Allan Ferreira, Business Intelligence Specialist at Adentis explains how to cultivate good communication in the development of technology projects. An article first published in SAPO TeK. Even the most talented and skilled technology development team can be exposed to failure if they don't cultivate the practice of good communication. Whether in projects with more rigid and structured planning, or in others with flexible and agile characteristics, communication is among the main determinants of success (or failure) for the achievement of the established objectives. In addition to the communication theme itself, which is a critical factor to be considered, either by project managers or by experts in agile methodologies, the other topics that head lists of difficulties and challenges in projects necessarily involve the communication domain.
Communication has always been in focus
Let's take as an example the definition of a project purpose, or the determination of the products to be delivered to a customer. The search for better preparation of the team to take on project activities may vary according to the profile of the leadership (or leaders) of the group, as well as the profile of its members. Although the activation of the team, the adequate presentation and discussion of the project briefing are aspects present in the most diverse manuals of good practices, in real life, prejudices end up causing steps to be suppressed and omissions to occur. The assumption that certain topics are taken for granted or sufficiently assimilated by the team without adequate assessment can result in critical failures that range from disregarding basic requirements for the development of the task to complete disagreement on the part of the client in relation to to the expected end result. Each of these can be improved by targeting adequate attention to project communication activities.
The risk of assumptions and “evidence”
In addition to the traditional stimulus to assertiveness and courage for project team members to express their doubts, concerns, expectations, failures and deliveries, it is a crucial task for leaders to ensure that these stimuli are converted into action by the group. In addition to knowing by heart the concepts and techniques to ensure the best communication between team members, it is necessary that these principles are converted into daily practice. For this to happen, it is essential to activate a sensitivity among all and the effective conduct of dynamics that aim to bring the relevant facts to the attention of people - and it is here again that the judgment of project leadership risks error if it does not have the best possible information on the facts of the project, on the expectations, difficulties, dispositions and availabilities of the professionals involved.
It's in the details that the danger lies
Even when the communication flow works well, when the facts are well handled and discussed by the team, when group members externalize their points of view, concerns and solutions to problems and when everything seems to flow for the best possible end, sometimes , the involuntary sabotage of the communicational dimension resides in the most prosaic details. This is the case when we rely too much on our own memory. Brilliant ideas, precise guidelines and accurate procedures can be lost or forgotten by the simple fact that they were not properly noted during the meeting. Again, overconfidence or the attitude of taking the information received as obvious or for granted can lead to the most serious difficulties and consequences - for example, when an entire concept or methodology carefully learned during a degree or in a postgraduate course and that would be effective in the project fails to advance because a note about it was not made properly. It's an example of how great ideas and concepts end up being funneled to the tip of a pen or a line of text on our laptop.
As long as there are doubts… we should question it!
The manuals, the different methodologies, the guides to good practices, the rules and guidelines of procedures of our companies and organizations always aim to provide the best set of information to carry out our activities. These repositories are extremely important and are the intellectual capital of these institutions that are available for projects to take the best possible course, but they will always need to be mediated by people, by us. Individuals who share daily attention between different dimensions of social life such as work, family, studies and everything else that is important to us. Even the most talented and skilled professional can expose a project to failure, and eventually it will. But if we keep a humble attitude with ourselves, for example, when we give ourselves the opportunity to ask once more when doubt remains, or when we take note of something that seems too obvious or too familiar to not depend on memory alone, we will be a little more protected by practices that are as effective as they are trivial and that never go out of style..