a lack of training can cost a business a lot of time and money. It’s important to remember that people rely on reviews extensively, so the effects of one bad experience can resonate more than you might anticipate.

Software engineering firms usually offer training as part of their services. It is best to ensure this is always included in any quotes or bids for a particular project. Providing support and training makes it far more likely that your firm will be recommended to others or used again when a business has future software needs.

A digital world means increasing demand 

If a business is going to be successful, they need computer science professionals for many different tasks. Software engineers, in particular, are needed to ensure that businesses run smoothly and to keep innovation flowing. If this is a field that you are interested in working in, a Software Engineering Master’s degree from a reputable institution such as Baylor University provides a solid foundation to get your career off the ground. 

Completed entirely online, students with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics or a related field who are proficient in at least one major computer programming language can enroll in Baylor University’s Online Master of Computer Science – Software Engineering program. This can take their career to the next level in as little as 18 months. Students in this program study topics such as the use of artificial intelligence, software engineering and software validation.

Business in the digital age

Software engineering is critical to conducting business in the digital age. Working with a software engineer to create custom software is often one of the smartest business decisions a company can make.

Computer science is an in-demand field that is expected to continue to rise in demand over the next decade, making now an excellent time to consider an advanced degree in a computer science field.

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