How to Help Your Software and Hardware Teams Become Friends
Even the most promising smart gadget can never enter the market in case there was a misunderstanding between its hardware and software teams. Don’t let this happen — check our tips to encourage your teams to become friends, establish flawless communication between them, and boost your device’s chances for success.
1. Let your teams work in parallel
Once we have said that it is important to design a smart gadget before designing a related app, as this trick can help to avoid extra expenses and other problems. This recommendation is still relevant, but when it comes directly to hardware and software development, we advise you to allow both teams to work in parallel.
If they work in turn and communicate with each other only after their part of the project seems to be done, you can easily miss your project’s deadline and go beyond your budget. What is much worse, the quality of the device can be poor. But if software and hardware teams work in parallel, the communication will be much more efficient — they will be able to combine their efforts and solve most issues as soon as they appear, while the product itself will get to the market faster.
Here is an example: both hardware and software teams develop their products up to a certain level, and then test them together. Then they move to the next stage, complete it, and test the results. And again, until the product will be ready. That’s much better than first finishing both smart gadget and app, and then trying to make them work in harmony.
2. Try sprint planning
Our second recommendation arises from the first one — sprint planning is exactly about dividing the entire project into smaller parts or so-called sprints. It will be easier for both teams to work on the project when knowing what exactly they should do and in what time frame. The only thing is that hardware development sometimes takes more time than the software one, so we recommend to combine short- and long-term planning.
3. Plan regular meetings
To make sure that there are no problems with sprints, plan regular meetings of your hardware and software teams — this trick will help you to combine efforts of your experts, make communication and cooperation between them as efficient as possible, and increase your product’s chances for success. Daily meetings (or at least web conferences in case teams are located in different cities or countries) allow sharing feedback, learning more about the product the teams are working on, and finding out if there are any issues to be solved. As a result, both hardware and software teams stay up-to-date on the project’s evolution, while you won’t spend extra money and time on dealing with suddenly popped up issues.
4. Create one product backlog for both teams
Software and hardware teams work on different parts of your project, but we still recommend you to create one backlog for them. This trick is essential for communication and transparency between both teams. Besides, it will be easier for you to align the roadmap, prioritize certain tasks, and manage the scope.
5. Use apps for instant communication
Daily meetings are crucial, but usually, they are not enough. To make sure both hardware and software teams can get in touch with each other in a blink of an eye, provide them with an instant messaging app, and make sure every team member has access to it. This tip is helpful in any case, but it is especially useful if your teams don’t share the same office.
We prefer Slack — it allows both group and private conversations. It is also possible to create threads there, so chats are not overloaded with messages, and it is always easy to find an essential piece of information. This feature differs Slack from other popular messengers, such as Telegram, Skype, and others.
By the way, it will be good to have a least two channels in Slack — one for serious things and the other one for that stuff which is not related to work. In this way, you will prevent your app from turning into a real message dump.
6. Make sure there are no problems with documentation
Documentation matters, especially when there are several teams working on the project. So, to improve cooperation and communication between your software and hardware teams, make sure that there are no issues with documentation. Here we are talking about team documentation — this includes teams schedules, project plans, meeting notes, etc. These documents will help every team member to stay on top and retrieve any important piece of information at any time. Keep this documentation simply and structured, and ensure it is available to both teams.
However, remember that it is better to entrust dealing with team documentation to, for instance, a project manager. Engineers are good at creating devices, but writing is not their strength. On the other hand, the software team can make these documents too specific and complicated, so they will be not very clear to the hardware team. That’s why it is better to put someone else in charge — someone, who doesn’t belong to any of the teams, but still knows everything about the project.
Software and hardware teams work on different, but interdependent things, and ensuring mutual understanding between them is crucial for your smart gadget’s future success. Besides, having no problems with communication allows faster production, which is especially important in case you have a strict deadline.
Now you know some useful tips and tricks on how to reach this level of communication and cooperation, but if you have any additional questions, we will be happy to help you. Just get in touch with us, and we will get back to you very soon!