Monday, December 21, 2009

Enabling Team Collaboration with Discussion Forums

Teams keen on improving team communication and collaboration can utilize discussion forums to ensure all team members are communicated with. This newsletter discusses:

  • Improving requirements via discussion forums
  • Improving coding via discussion forums
  • Documenting retrospectives via discussion forums
  • Where to find discussion forum tools

Improving Requirements via Discussion Forums
Software projects can be completed more quickly by collecting solid requirements because re-work can be minimized. A key to collecting solid requirements is to have all stakeholder review the requirements. Stakeholders includes product management, project management, programming and quality assurance team members. Once a requirement is created and ready for review, use discussion forums to communicate this to the stakeholders.

As the stakeholders review the requirement, they can post their comments, questions, and concerns via the discussion forum. Things stakeholders should look for when reviewing requirements are completeness, correctness, adherence to your existing architecture, and testability. By keeping these discussions in a discussion forum, everyone is involved in the discussions and a complete history of questions, issues and answers are documented for later review. Below is an example of someone asking a clarifying question about a requirement and another team member providing guidance:

Improving Coding via Discussion Forums
When in the coding phase, it is wise to create a discussion forum for the release you are working on. Teams can use discussion forums to ask clarifying questions regarding requirements and test cases. Teams can also post a brief summary each day with their status. This can include a short description of code modules affected in each day's coding effort, defects fixed, etc. Below is an example that shows that the developer is posting his status for the day, identifying code modules changed and defects fixed:

Documenting Retrospectives via Discussion Forums
Once a software project is completed, it is important to document what went right and what went wrong with the project -- this is called a retrospective. Below is an example of a retrospective that was posted via a discussion forum:

Where to find Discussion Forum Tools
The screen shots above were from Software Planner ( If you would like to see how Software Planner's discussion forum tool works, navigate to If you wish to find free discussion forums, here are a few:

1. Google Groups -
2. Yuku -
3. My Free Forum -

Helpful Templates
Below are some helpful templates to aid you in developing software solutions on-time and on-budget:


  1. Manual processes of attending projects can create major problems sometimes due to lack of accuracy. In web based Project Management Software, all the errors can be removed easily and apart from that you can track and record all of your jobs. Even companies can customize project management software as per their requirements.

  2. The other reason a project manager would be a good idea is clear to anyone who had been following the Moodle 2.0 development, which still has a long way to go until it is finished.Project Management Software
    Someone with more time than Martin has to ride herd on the process can only help us get 2.0 out of the door.