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Technical communication


Radial Development Group

October 26 · Issue #39 · View online

Our thoughts on running a company, tech insight, news, and nerd life.

Hi Friends,
Have you ever tried to explain how the Internet works to your grandmother? It’s hard, right? We struggle daily with this challenge of communicating technical concepts to non-experts.
One of the ways we’ve improved technical communication is to have our developers act as project managers. We call this role “developer lead.” A developer in this role manages the project, writes code for it (along with other team members) and is the client’s point of contact.
We love this approach. It cuts out the middleman between the person who understands the details of the code and the person who wants work done. A client wants to know why some video uploads are squished? The developer lead can answer with the technical reason as well as the plain English one.
Still, we’re not perfect.
At times, our developer leads slip into using technical language. Clients have told us they’ve felt confused and out of the loop after discussions because of this.
How do we improve?
We’re figuring it out. 
It makes sense that this is challenging. It is actually hard to switch between talking with developers all day and talking with clients.
One approach is continually checking for understanding, no matter who you are talking to. 
Another is documenting conversations. We recently had a fast-moving project with several client conversations each day. We documented expectations and next steps after each one to make sure we were all on the same page. 
A third idea is asking for a pair when talking with clients. Bring in another person who can help explain concepts or clarify points. We pair when we program, why not pair when we communicate?

Screens vs. paper: Don’t throw away the books.
A Dutch entrepreneur believes his invention can conquer The Great Pacific Garbage patch.
The first Halloween was probably in the 5th century BC.
Being Better
Journaling prompts from our friendly neighborhood nerd Ariana F. at Rosabella Consulting .
Some leaders I talk with don’t like to journal because “it’s all just so negative.” They’re picking up on something important, but the solution isn’t to stop journaling. It’s to change how they’re writing. 
So the next time you sit down to write about a difficult or stressful situation, put your initial thoughts and feelings onto the page. Then stop ruminating and start making meaningful discoveries by completing one or more of these sentences:
  • What I realized is…
  • What I learned is…
  • I now understand that…
  • Another way I can look at this is…
  • What I’m going to do about this is….
Some exciting changes are coming to Journal Jams in the next few weeks. Stay tuned here for more info!
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