Sunday, January 24, 2016

The language barrier

Once again, I will try to summarize here my view on another key aspect to be carefully considered during the transition from traditional to Agile methodologies in the context of a corporation: the sudden exposure of the business guys to the technical language, an inconvenience they may have avoided so far thanks to the shelter created by IT structures like the “IT Reps”.

The relocation of the business members to a site shared with the testers and developers gives rise to the main barrier in the process of their adaptation to living together with the technical tribes. Without their missed “translator” (the former IT Representative), terms as obvious as “backend” or “service” will sound hollow in the heads of the business team the first times, but soon will turn into a concern as they become commonplace in their conversations with the technical guys.

Here, our goal should be to point out the similarities in both perspectives, the business and the technical stuff alike. What do I mean by similarities? While the business guys may take the complexity of the engineering language for granted, the technical guys may well have the same perception of the business jargon; so, let’s highlight this fact, and let the Product Owners and Business Analysts know that the business language may be very frightening for the software engineers. The effort to understand a new language is reciprocal.

On top of that, Scrum Masters must not forget to add a drop of empathy to the formula: all Scrum Masters have an educational and professional backgrounds, but they do not necessarily have to overlap either the computer science or the corresponding business field. That’s to say, to some extent the SM is condemned to be inmersed in (and eventually to command) both languages. His and hers is the highest penalty of all!

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