Yesterday's post dealt with the relationship between architects and developers, and how that relationship can have an impact on the success of development projects. Today I found a not-so-recent post on Bex Huff's blog that hits on a highly relevant factor. Bex says:
A few weeks ago I gave a talk about Communication For Geeks at the Minneapolis MinneBar conference. I strongly believe that the majority of software failures are communication failures, and if geeks want to be a part of fun, successful projects, they had damn well better learn how to communicate...
Bex's insightful post focuses on face-to-face communication, which is unquestionably important. But his advice must carry over to communication in any medium or format. This is especially important as physical location and proximity become increasingly irrelevant factors in the nature and composition of teams.
Consider that despite the interest in and excitement over the introduction of Web 2.0 tools in the enterprise, those tools only establish the infrastructure for greater collaboration, interaction, and communication. That infrastructure is as important as it is cool, but it's only half of the Enterprise 2.0 equation. The other half is the effective use of those tools to actually connect with people, to communicate with them rather than simply hosing them down with a lot of information. That connection is an important part of Bex's message.
Maybe we need a catchy label to drive the point home. Let's call this Communication 2.0. It's all about applying basic communication skills to the use of the new tools of communication to establish real connections to real people. The objective of those connections might be more successful software projects, or better relationships with customers, partners, and employees, or just better relationships in general. But is there any downside to making those connections? Is there?
I'm not trying to get all New-Age-y on you, and I certainly don't want to come off as anti-technology. I'm a proudly unrepentant geek, and just as prone to get all twitchy and excited over what software can do as the next propeller-head. But the point is that software is a tool. It's how we use that tool that makes a difference and establishes the tool's ultimate value. Technology can enhance our ability to connect with people, but it doesn't define the connection. That's up to us...
Is it a coincidence that this weekend is the 39th anniversary of Woodstock? You tell me. Far out, man.
Anyway, read Bex's entire post: Empathy vs Sympathy. It's good stuff.