Working with Developers

Sometimes it seems that designers and developers speak a different language; this can lead to a break down in communication, which is really no good for either party (especially on long term projects). Here are some tips to help you work better with developers.

1) Share a space

If you are fortunate enough to be able to share a space with developers then do so. This will help with any communication issues you may have, simply because they will be more inclined to talk to you if you are present.

2) Talk to each other (and listen…)

Talking to each other might seem like an obvious point to make, but by talking TO and not AT each other you will be build rapport. This may take time if you don’t understand each other but by listening and trying to understand the developer’s perspective you will help in reducing communication issues.

3) Ask for advice (and offer advice when asked)

Get developers involved as early as possible; this can be at the design stage. By inviting their expertise you will have a clearer idea of what is possible and have a more considered design.

Note: This can work the other way too.

4) Do a joint standup (everyday)

By having a daily updates you will gain insight into the work that is in progress, any issues or blockers and more importantly you’ll learn how developers work. By understanding how developers work you can cater your work to suit them, reducing friction and improving communication.

5) Attend retrospectives and sprint planning

Developers usually work in sprints; by attending the sprint planning meeting and retrospectives you will get a holistic view of what the aim of the sprint is as well figure out how to improve your work flow. This will build your rapport with developers as it will show your willingness to work with them.

6) Ad hoc finish and fix reviews

Not every decision requires a meeting, sometimes a simple conversation at your desk will suffice. These can be minor oversights that either you or a developer missed.

7) Don’t believe your way is the only way

It is easy to think that your design solution is the only way, however there can be limitations that you never considered. The trick is to talk to each other and listen (see point #2).

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