Communication Is Key


Everyday we can all point to problems that go unsolved; the quest for more time in the day to solve more problems, and the problems that come from not having enough time. Mo’ problems. It is easy to get lost in all the challenges a business faces. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

My hunch is that most problems stem from some break down in communication, or a need to make or create a communication channel that never existed.

When a business has an issue with their sales, it often has to do with communicating the value of their product to enough people to help them make sales. When a system crashes, it is because a component in the system isn’t communicating properly with another component in the system, causing unexepcted behavior. The most common reason software projects fail is due a a break down in communication. Sometimes not enough questions are asked and requiremetns are missed. In large organizations, it is hard to have all the right people in the room at the right time. When a customer isn’t sure what problem they are trying to solve and how to communicate value to the end uer, it can make it hard for a designer to prototype a good end-user experience.

My other hunch, is that projects that go well have a good framework of communication. They update each other regulary, they commit to collaboration and oppose siloed decision making. Good communication requires tracking progress and holding eachother accountable to deliver on time. The key is to set expectations with everyone across the project in order to create an enviornment that fosters good communication.

Here are a few tips to help you make a consciencious effort to communicate better:

1.Ask lots of questions.

No matter who is in the room, make it a goal to fully understand the client’s needs. They know their business. It is our job to help them meet their goals with our expertise in technology and strategy.

2. Listen.

If no one is listening and everyone is talking nothing gets done.

3. Document any decision points.

Tracking communication and holding team members accountable to deliver is important. Mistakes happen, and expectations need to be communicated to all parties when mistakes cause expectations to change. As long as everyone is well informed of the timeline and extensions to timelines, there are no unexpected delays.

4. Make sure you have decision makers as part of any communication that needs resolution.

It is important to make sure that decision makers and stake holders are present. Any time a decision needs to be made, those folks need to be present. This is especially challenging in large organizations, but must be a priority.

Good communication is hard. But if you look at most problemds that exist in any domain, bad communication is part of it. Make an effot to work with people who know the importance of good communication.

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