Changing Mindset Series: Language

‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw.

I am generally interested in business acumen (always have been) and saw moving into a BA role as a natural progression of my desire to cross skill. What I wasn’t prepared for was the language barrier within the business sector. This is a skill I am still working on perfecting and struggle with the double talk meanings that seem to complicate the ability to progress.

Having worked within a technical environment for a number of years speaking plainly (unless required to name technical tools/systems/techniques) saves a lot of miscommunication and energy. I find myself walking away from some engagements social (meetups) or professional still wondering what the point was due to the amount of words used to describe a simple situation. For example this potential scenario where a team is required to deliver X to a internal customer but the person leading this business request was not going to be here during the development & delivery. There was a hand over with an a need to verify with the developer Y a potential identified issue let’s call it ‘123’. Note the outcome of the investigation, then negotiate the findings with the stakeholder to see if they would accept this potentially low/med risk. Three weeks later it still hadn’t been delivered and had blown out to the developers wanting to create ABC to deliver X. The team did deliver what was the original recommendation but blew the delivery time frame. This could potentially affect the team badly by impacting trust between the stakeholders and the team on future deliverable.

The above situation displays a number of issue for the team but effective simple communication which clearly identified all the pro’s & con’s is a high requirement for stakeholders to make an informed decision. Secondly my 2019 mantra is ‘Not my circus, Not my monkeys’ which in part means, this product is not mine but I work for the company that does own it. It is up to those people to make the decisions but it is up to me to use clear communication to explain the situation and to provide transparent options for them to choose. I’m referring to the high level decision making not the granular multiple decisions we make daily to build a feature or functionality.  Or the highly technical conversation architects need to have with the business. This responsibility of using clear language to assist our stakeholders to make informed decisions is for ALL team members not just assigned to QA as the potential gatekeeper of quality. Building quality products is a mindset that all team members are striving for and when a stakeholder decision needs to be made the most informed team members is able to guide them successfully.

“Quality belongs to the team through clear effective communication”.


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