5 Tools for Managing Client Feedback Loops in Software Development
Clear client and developer communication plays a key role in modern software development. This is especially true during rapid application development when feedback loops are used to ensure that application capabilities meet client expectations.
Here, we’ll look at some of the best collaboration tools developers can use to get client feedback, and immediately feed insights back into the development process.
What are Feedback Loops?
In agile and rapid application development, feedback loops help shorten development cycles.
During each development sprint, feedback loops between developers and project owners ensure that software goals stay in-line with end-customer expectations. Feedback loops, therefore, eliminate the risk of application development needing to start over, due to project owners not being happy with final deliveries.
Forecast – Built for Streamlining Software Client Relationships
Forecast is widely considered one of the best collaboration tools for software developers and software project owners.
Focusing on day-to-day project management, Forecast pairs an all-in-one product management platform and roadmap tool, with an intuitive client portal. AI monitoring also gives project managers and clients a heads-up when projects and development sprints look set to overrun deadlines.
To facilitate flawless communication between clients and software developers, everyone involved in projects can use virtual task cards to comment on the status of development sprints. Forecast also makes it easy to share files and see everything related to ongoing development sprints, including secondary subtasks.
Hibox - The Best Collaboration Tool for Virtual Meetings
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, video conferencing apps like Zoom have become a vital part of the so-called new normal for many businesses. With apps like Zoom, businesses can host virtual meetings, conferences, and even live events. However, apps like Zoom aren’t suitable for use as standalone collaboration tools.
Thankfully, apps like Hilbox exist which pair Zoom-like chatting and video conferencing, with a variety of intuitive project management tools.
Using Hilbox, software project owners can video conference with software development teams in real-time. Users can also share files and track the progress of specific project tasks in real-time. This makes it easy for project owners to submit initial project requirements to developers. More importantly, this allows developers to manage client feedback loops easily during application development.
Basecamp - The Go-To Tool for Managing Feedback Loops
Basecamp is one of the most tried and tested collaboration tools currently on the market.
First launching in 2004, why software developers and clients love Basecamp is simple. When using Basecamp, developers and clients have access to easy to organize project discussion threads. Clients can also search threads, post notes, and instantly review project deliverables.
After reviewing project deliverables in Basecamp, clients can leave comments and start feature related discussions with developers. This allows developers to instantly get to work closing feedback loops in preparation for the next development sprint.
GitHub Desktop - One of The Best Collaboration Tools for Software Clients
GitHub is the leading tool used by software developers to store project source code. This is thanks to the fact that GitHub makes it easy for disparate developer teams to collaborate on software projects. However, using GitHub can involve a steep learning curve for software clients.
Thankfully, GitHub Desktop makes using GitHub to communicate with developers and review development sprints, easier for software clients.
At it’s most basic, GitHub Desktop takes the form of a free graphical user interface where developers and software clients can visualize and track project workflow. However, GitHub Desktop does not include collaborative tools like in-built video conferencing. This being the case, clients and developers who use GitHub, often also use other collaborative tools like Skype and Zoom.
Like Basecamp and GitHub, Slack is an industry leader when it comes to intuitive collaboration tools. Now in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has also seen the launch of Slack Connect.
At its core, Slack Connect makes it easier than ever for software clients to communicate with developers. More importantly, as a secure, enterprise-ready collaboration tool, Slack Connect is capable of helping manage communication flawlessly between up to 20 different organizations in any one Slack communication channel.
Using Slack Connect, software developers can close feedback loops quickly, by communicating with clients as easily as in-house employees. At the same time, developers can discuss software features with other stakeholders like business sales and marketing teams.
Free Collaboration Tools vs Paid Collaboration Tools and Resources
All of the collaboration tools in our above list are able to streamline communication between software developers, clients, and others with a stake in the delivery of new software products. However, most will require clients to learn how to use each platform. Most are also available only as paid resources.
Thankfully, it is possible for software clients to use free apps like Skype to communicate feedback to developers. File sharing is also possible using apps like Google Drive. However, to close feedback loops quickly, it usually pays to use single collaboration tools like Slack to help communication flow more fluidly.