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"But that's not what you asked for!"

"But that's not what you asked for!"

Dealing with our users - the people who either pay for or use our software - can be a trying experience. This talk hopes to highlight some ineffective communication strategies we technical people often have and to suggest some ideas for better hearing our users needs, and communicating our own.


Gavin van Lelyveld

April 25, 2013

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  1. Let's talk about: Talking ...and stuff (so meta)

  2. "Man is by nature a political animal." Aristotle

  3. Gavin van Lelyveld Gavin van Lelyveld Internet Internet Everything Everything

  4. Who are our users?

  5. Users are

  6. Users are The person paying you

  7. Users are Other Technical People

  8. Users are People who use your software daily

  9. Users are Your colleagues

  10. Users are Your boss

  11. Users are Your boss(es)

  12. How do our users think How do our users think

    about our projects? about our projects?
  13. Not like us Not like us

  14. We care about We care about

  15. We care about We care about Architecture Architecture

  16. We care about We care about Structure Structure

  17. We care about We care about Standards Standards

  18. We care about We care about Technical stuff Technical stuff

  19. Users care about Users care about

  20. Users care about Users care about Money Money

  21. Users care about Users care about Looks Looks

  22. Users care about Users care about Change Change

  23. Users care about Users care about “ “Random” Stuff Random”

  24. Understanding Understanding Expectations Expectations

  25. Ask Ask Questions Questions

  26. Ask Ask Questions Questions (constantly)

  27. Questions like

  28. Questions like WHY? WHY?

  29. Questions like What's What's Important? Important?

  30. Questions like What are we What are we Accomplishing? Accomplishing?

  31. Questions like Who will Who will it benefit? it benefit?

  32. Questions like Does this Does this Take into account Take

    into account …?
  33. Questions like How will this How will this Make Money?

    Make Money?
  34. DIG! DIG! “Dogs dig” (c) 2011 Sandor Weisz and made

    available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license
  35. Ask without Ask without Judgment Judgment

  36. Deliver Value Deliver Value

  37. The Practice of Politics

  38. Our approach:

  39. Our approach: Openness

  40. Openness beginner's mind

  41. Openness beginner's mind "In the beginner's mind there are many

    possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
  42. Openness Humility

  43. Our approach: Jargon

  44. Our approach: Jargon

  45. Jargon Intimidating

  46. Jargon Irrelevant

  47. Jargon Organisational Jargon

  48. Jargon Understanding is your job

  49. Our approach: Be Present

  50. Our approach: Be Mindful

  51. Mindfulness Spend Time

  52. Mindfulness Observe

  53. Mindfulness Ask Questions

  54. Mindfulness Be Self-deprecating

  55. Story Time!

  56. Our approach: Forget the Job

  57. Perception is Everything

  58. Communication

  59. Communication Managing Channels

  60. Communication Managing Channels Email

  61. Communication Managing Channels Bug Trackers

  62. Communication Managing Channels Meetings

  63. Communication Managing Channels Meetings :(

  64. Communication Managing Channels Text Chat

  65. Communication Managing Channels Video

  66. Communication Managing Channels Voice

  67. Communication Be responsive

  68. Communication Be reliable

  69. Communication Manage Expectations

  70. Communication Favour High Bandwidth

  71. (A few) Pathologies

  72. Pathologies: Us Working to Spec

  73. “No plan Survives contact with the Enemy” Helmuth Karl Bernhard

    Graf von Moltke Pathologies: Us Working to Spec
  74. Pathologies: Us Going into Hiding

  75. “But that's not what I asked for!” Your users Pathologies:

    Us Going into Hiding
  76. Get Feedback Early Pathologies: Us Going into Hiding

  77. Get Feedback Often Pathologies: Us Going into Hiding

  78. Pathologies: Them

  79. Pathologies: Them They're just difficult!

  80. Pathologies: Them They're just difficult! Out of proportion

  81. Pathologies: Them They're just difficult! Have Compassion

  82. Pathologies: Them Dead-end Projects

  83. Pathologies: Them Dead-end Projects This is not Boredom

  84. Pathologies: Them Dead-end Projects Death March

  85. Pathologies: Them Dead-end Projects Bad Politics

  86. Pathologies: Them Dead-end Projects No Scope to Fix it

  87. Pathologies: Them Dead-end Projects Organise your Exit

  88. Pathologies: Them Dead-end Projects Maintain your Professionalism

  89. … In Summary

  90. Listen more than you talk In Summary

  91. Have Compassion In Summary

  92. Pay Attention In Summary

  93. “Beginners Mind” Empathic Design ”Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion”

    – Marshall B. Rosenberg “Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams” - DeMarco, Lister Further Reading
  94. Questions?