6 Key Learnings in 6 Days of Client visit

Recently one of our developers, Nilam flew to San Anselmo, California all the way from Pune, India to visit a client for whom she has been working for more than a year. It was going to be a short visit of 5 days. In those 5 days, her mission was to explore the project from all angles and get insights from their team.

This in-person meeting was planned considering the near launch of the new phase. The idea was to create a road-map by streamlining all the processes and tasks which would lay a foundation for the next development phase.

As she learnt so many things from this visit, we asked her to share major insights with her fellow developers.

Following are the key takeaways from Nilam’s onsite visit, in her own words -

  1. I Got to really know the project — 
    Well, I worked on the project for almost a year but never really got a chance to know it’s history and birth story. This visit provided me a chance to understand the project from client’s perspective. Their expectations, business goals and objectives became crystal clear to me. This helped us define the development direction for next 1 year.

2. Bridged the communication gap —
This is a huge one. Though communications happen effectively over mails and other online tools, it takes much more time and plenty of email exchanges to fix on things. This visit took the communication gap out of the picture. This was crucial especially when the new phase was about to be launched. Decisions which were taking hundreds of email exchanges got sorted over 5mins of discussions over coffee.

3. We got to know each other
Well, Mark always seems a bit rude on daily calls. Is he really rude? It turned out he’s not ! I realized that he is a great person when I met him. We never really got a chance to know each other personally before. During the course of 5 days, thoughts were exchanged, interests were learned, not just professional but on a personal level. This turned us into ‘friends’ from just a ‘client’ and a ‘developer’.

4. Understood the importance of cultural factor
Well, it’s quite obvious that people from two different countries will have different cultural influences. I personally believe that a project should reflect the culture of the target audience and it’s parent company as well. By spending 5 days with the client, I tried to grasp their culture and inculcate that into the product. Not just the social culture but the technological culture as well.

5. Got the major work done —
In those 5 days, I understood more about the project than I did in the past year. Combinedly, we defined a clear path for the next year. We fixed the actual flow of the app & it’s functionalities, sorted all the screens function wise, made a roadmap for upcoming sprints along with deadlines, assigned JIRA tasks to team members, created user stories and defined time estimations for all the activities. At the end, the complete activity flow was ready for the next phase.

6. Work can be fun too — 
I will not remember this visit as a mundane work tour. Instead, it will be remembered as a fun trip which got me new friends for life and made work more fun for me than it already was.

I have already made plans for the next year :)

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