Technical jargon can seem like a different language. “My TCP/IP port was hardware-accelerated when I rate-limited the Jaz drive.” ((And for those of you interested in antique computer peripherals, you can buy a 1GB Jaz drive for $125 on Amazon!)) “I refactored my loop and fragment cached some queries with transients.” That first sentence doesn’t mean anything and the second one does, but both might as well be French for most people. ((Or English for the French, I suppose…))
In the article linked below, author Scott Berkun explains how to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical stakeholder working together on projects. I particularly like his approach, as he takes a few steps back and lays out some principles that everyone can benefit from.
The specific rub in this scenario is translation. If one stakeholder spoke only German and the other only Esperanto it’d be obvious you need to find one person who can speak both fluently before you’d attempt anything. But with domain differences like technical or business knowledge, we presume basic English is sufficient. It isn’t.
For those of you interested in WordPress, Scott Berkun’s new book, The Year Without Pants (Amazon affiliate link) comes out today. The book chronicles his year working for Automattic, the fully “distributed” company that runs WordPress.com. Scott spent a year managing a team of 4-9 people who worked together while living as many as 12 time zones apart
I saw Scott talk about the book at the Seattle WordPress meetup last week and it’s interesting both for those of us who use WordPress and anyone who works a desk job and wonders what a company without an office looks like. ((Automattic has an office in San Francisco but few employees regularly use it.))