As a project manager, or a small business owner acting as one, there is a lot of baseline knowledge of a lot of different things needed to succeed in your position. You need to be able to provide a positive workplace culture to get the most out of your team, you need to clearly display expectations of your team members, and you need to understand, at least, the “why” as far as what each team member is delivering on a daily basis.
When it comes to the “how” of the technically skilled professionals on your team, it would be almost impossible to possess the same skills of those team members, and thus a communication gap often exists when it comes to issues in technical development. When you toss in computer jargon about eCommerce security or data analysis, it can be even more difficult, and the gap between web developers and PMs is often a difficult one to bridge.
Why Does the Gap Exist?
Web development is, very literally, a different language that most Americans do not speak. Project managers have different skills and come from a variety of corporate world backgrounds. Web developers either went to school for exactly that, or came from another field based around a coding language, like game development or software engineering. When you’re day-to-day activities at work involve speaking two different languages, a gap in inevitable, and web developers and PMs often find themselves in an environment with a big communication gap.
5 Ways to Make it Smaller
- Scope Discussion – Many developers are pressed for time on a regular basis, and often they have no say in determining what their time constraints will be. Adding developers to front-end client discussions will allow of insight that a given project manager simply doesn’t understand as well as a developer would. Allowing a representative from development to engage in client conversations and share his or her insight on the code required to bring a given project to fruition will give the developer a feeling of a bit more control, and also, over time, will increase the PM’s understanding of developers’ workloads and time needed for a given type of project.
- Understand Each Other – Open dialogue about realistic expectations on both sides of the developer/PM coin are far too infrequent in the business world but are ultimately as easy as having a cup of coffee. Just as PMs don’t understand code and developers aren’t afraid to tell them that. Developers don’t know what kinds of pressures are being put on PMs when it comes to expectations for output. Talking about pressure will almost certainly result in some common ground discussion and ultimately increase understanding of each other’s very different jobs.
- Shrink the Scope – This one lies more on the shoulders of the PMs, but very much helps shrink the communication gap. The further PMs can break down a project (features, stories, and smaller), the less immediate pressure is put on the developers.
This article was written by Editorial Staff and originally published on WPArena.