I started my career in Software Engineering before Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn existed. MySpace? That wasn’t even being discussed on the back of a napkin yet.
I didn’t have a mobile phone in college and I still remember the first time I did a Google search and the results returned back in an instant.
It was pretty darn impressive.
My first experience with the ‘World Wide Web’ was in late high-school and I finally signed up with an AOL free trial (remember when they mailed out cd’s?). Connecting to the Internet made a screeching noise and you had to make sure no one picked up the phone or you risked being disconnected.
All this to say, I’ve seen technology change. A lot.
However, as my career and role evolved, from tester to developer to team leader, one thing that remained constant was the need for clear communication.
Because no matter what technology you are testing, developing, prototyping or selling, if you’re not on the same page when it comes to requirements, you can end up with something totally unexpected.
Technology will never replace the need to be clear in our communication. Sure we can use one of the many apps to send messages (Email, Skype, Messenger, WhatsApp..) but if the message doesn’t come across clearly, it doesn’t really matter does it?
When I took on the role of Product Manager, I learned quickly that a conversation about the same product could be had in many ways depending on whom I was speaking to:
Developers? You need to know the technical terms and have clear requirements. And whether or not they should start from scratch/refactor existing code/or use existing APIs (because everyone thinks their code is better :P)
Potential customers to understand the market? Your discussions may not be as technical but you have to demonstrate that you’ve captured and understood their needs.
Sales? (this one always proves interesting) You have to make sure you are clear about what’s being delivered now vs what’s on the roadmap because too often they will try to sell what’s not there yet!
Testers? Make sure when you ask them how long it will take to test, you actually listen because too often we ask for estimates only to turn around and tell them they how much time they have.
Same product, same technology, so many different conversations.