Author: David Woods, Back-End Developer
For most developers, communication is not one of the first things that comes to mind when they self-assess their skill set. However, communication is a key quality in a good developer. To create an efficient workflow from idea inception to product launch, it is key for everyone to be in communication with one another. As a developer, staying in constant communication with the vision of the creative team helps to understand how they are envisioning the final product to work, and it also helps the creative team understand the limitations of development. Having everyone on the same page throughout the process helps create minimal roadblocks, helps everyone to understand the project goals, and helps create a streamlined workflow.
No set list of rules exists for creating a communicative environment. However, this is a short list of items you should keep in mind when communicating as a developer.
When crafting emails going to another contributor on the project, make sure that you are not assuming anything in the message. Most of the time, being overcommunicative is better than assuming something and the oversight being discovered later when it is too late.
Choosing the right communication method in a given situation is convenient for all parties. If you know someone is mobile or away from their desk frequently, be sure to use a communication method that allows them to check in at their convenience. Keep in mind, though, the urgency of the message. If you need information to proceed with your work, make sure you communicate the urgency in the response and use a method of communication that gets more instant feedback.
Documentation is important for all complex projects. The documentation allows anyone with a nontechnical background to understand the purpose of the tool and how it should work. This goes back to the point of everyone being on the same page with the solution’s inner workings. Make sure you are commenting your code as best you can as you go through the functionality. Keep in mind that comments are not just for you to keep track of what your thoughts are, but are also for any other developer who may come along and need to peek into the mind of the original architect. Reading comments and documentation helps someone understand the details of the application.
In summary, there are no rules set in stone regarding communication. The amount of communication needed may depend on the project and the contributors involved. However, if you have any doubt that confusion has crept in, go out of your way to make sure it is cleared up as early as possible to avoid roadblocks or delays.