Effective Communication for Growth in Agile
Communication crosses all the boundaries of our lives. It includes how we use our voice — the tone, volume, and pace at which we speak. The holistic aspect of Communication makes the process dynamic. Effective Communication depends on our ability to be present.
Years of experience developing software don’t translate into working software. Software development experience doesn’t allow you to listen and learn from domain experts. Communication does. Working software is only applicable when it provides value to users. Developers must establish accountability through Communication. To understand the potential value and impact delivered to users. Rather than writing something that works is more important to focus on writing the right thing. Understanding the problem is not a matter of coding skills but communication skills.
Clear Communication of project goals and objectives is needed. For Agile teams to deliver valuable software, they must trust programmers to make decisions and give them autonomy in their work. Agile teams should review the project’s progress, reflect on the decisions made by the programmers, and adjust. You can only create alignment in the room if you have a proposal for folks to align behind. Avoid academic-style presentations. Refrain from fixing your preferred outcome. Convey genuine appreciation. Project warmth and high energy. It’s been observed people like you when they feel liked by you. To clarify that you’re interested in the other person, consider what they know you don’t. What do you want to learn in the interaction? Focus on that so they can walk away knowing they added value too. Listen with intent. Your focus on asking specific questions about what’s being said in real-time makes others feel heard.
Miscommunication creates latency rather than errors. When critical work comes to you, your first question should become, “Who could be both successful with and grown by this work?” See if you can get them to lead the work, then work with them to scaffold the project for their success. Be the one to take notes. Shift your contribution towards asking questions. If you see someone in the meeting who isn’t participating, pull them into the discussion. Find someone you respect and send them a short 1–2 paragraph email or DM with a specific question asking for advice. Writing forces you to think about your beliefs and data. The most exact sequence is always to give the summarizing idea before you give the individual ideas being summarized. Never fight feedback. Don’t evade responsibility or problems. Only present a question with an answer.
Mindful Communication promotes awareness through active listening and engagement. Conscious contact creates understanding through awareness.
[¹]: Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication
[²]: Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well