Fostering Smart Collaboration in Digital Product Development

Infinum Alliance Director Željko Plesac appears in Agiledrop’s podcast to discuss the importance of communication for effective collaboration in digital product development projects.

In the fast-paced world of today, digital product development has become increasingly complex. The products are larger in scope and packed with features, project teams are bigger and more diversified, and continuous deployment dictates a dynamic development tempo.

Navigating these challenges and bringing projects to successful completion would be unimaginable without collaboration and effective communication.

The Director of Infinum Alliance Željko Plesac recently got the opportunity to present his views on these topics. Appearing as a guest on Agiledrop’s podcast, Željko shared his insights into common communication challenges that occur during digital product development and offered strategies to address them.

Communication as the basis of collaboration

With the rapid evolution of technology and project teams becoming more geographically dispersed and more diversified, communication has become more important than ever for successful collaboration.

In modern digital product development projects, the right information must be passed to the right people at the right time so that decisions can be made quickly and efficiently.

As Željko explained, this includes both communication on a horizontal level, between team members, and on a vertical level, between the project team and the stakeholders.

Successful collaboration is built on transparent and well-defined processes. It is the only way to enable teams to deliver the best possible products to the market.

Common collaboration challenges in digital product development projects

Speaking from more than a decade of experience, Željko highlighted several common challenges that can occur during digital product development.

For example, there is the question of cultural differences. In a global market, it is not uncommon for companies from different parts of the world to work together. This can bring about some cultural misalignment, and finding a way to bridge this gap is crucial for successful collaboration.

“I would even say that every company and every startup has its own culture,” Željko explained. “Two companies can collaborate on a project and deliver great value. However, if there’s a cultural misalignment, the product can be good and bring business value, but the development process will not run smoothly, and both sides will experience problems,” he concluded.

Further, transparency can be a challenge, especially in larger organizations. In vertical reporting structures, come information may fall into the cracks or be filtered out, leading to misunderstandings and hindered processes.

Addressing collaboration challenges

To address these challenges, managers and leaders should start with themselves, as Željko points out. When leadership takes the initiative and lead by example, they are fostering a culture of open communication throughout the organization.

Any changes should be communicated transparently and directly; information must be shared, and issues addressed honestly. In this type of environment, trust and collaboration flourish.

Further, clearly defined processes are also essential for successful collaboration. While some may see processes as limiting, they are necessary for scaling companies and ensuring everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. Such processes enable effective reporting and decision-making, even as companies grow.

A growing number of people calls for introducing more and more processes. This can slow down decision-making and require investing more effort, time, and money to respond to market changes.

With a large number of people involved in a project, reporting is essential for connecting all the different layers, from the management to the developers. However, reporting must be done transparently and honestly, without covering up problems or presenting an overly positive picture. This ensures that decisions are made based on accurate data and helps prevent major setbacks in the project.

Role of product management tools

Product management tools are a big help in addressing the challenges described above. With changing working environments, project teams rarely share the same space as they did ten or fifteen years ago. In these circumstances, product management tools are a valuable asset that helps in team leadership and resolving problems.

By providing constant access to information, these types of tools increase visibility, help with accountability, and support fast and informed decision-making. With more people collaborating on a digital product, it becomes easier to hide behind somebody instead of taking ownership.

Product management tools like Productive help with accountability – you can immediately pinpoint what is happening where. Complete transparency enables you to act quickly.

Effective collaboration is essential

In the dynamic landscape of digital product development, effective collaboration is essential. It relies on clear communication, understanding cultural differences, and promoting transparency.

By fostering a collaborative culture and establishing well-defined processes, companies can overcome challenges and deliver successful products to the market. Emphasizing transparent reporting and decision-making further strengthens collaboration and helps teams align with the product vision.

As digital product development continues to evolve, embracing effective collaboration will be paramount for success.

If you’d like to hear Željko talk more about solving collaboration challenges, check the full podcast episode at