Communicating Well with Non-Technical People

The Founder/CEO of an agile software development company recognized that developers do not become developers in order to interact with people, yet they must work closely with clients using Scrum and other agile development methods. How to help these technical people communicate well with non-technical clients?

Approach

Since the founder was a champion of understanding personality differences before he founded the company, he decided to engage Linda Berens to provide a self-discovery experience for all employees. Since the company was growing rapidly, she visited them several times a year to help each new employee gain an understanding of themselves. Group and individual sessions were used to bring all into a place where they could apply the Interaction Essentials in their work. They learned to:

  • Know Themselves—using the Temperament, Interaction Styles, and Cognitive Dynamics models
  • Make Space for Others— by appreciating what others need in a communication and doing those things that don’t interfere
  • Shift Their Communications—by communicating in the style the client most likely wants and using the words they most easily understand

Outcomes

  1. Developers developed more tolerance for the ways clients communicated as well as the different focus based on business need rather than software code.
  2. Developers recognized the importance of meeting the clients at their view of the world so were more willing to shift their style and language of communications.
  3. Developers even found some enjoyment in the client interaction once they developed the communication skills.
  4. Clients reported more satisfaction with the developers as well as a better understanding of what the developers were communicating.