Communication Is Everything

Roscoe and I were sitting around the pot-bellied stove, chewing the fat on a rainy Saturday. He had been working with a group of software engineers for about six months, and I was surprised that there had been no events significant enough to register on the Richter scale. Given that Roscoe is about as volatile as Vesuvius in August,[2] I figured that something was up.

[2] Located immediately south of Naples, Italy, Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 AD, completely burying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in lava, ash, and mud.

"Roscoe," I ventured, "how is it that you haven't run off half that crew you inherited a while back?"

"Why should I do that?" he responded. "Buncha good hands, I'd say. Course, you gotta know how to talk with 'em."

"Oh, really," I replied. "What's the big deal? What makes talking to software engineers so special?"

"Wrong already, son. You don't talk to engineers; you talk with them. Starting off by talking to them can quickly degenerate into talking at them, and you're bound to get into trouble."

Darn! Nailed so soon, and I hadn't even gotten started. But the man had a point.

"OK, Roscoe, I get it. But really, is talking with engineers, and especially software engineers, any different from talking with other people? If so, I'd really like to understand what the secret is."

The Software Development Edge(c) Essays on Managing Successful Projects
The Software Development Edge(c) Essays on Managing Successful Projects
Year: 2006
Pages: 269 © 2008-2017.
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