Communications in a Software Development Company
We were called in by a small software company. Communication between departments was virtually non-existent: engineering had no idea what marketing was promising, marketing, documentation, and QA had no idea what features engineering was implementing, bugs were not being recorded and passed from Tech Support to engineering, and engineering put out releases on what appeared to be a completely random schedule. Employees regularly complained about spending several hours in meetings attempting to figure out what was going on. Customers were growing frustrated with the software and general lack of organization and were switching to competing products.
We worked with management to clearly define the business results they wanted to obtain and communicate those results to the employees. Each department was shown how it fit into the larger picture. We prioritized product features and helped management develop a bug tracking and scheduling process that enabled each department to know what features were being implemented when, and when bugs would be fixed. This information was communicated to the customers. We worked with employees to develop informal methods of communicating the status of their responsibilities.
Productivity increased as the time spent in unproductive meetings declined dramatically. The quality of the product improved immensely, and significantly less time was spent on failure work and last-minute crises. Sales growth increased sharply, and many customers who had been considering other products returned to the company.