How To Effectively Communicate With Your Development Team

Gimena Aguerreberry
June 30, 2021

For developers, effective communication is arguably one of the most important variables contributing to the success of a project. It’s essential to create a site or app that fulfills the requirements of its owners while providing a positive user experience.

However, sometimes communication between developers and other team members is ambiguous. Both parties interpret terms, ideas, and the complexity of implementation differently.

Bridging the communication gap between developers and other team members can help you complete projects on time and within scope. It may even help you enjoy cross-department interactions more.

A recent study by Queens University of Charlotte found that:

  • Only about 27% of employees receive any kind of training in communication.

  • A similar 27% are confident in their communication role at work.

  • Nearly 3 in 4 employers rate teamwork and collaboration as "very important".

  • However, 39% of the surveyed employees believe their organization does not collaborate enough.

Great communication contributes to:

  • Agility to keep up and evolve. Everyone on the team stays informed of project changes.

  • Increased efficiency. Better collaboration means fewer redundancies and less time wasted. Pull requests are completed with more clarity.

  • Better overall morale. When communication is open and transparent, everyone feels more involved.

  1. Know your Requirements

How can you explain your requirements if you don’t know what they are? A good developer will immediately begin to analyze your idea. They’ll ask questions. They’ll pose "what-if" scenarios. No one will expect you to have all the answers, but you should be able to discuss the majority of problems. If you can’t, you haven’t thought the project through. It’ll fail.

2. Be Clear

When you’re communicating what you need from a developer, make sure you mention why you need it. Why will adding this feature add to users’ experience? First, this makes developers feel like they’re in on the problem-solving. You’re on the same team, working towards solving a common problem. But also, it gives developers time to suggest different ways of implementing a solution that could dramatically reduce the difficulty of implementation, without sacrificing quality and explain issues.

3. Stay Ahead

Good programming teams will have a development plan — components and features will be implemented in order. Understand that plan and prepare accordingly:

  • know what decisions need to be made prior to implementation

  • prepare dummy data or test cases

  • organize the production of content, graphics, videos, or other media.

4. Avoid Scope Changes

Changing scope can destroy a project and put a deadline at risk. You may have seen a cool feature elsewhere, but it doesn’t need to be implemented immediately.

By all means, have an informal discussion with your developer. State it’s something you’re considering for a later version — don’t distract them from the agreed tasks or demand immediate attention.

5. Be Available

If a developer is coming to you asking questions that you feel the Developer should be answering, understand that they are doing so because there is a business reason behind the question that they don’t know the answer to.

Conclusion - How To Effectively Communicate With Your Development Team

Most people lose interest in their own projects as time goes on. If you can’t remain enthusiastic, don’t expect it from others.

Contact your developers on a regular basis. You don’t necessarily need to organize formal progress meetings — just show your face and ask how things are going. Make sure your deadlines allow enough time for the developer to implement the features, as well as any back and forth time for questions.

"How To Effectively Communicate With Your Development Team" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Brooke Cagle.

Categorized under software development.

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