Communication with non technical teams

One big problem that I had to learn and I’m still learning is how to communicate with upper management and other non-technical peers about the technical issues we confront, the limitations of new technologies we want to implement, restrictions or disadvantages of methodologies they propose to make certain things more user friendly.
Explaining is a big no no, one thing I realized is that an executive will never expose himself to not understand what you are explaining so getting into details is not welcome, their attention span is short or their willingness to pay attention is short or very limited, it is really a defense mechanism.
To me I always had the feeling that there is a big spectrum in the communication, on one end the super detailed explanation and on the other 100% Bull crap.
But now I think it doesn’t need to be like that.
The same way I learned no one reads long emails, no one wants long detailed explanations, we are all used to consume a bulleted pros and cons type of communication, including savings and risks.
When we started considering moving our infrastructure to the cloud, instead of explaining the technical terms I just mentioned that we will be able to become 100% mobile, and the security of the infrastructure will be Microsoft’s and not ours.
Never mentioned Azure, or single sign on, E3 or E5 licensing, tenants, etc. Simply because none of those terms mean anything to them and they don’t want to know.
The only caveat is maybe during a happy hour over beer, when they are already experiencing the new technology and they wonder how it works, that is a good moment to talk “science fiction”, which is just sharing the new technology, how advance it is and how much we are now using cutting edge technology that works how it supposed to work, like video on demand as opposed to DVD or VHS crap.
Using examples like when Mr. Westinghouse in the early 1900s proposed factory owners to forget about their teams of engineers running big electric generators to run the machines and connect to the grid, the same exact thing is happening now.
I remember when we upgraded our physical infrastructure to embrace virtualization, I just used the example of the calculator we use in Windows, is not a real one is just a virtual calculator, with servers the same logic applies. Yes the temptation is always there to explain the details the benefits, but if it is more efficient and cost effective that is good enough.

Posted in Management.

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