Although it may seem as though different groups speak different languages, there is a huge advantage to be gained by creating effective communication between groups with widely different backgrounds and levels of technical expertise, such as business decision makers, domain experts, and technical developers. Without cross-team communication, valuable development time can be lost through misunderstandings, unrealistic expectations, or a poor fit between business goals and technical solutions.
It’s not easy, but it is possible to learn how to communicate effectively even between diverse stakeholders. One key to effective cross-team communication lies in finding the critical concepts and essential processes that drive whatever project you’re doing and making certain that they are clearly understood on all sides. This requires more than just avoiding jargon: it’s about identifying what is most important to the project. Not only does this improve communication, but it also helps build better understanding of data-based work.
Drawing on examples from successful big data projects, Ellen Friedman outlines specific actions to help improve skills in cross-team communication, including the identification of key concepts and potential challenges, building respect for different stakeholders, finding common language to support important ideas, and making data and data-based decisions more understandable.
Ellen Friedman is principal technologist at MapR Technologies. Ellen is a committer on the Apache Drill and Apache Mahout projects and coauthor of a number of books on computer science, including Machine Learning Logistics, Streaming Architecture, the Practical Machine Learning series, and Introduction to Apache Flink. Ellen has been an invited speaker at Strata Data conferences, Big Data London, Big Data Paris, Berlin Buzzwords, Nike Tech Talks, the University of Sheffield Methods Institute in the UK, and NoSQL Matters Barcelona. She holds a PhD in biochemistry.
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