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For Nondesigners

What we do see depends mainly on what we look for.... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.

SIR JOHN LUBBOCK1

THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE in the organization besides designers who are interested in learning to talk about design. Stakeholders from every level see a gap in communication with their own team and seek out resources to help them work with us and make better products together. It’s no secret that designers have a difficult time getting around in today’s organizations. In particular, the designer-developer relationship can become particularly tenuous when these two people don’t see eye to eye.

I’ve had teams ask me, “How can we work together more effectively?” Executives ask me, “Can you teach me to work with our designers?” These people understand the value of having good working relationships, and the key to maintaining it in a technology-driven sector is to focus on clear communication. Most often, people become upset and projects become difficult when two or more people fail to communicate. Miscommunication results in missed expectations. Missed expectations leads to disappointment and distrust. We want to prevent this from happening!

Even when communication doesn’t appear to be constrained, the way you approach and talk with designers has an ...

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