As businesses grow, particularly those where technology is central to operations, it is crucial to maintain effective and coherent communication. A shared strategic vision, clear company roadmap, and concrete milestones are indispensable components of communication by default. However, there is often a significant disconnect when it comes to translating these into the day-to-day realities of technical development.
Engineers and developers are frequently presented with projects without enough context to the broader strategic vision. This discrepancy can stem from a lack of understanding about the strategic intent of the projects they are undertaking, primarily due to the 'business language' failing to resonate with the technical minds. Let's explore the significance of this issue and propose solutions to ensure that a company's strategy is clearly communicated, understood, and implemented at all levels.
The Communication Gap: The Business Language and Engineers
Technology-oriented companies thrive on the synergy of business strategy and technical innovation. However, a significant challenge arises when this strategic vision is communicated in a 'business language' that is often perceived as 'noise' by engineers and developers. They crave to comprehend the broader picture - why they are building what they are building - but often find themselves engulfed in the day-to-day tactical execution of projects. This disconnect could impede the alignment of technical efforts with strategic objectives and, if not addressed, can even lead to lowered motivation and productivity.
Addressing the Challenge: The Translator Role
To close this gap, companies need a translator - a person or a team adept at articulating the strategic vision in a language that resonates with the technical staff. This person needs to possess a unique blend of strategic understanding, technical knowledge, and excellent communication skills. Their role includes interpreting the strategic objectives, laying out a clear roadmap, setting achievable milestones, and providing context to the developers about how their work contributes to the overall business objectives.
The translator acts as a bridge between the technical team and the higher-level strategy setters. They ensure the strategic vision is not just communicated but effectively translated into actionable insights that align with the wavelength of developers. The translator not only simplifies complex business terminologies but also provides a meaningful context that empowers engineers to contribute effectively towards the strategic vision.
Often, the translation of functional requirements in a tech-driven company comes with relative ease. However, it's the non-functional requirements that are frequently realized too late. This tardiness in understanding non-functional needs often results in a decrease in development velocity and an increase in software rework over time. Recognizing this, it's clear that a similar phenomenon occurs in reverse: business stakeholders often grapple with the intricacies of technical language. This mutual lack of understanding further underlines the necessity for a liaison, a bridging figure capable of supporting different stakeholders and facilitating effective communication.
Benefits of Bridging the Gap
The process of bridging this communication gap yields several benefits. It ensures that engineers and developers work with a clear understanding of how their efforts contribute to the company's overarching goals. This alignment improves morale, productivity, and the sense of purpose among the technical staff. It also enhances the synergy between business and technical teams, allowing for better resource allocation, risk management, and project execution.
As technology-driven companies scale, the need to align business language with the language understood by engineers becomes increasingly crucial.