Navigating the Dynamics of an External Team Collaboration

By admin
As a frontend developer, the majority of my work revolves around

JavaScript
ORG

and

TypeScript
ORG

. However, recently I had the opportunity to collaborate with a backend team from another company that predominantly worked with

Python
ORG

. This collaboration presented its fair share of challenges, as described in our post titled SVG Gradients: Solving Curved Challenges, but it also provided invaluable insights and learnings.

From my post: SVG Gradients: Solving Curved Challenges

Here I share my experiences and lessons learned while working as part of an external team, highlighting the importance of effective communication and the power of mutual learning.

Communication Challenges


One
CARDINAL

of the initial hurdles we faced was communication. Our respective companies had adopted different meeting structures and communication tools, which initially seemed inconsequential. However, as we progressed, it became evident that the constant switching between email,

Slack,
ORG


Jira
ORG

, and

Microsoft Teams
ORG

was causing important messages to get lost.

Recognising the need for streamlined communication, we decided to collaborate with the external development team and our project manager to simplify our processes. After thorough discussions, we made a couple of key changes:

We reduced the number of meetings to

one
CARDINAL


daily
DATE

standup on

Microsoft Teams
ORG

, providing a central platform for team updates.

We agreed to log all meeting notes in

Jira
ORG

, ensuring a centralised source of truth for technical requirements.

These adjustments significantly reduced interruptions and distractions, allowing us to focus more on our tasks and tickets.

Overcoming Technical Differences

Another significant challenge we encountered was the technical disparity between our frontend team’s use of

TypeScript
ORG

and the backend team’s reliance on

Python
ORG

. Building a type-safe API became more complex due to this divide.

To alleviate this challenge, I took the initiative to learn MongoDB, a popular non-relational database frequently used by the backend team. Given that MongoDB generates JSON, my transition from

JavaScript
ORG

to this database was relatively seamless. I was fortunate to have experienced backend developers at my disposal, who provided guidance and directed me to valuable online resources. These resources accelerated my learning process, saving considerable time.

Armed with a better understanding of MongoDB, I was able to actively contribute to the

API
ORG

design and development process. My knowledge of how MongoDB structures its data, particularly its practice of embedding documents, allowed me to create

TypeScript
ORG

interfaces and type definitions that aligned accurately with the backend requirements. This harmonisation resulted in fewer changes required for the

API
ORG

, leading to increased efficiency and satisfaction for the backend team.

From the post:

5
CARDINAL

Ways to learn

Mongo DB Starter Kit
FAC

article

Embracing

Cross-Company Collaboration

Working
ORG

with a backend team from another company undoubtedly posed

challenges, but it proved to be a remarkably rewarding journey. By embracing the opportunity to acquire new skills and align methodologies, we successfully bridged the gap between our teams. This collaboration demonstrates that, with the right approach, cross-company partnerships can enhance productivity rather than hinder it.

Our commitment to effective communication, along with a shared willingness to learn from one another, brought us closer together and ultimately contributed to the project’s success.

In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, working with external teams provides valuable opportunities for growth and knowledge exchange. By embracing these experiences, we expand our horizons, deepen our skill sets, and forge meaningful connections that transcend organisational boundaries.