Publication Date: 3/5/2009 3:55:36 PM
Do you find it hard to talk to programmers (or techies in general)? I once knew a programmer who would get a dazed look whenever someone brought him a problem. We called it that “deer in the headlights” face, and it was disconcerting. It turns out that he wasn’t bored or terrified, he was thinking. And because he was thinking, he wasn’t speaking. Once we understood what was really going on, it made it a lot easier to communicate with him.
Here are three tips for better communication with that alien life form, the software developer.
Focus on goals and objectives
Often a customer will tell me to “add a delete button to the customer form” (or a similar task), and occasionally they are right. But sometimes they haven’t fully thought through the implications of what they are trying to achieve. So instead of suggesting the solution, try to describe the problem and/or the goal. For example, instead of suggesting we need to add a new button, try explaining that you need a way to remove customers from selection lists if they are not active. From that you can explore with the programmer the best approach, be it a delete button or some other method of de-activating customers.
Be specific and concrete
Programmers live in the details. There is a huge difference between saying “the system needs to handle discounts” and “the system needs to handle flat fee discounts AND percentage discounts AND volume discounts”. It definitely makes a difference in how the programmer will be thinking about the rest of the conversation, so try to be as specific as possible.
Repeat what you heard
As with all communication what I thought I said may not line up with what you thought you heard. I find that if I repeat back my understanding of what the other person said, it helps to suss out any misunderstandings.
Think like a geek
Your URL (optional):
Type the code shown
Top 5 Programmers to Avoid
What everyone should know about bugs
How to tell if an estimate sucks
The Secret to Building a Crappy User Interface
The Problem with Selecting the Lowest Bidder
5 Ways to Control Software Development Costs
Avonelle is a talented expert in her field. She has blended well with our team and built applications that we are proud to deploy to our associates. Her talents helped us execute a vision expediently and with quality. If we could do it all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing.
Peter Edstrom @ Renewal by Andersen
Copyright © 2013 Avonelle Lovhaug. All Rights Reserved.
Sitefinity ASP.NET CMS