Monthly Archives: August 2011

Developers can be good communicators

As developers, we can often find it difficult to express compelling arguments to managers, colleagues in other departments and business leaders. This challenge is not insurmountable.

To communicate effectively, we developers (like everyone else) must address the needs of our audience.

Firstly, we need to identify our audience. Who are they? What do they already know? What is their concern with our current subject?

Secondly, we need to determine their degree of engagement with our subject. The ACCA framework is useful for this:

Thirdly, we need to answer a question that they have. To do this, we must direct them to an appropriate question that we can answer. Only then can we answer that question (and not anything else!). The Barbara Minto Pyrmaid Principle describes this in detail.

All too often, we ask our audience to commit to some action before they understand there is a problem, or else answer a question that they are not asking. We can become good communicators. If we are unable to communicate effectively it is our fault (mostly!). Will we become good communicators? Will you?