Ah, yes. Communication. You likely see it in every single job description under the sun:
“Stellar communication is a must”
“Effective communication with different business units”
“The candidate is expected to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.”
(All three of those were pulled from NON Technical job postings on craigslist, by the way.)
I deal with many different types of technical and semi-technical folks every single day and I cannot stress how important effective communication is in my business. Regarding projects of a technical nature, there are many different styles that are incredibly effective, and some areas where you leave a meeting or conference call thinking “who the hell was that guy?”
Not to get too cosmic, but communication is very much like improvisational music. You are having a conversation in a particular key (Ok, generally speaking). It’s up to you how to phrase the notes in the scales you choose to play. Not to overuse my metaphor here, but there are times where I’m thinking: “Jesus, who invited the theremin player to the bluegrass jam?
I’ve found that metaphors are a great way to help project managers understand certain pieces of technology that the project they are managing are responsible for. This person was looking at a very popular collaboration tool to handle simple document management for their wiki solution. I politely explained that it would be like using a Dremel cut down a tree when a chainsaw would do the job just perfectly. She got it.
Not to harp on my offshore brethren, but dudes….come on. I recently had a con call with a client to talk about why it was taking so long (3 weeks!) for us to get access to their network. The offshore team in India manages their network globally…The dude on the call did NOT understand me and I did NOT understand him. 4 people were trying to play interpreter in both directions with his VOIP connection cutting out after about 30 minutes of explaining what we had done to solve the problem, I explained what the problem was in very simple terms: It’s a routing issue with your remote VPN settings. After all that, the guy says:
“Can you kindly put all that in an email as such?”.
“You want me to email you what I just said?”.
(Much laughter on the call)
I get it, I mean…I know he was going to find somebody that could solve the problem but THIS CALL WAS SO WE COULD HAVE THE RIGHT GUY INVOLVED SO WE COULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
Two hours later a different person from the India team called me and I said “It is a routing issue with your VPN server, can you please make sure my client machine can hit this subnet?”.
“Ah, can you please send me this in an email?”
Yes, I can, but I will not.