Have you ever worked with developers in other departments and constantly felt frustrated because they talk to you in alien language or don’t do exactly what you told them to? In the exciting fast-paced world of technology startups, communication failures between different departments can spell disaster. Well, sometimes we blame that it’s because developers’ communication skills are below average, or there is a huge gap between developers and non-developers way of communicating. But is that true?
Let’s dive in the realm of communication and see how to prevent company initiatives from becoming lost in translation.
The Importance of Good Communication
Stakeholders, project managers, and developers work in very different realms. So one of the keys to a successful project is good communication. Be it a requirement, document, tickets, technical stuff… everything must be communicated clearly and effectively.
Developers are often being known for being quiet and more introvert. They rely on other stakeholders for the communication process, this is where the challenge comes in. Often, non-developers won’t necessarily know or take for granted “obvious” information that developers may not be aware of, adding complexity and mutual frustrations to a project – which ultimately reads as cost. Apart from that, what do we really mean when we talk about communication? Communicating is an exchange of information between parties, be it people, or project management tools. From video conferences to GitHub notifications, these are all part of the project communication landscape and require different levels of attention.
Why There is a Communication Breakdown between Developers and Non-developers?
Communicating can be a challenge. Communicating with software developers can be even more of a challenge. All developers are human. Developers can feel lazy, they can misunderstand what others are trying to say. And they can miss small changes that can turn a difficult feature into a trivial one.
How to Improve and Avoid Communication Breakdown?
Poor communication with developers can be costly, here’s how we can do it better. Both developers and non-developers can change their approach to these conversations to avoid this type of communication breakdown and improve the quality of their decisions.
To determine a better-communicating strategy, it is important to consider the situation. What are each person’s goals in the conversation? And what does each person bring to the conversation? Often, the developers seek information and feedback from the non-developers. Meanwhile, non-developers tend to require an immediate response from the other parties. This scope difference is a major source of communicating problems between developers and non-developers.
Why talking might not be the easiest way to communicate with software developers, you can try to use other means such as:
- Wiki, documentation
All these types of communication serve a unique role. We wouldn’t use them if they weren’t helpful, but the question we really should be asking is, “are they necessary?” Gone unchecked, many of these tools can overrun each other and tangle the workflow. This communication is most of the time done by writing, which, in some cases, can result in a few misinterpretations even between good communicators.
In my next blog, I will share some of the tips to rescue a communication breakdown. Stay tuned!