7 Things that Annoy the Heck Out of Programmers
Now that you’ve had a few laughs on us, here is a helpful post on working with technical teams.
7 Ways To Work Effectively With a Technical Team
We live in a fascinating time period where technology is changing and shaping our daily lives at a record pace. Just consider that right now, you have a shiny piece of glass and aluminum in your pocket that is communicating with satellite dishes and connecting you to all the world’s information. It’s crazy when you think about it.
The proliferation of technology also means that our work is more influenced by technology than ever before.his is making many of us, who are not technical at all, reliant on technical people to get our work done. In cases where something goes wrong at work, chances are you need a technical person to save your day.
While not everyone is technical (or capable of being technical), everyone can learn how to work effectively with technical people. For us, we have a brilliant team of programmers who can build the most amazing things, but learning how to work with them well is a challenge in itself. Here are some tips we have learned over the years to work effectively with our technical folks that will help you in your work.
1. Be As Clear And Concise As Possible
Technical people need specificity and can get exasperated by directions that are not clear. For example, if you have a computer problem, the most unhelpful thing to say would be, “My computer isn’t working.” That doesn’t help anyone because that can mean anything from a program crashing to breast milk in the motherboard. Be as clear, concise and precise as you can when communicating a problem or sharing an idea.
2. Don’t Assume That Everything Is Easy
A common mistake when working with technical people is to suggest everything is easy. When you make statements declaring that your thing should be really simple, or could be easy to do, you minimize the expertise of your team member. Remember, if it was so easy then you would be doing it yourself. Have empathy for smart people who do really difficult things, but make it look easy to you. They worked hard to be as educated as they are and statements like these can come across unintentionally insulting.
3. If You Don’t Know Something, Don’t Pretend You Do
Understandably it can be embarrassing not to know the technical details of an issue. Sometimes people know just enough buzzwords or technical terms to sound like they know what they are talking about. If you truly don’t know, don’t pretend that you do. Don’t be embarrassed you don’t know something. Celebrate the fact that people on your team do know. And while you are at it, take an effort to learn how to speak intelligently about the subject matter.
4. Consult Your Team Before Making Promises
Many times your technical teammates are the last ones to know when something has been committed to. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement for making changes, starting new projects and going after a new idea that we forget to ask some of the smartest people what they think. Consult your technical team on all things that will apply to them before committing to something new.
5. Be Considerate In Your Communication
We all have been annoyed by someone who over did it in their communication. Be mindful that technical people have lots of notifications, messages, emails and meetings. Don’t over communicate. Communicate well and effectively. Find the preferred communication channels with your team and don’t over do it.
6. Use Appropriate Prioritization
Take care to not mark an issue high-priority or use urgent unless it absolutely deserves it. Dramatic titles and words such as ASAP will only stress out your team. Overuse of these words will make your team feel like everything is always on fire. Not everything is high priority and not everything needs to be resolved ASAP.
7. Avoid Unexpected Interruptions
It’s helpful to know technical people are most productive by long stretches of uninterrupted time. Your team has difficult work that requires a careful concentration, which can be very costly should there be a simple mistake. Our natural tendency is to interrupt our team member as soon as we need them. Refrain from spontaneous (and frequent interruptions) as much as possible and schedule times when you can have your issues addressed.
Being a technical member of the team can be hard work. These tips will make life for them better, make working with you more effective and everyone work life will be more enjoyable
We’d love to know your thoughts. Share with us below your tips that have worked for you. Or perhaps if you are technical, share your favorite pet peeves for those who work with you.
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