DEV Community

Cover image for Discussion of the Week - v9
Michael Tharrington for The DEV Team

Posted on

Discussion of the Week - v9

In this weekly roundup, we highlight what we believe to be the most thoughtful, helpful, and/or interesting discussion over the past week! Though we are strong believers in healthy and respectful debate, we typically try to choose discussions that are positive and avoid those that are overly contentious.

Any folks whose articles we feature here will be rewarded with our Discussion of the Week badge. ✨

The Discussion of the Week badge. It includes a roll of thread inside a speech bubble. The thread is a reference to comment threads.

Now that y'all understand the flow, let's go! πŸƒπŸ’¨

The Discussion of the Week

This week we're spotlighting Syskin (@syskin) for dropping the excellent discussion "Cracking the Code: Communicating Tech to Non-Tech":

I may be partial to this one... as a non-dev in the tech field, I find communication between technical folks and non-technical folks to be particularly interesting. The jargon problem is real... I can't tell you how many times I've been left cross-eyed and clueless when reading through or listening to devs talk about software development. But enough about me...

Syskin's setup for this discussion is superbly straightforward. We all know the pains of learning jargon... and, we were all non-techies at one point! Also, because of the speed at which this industry moves, there are always new technologies and related terms bubbling up. Not only that but old paradigms/methodologies/etc. get reskinned as something new and resurfaced only to reiterate something that already existed previously... or maybe they give something a word to sound more important than it is. (See What's Your Favorite Corporate Jargon? 😝)

Also, while this post hasn't yet collected loads of comments the couple that are currently there are both quite thoughtful and helpful!

Props to @jakerouse for leaving some really good practical tips for improving communication between techies and non-techies:

Effective communication with non-technical individuals is essential for collaboration. To ensure understanding:

Know Your Audience: Understand their knowledge level and adapt your communication accordingly.

Use Analogies: Relate technical concepts to everyday experiences to make them relatable.

Avoid Jargon: Minimize technical terms and explain acronyms when necessary.

Visual Aids: Use diagrams and visuals to simplify complex ideas.

Simplify and Clarify: Break down complex ideas into smaller parts and use clear language.

Encourage Questions: Invite questions and feedback, and address them patiently.

Engage in Conversation: Listen actively and have a two-way dialogue.

Get Feedback: Ask if your audience understood and needs further clarification.

Use Plain Language: Keep language simple and avoid unnecessary technical terms.

Training and Workshops: Offer hands-on training sessions for non-technical team members.

By applying these strategies, you can bridge the gap between technical and non-technical team members, fostering better communication and collaboration.

Likewise, kudos to @jodoesgit for chiming in with some thoughtful advice from personal experience and just for reminding us to chill out with the coding talk during our coffee breaks β€” cheers to that! β˜•οΈ

I feel like, and this is just me being a brazen individual, that if you're spending your coffee break talking about code you're doing it wrong. Let that jam go, for ten minutes. Forty. Whatever! Just stop talking about your code when you're supposed to be on break. So that you can come back to it fresh as roses.

Now I spend most of my time around my partner. Who is in tech, and works remotely. So I actually talk tech (goober style, akin to a five year old describing an event) with my gal on the regular. Something I've seen perusing the old Reddit block is non-tech daters complaining about how absolutely abysmal it is dating tech workers. Because we just don't know how to turn it off. So I try, although I'm not sure if I succeed, and willfully phasing out to regular old average Jo when I'm not talking tech.

But also that's just about downtime. Explaining technical ideas, I suppose I can point yet again to a good old fashioned sub-reddit ELI5. In learning, as a beginner, I cannot understand a concept unless it's explained succinctly. Examples help. While there is no world in which this conversationalist can be succinct, I will say that being long in the ears/short in the tongue and to the point is gold.

Basically means -> if a non-technical individuals asks you a question -> listen to their full question -> ask for a second to think, they won't turn you down as long as you give a response within a reasonable time -> decode what they're asking/attempting to ask -> grab the answer from your "localStorage" -> boil that down to simpler action = result logic and respond with that. At least that's my assumption.

You can also always say what you think they want to hear (some people aren't even looking for a real answer, they just want to have an in to talk). Or they're looking for a sounding board, and just need to express something to you, without your input.

So that's my 411. As for jargon, I don't understand it either. But slang, I use it. But that's because I'm a putz. And putz' gunna do what putz' gunna do.

*p.s. - this is not an endorsement for Reddit - where happiness goes to die. Just saying I do browse it from time to time and there's some good stuff on there. Some...

Do you have any advice to share on this topic? Hop in there! The beauty of an asynchronous medium is the conversation never really ends and we can all participate whenever we feel like it. πŸ™Œ

What are your picks?

The DEV Community is particularly special because of the kind, thoughtful, helpful, and entertaining discussions happening between community members. As such, we want to encourage folks to participate in discussions and reward those who are initiating or taking part in conversations across the community. After all, a community is made possible by the people interacting inside it.

There are loads of great discussions floating about in this community. This is just the one we chose to highlight. πŸ™‚

I urge you all to share your favorite discussion of the past week below in the comments. And if you're up for it, give the author an @mention β€” it'll probably make 'em feel good. πŸ’š

Top comments (3)

syskin profile image

I'm delighted that you found my topic interesting, and I agree that communication between internal teams and end customers is a major concern. That's precisely why I developed Changelogit.

Changelogit simplifies the communication of software updates by automating the translation of technical terms into understandable release notes. This keeps everyone on the same wavelength, saves time and improves the impact of updates.

We're currently in beta and would love you to join us to find out how Changelogit can meet your communication needs.

Don't hesitate to ask questions or share your thoughts on internal and external communication of software updates. Your experience and ideas are valuable to us.

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Rock on! This is dope, syskin.

As a Community Manager for DEV that is admittedly fairly non-technical, I think I would really appreciate something like this. I'll check it out!

syskin profile image

For those of you still passing through, the Changelogit beta is available for free! So come and beta test it with us ;)