How to communicate efficiently with developers?

How to communicate efficiently with developers?

Boulama K. | Otimbi Labs
12 Apr 2021

Working well with developers is essential for a quality service. However, collaboration is not always easy: here are some tips to improve the relationship between professionals!

1. Make sure you share the same vision

At first glance, communicating with developers is not an obvious activity. You don't speak the same language. They raise technical questions that often go beyond your understanding, while you are focused on the user and his or her uses.

To work together, it's not about what separates you, but rather what brings you together. As a client, it is your responsibility to share your vision with the developers on your team. If you share the same values, you will more easily put aside your differences to work together for a common goal.

2. Be clear about what you want from developers

If there is a communication problem between clients and developers, it often comes from the former. Indeed, when you work on a project with developers, you yourself must have a clear idea of what you want.

You may not speak the same language, but a good developer is usually able to translate your requests in real-time. But your requirements must make sense and be specific enough.

But many clients come up with ideas that are too superficial. And as soon as the developer makes assumptions or objections, they don't have enough information to provide answers. Of course, there are technical issues you don't understand, but before you submit it to the developer, you should still have analyzed your project from all angles.

3. Formalize your requests

Putting your requirements on paper may not be the most exciting activity, but it is absolutely necessary. Formalizing your requirements to the developers will force you to detail the goals you are trying to achieve and how you design the user journey.

Writing will allow you to identify the main functionalities of your project and their articulation. You will also be able to emphasize the sensitive points that will require the developer's expertise. From a more global point of view, formalizing your project will help you evaluate its feasibility. And to anticipate the developers' objections in order to enrich your exchanges.

4. If you don't know, don't assume

There's nothing worse to a developer than to hear a non-specialist like you say, in a peremptory way: "We should do this, like this. It's a matter of 2 or 3 hours of work".

Maybe it will only take a few minutes. But maybe it will take long weeks of work. It may even be that your request is not feasible. You don't know that. And, if you did know, you wouldn't need the services of a developer.

In short, when you don't know, don't get ahead of yourself, and don't be a smartass. Developers hate that. Review the application together. And use their expert advice to set a realistic deadline.

5. Stay in control of your project

Once you've communicated your requests to the developers and agreed on a reasonable date of delivery, agree on a provisional schedule. And continue to monitor the project. Of course, you must listen to their feedback on the progress of operations and any difficulties that may arise. In this case, it is up to you to be clear and to take your responsibilities if you have to make a decision.

But, whatever happens, you must not let yourself be overwhelmed by the developers. They are not the ones who dictate the progress of the project. Both psychologically and practically, you need to stay in control. Code is not the goal. The role of the developers is to find technical solutions to achieve the goals you have set. So, code, yes... but only for the benefit of the end-user.

Do you work in a team with developers? Don't panic. Even if you don't speak the same language, you are complementary. And you can work in harmony if you share the same vision. To achieve this, you just need to accept your limits and trust each other.

communication developer/client relation software engineering

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