Be respectful. Don’t ever look down at anybody, no matter what, not even in the privacy of your thoughts. A differing opinion does not mean ignorance and ignorance does not mean stupidity. Think of this not as a problem but an opportunity.Be careful with vocabulary. Jargon that means something positive to you might mean something different and negative to someone else. For example, “iteration” might mean “continual refinement” to you and “rework due to poor planning” to your audience.Talk slowly. Explain ideas in a calm, measured tone of voice. Sometimes technical people speak at ten miles a minute, particularly when they’re excited about an idea. Your tone should denote “wisdom of the ages” rather than “geeky excitement.”
At the risk of looking like a mutual admiration society, I have to say that the Hartford‘s prodigious blogger, troublemaker and open source maven James McGovern has put forward some solid advice for IT architects, to help change your organisation for the better.
Here is a sample:
In terms of being careful with vocabulary, IT folk please understand: language is a communications mechanism, not a mapping of objects in the “real” world. Describing something as hype doesn’t negate it. If a term changes behaviours then it has value.
Terminology invariably contains assumptions. We should think about those assumptions when we try and communicate with people in other communities. One man’s cartoon is after all another man’s mortal insult.
I may not be an architect, but according to some recent feedback I need to work on how I present myself. Apparently when you talk fast and passionate it can be confused with insecurity… But surely not everyone can manage wisdom of ages, or Oxford University professor?
What do you think: would I have more credibility if I talked slowly, wore tweeds and slippers and smoked a pipe?