Communication is everywhere and it is far more than only the spoken word and its origin meaning. Communication is one of the most complex and also complicated topics in human relationships: most of the time very thrilling, sometimes frightening but always important!
As we all grew up with communication, you might think, we should be used to communicating very well. But daily life shows us that misunderstanding is the companion of communication. We all know from our own experience how hard it is to clear up such misunderstandings and how much precious time is wasted on them!
The more people with different personalities are trying to communicate with each other, the higher the probability of misunderstandings.
To take a closer look at all those cross-functional teams like devops or agile scrum teams you will recognize at once that there are lots of individual issues because of misunderstandings in every team. Each single issue on its own is disrupting daily work, something we all know from personal experience. Now try to imagine how much of a team´s efficiency is taken away by the sum of all issues caused by bad communication and misunderstandings! It is unimaginable!
Communication is the link between all stakeholders: it determines the atmosphere in a team, the relationship between all parts, the understanding as well as the knowledge and information transfer. It influences the project times, the employees´ identification with the company or their work, individual responsibility and how to deal with mistakes. This list could go on and on.
Time in IT projects is one of the limiting factors. To save time and avoid mistakes, new tools are be developed again and again. Companies invest money in these tools; sometimes tools are integrated in the teams, sometimes the teams are arranged around the tools or systems. But the very human part – the communication – which is important for every team, no matter which tools or which systems are used, is seldom the focus of IT education! You can changes methodologies, systems and tools, but if you do not get beyond bad communication, you won´t reach the full potentials of all those efforts. No matter if you have already chosen your tools or systems or if you are still searching for the right way for your team, you should always think about the communication within your team. Instead of always asking what the ROI of communication courses will be, you should better ask what the ROI of all those tools and systems could be with optimized communication!
Before optimizing the communication you first have to find the bugs in the individual and in the team communication and eliminate them. Due to the inherent complexity, the support of an expert is sometimes useful. Just as not all people using computers are IT experts, not all people are experts in communication – even though they are communicating the whole time, sometimes even by saying nothing. Some are more gifted than others, some are able to learn by studying on their own and others need a little more time and support. Changing communication mostly means to change personal habits and this is always an extremely challenging requirement. Particularly for “brain-workers” like developers or other people from IT, it is very helpful to have some background information in combination with practical applications given by experts. First little steps of debugging the communication will soon be honored by success.
“First do it right, than do it fast!”, is a developers wisdom. Concerning the communication this wisdom could be changed into: “First debug your communication, then optimize it!”
Coming back to the question in the headline, it is not important to blame anybody for a bad communication. Everybody is responsible for it and instead of searching for the guilty one, you should start working on it. Be brave, start debugging you communication!