Effective communication is a crucial component of any project, and it’s especially vital for project managers and developers to work together effectively. Despite best efforts, certain blind spots can impede communication and hinder progress. In this blog, we will explore the top five blind spots that can obstruct communication interactions between project managers and developers and offer ways to overcome them.

Assumptions and Expectations

The most common blind spot in project communication occurs when expectations are not set and team members are forced to make assumptions about what is expected of them, which can lead to delays and misunderstandings.

For example, a project manager might assume that a particular task is being handled by a developer, but the developer is unaware of it. This can lead to the task being neglected or delayed, causing a ripple effect on other project tasks. Alternatively, a developer might believe that a certain deadline can be met, but without confirming it with the project manager, the developer may be setting unrealistic expectations.

To overcome this blind spot, project managers should clarify expectations and set clear goals. Regular communication with team members can help ensure that everyone is on the same page. For instance, daily meetings can help prevent assumptions and enable team members to seek clarification when needed. Developers should also ask questions and seek clarification when unsure about anything.

By addressing expectations, project managers and developers can work together more effectively to achieve project success. Clear communication, regular check-ins, and a willingness to seek clarification can prevent misunderstandings and keep everyone on track towards the project’s goals and timelines.

Results and Solutions

Overpromising results is another blind spot that can undermine successful project communication. Project managers may promise specific results or solutions without confirming it’s feasibility, leading to unrealistic expectations and ultimately project failure. For example, a project manager may promise a specific feature without consulting the development team, leading to an unrealistic solution and a subpar product. This could damage the reputation of the project team and the company if it can’t be delivered.

To avoid this communication pitfall, project managers should discuss project constraints and limitations with the development team before making promises. By collaborating, project managers can ensure that achievable objectives are set, which will lead to improved communication and a higher chance of project success.

Language & Jargon

Language and jargon can be a significant barrier to effective communication, especially when team members have diverse backgrounds and cultures. While some team members may be familiar with technical language and industry jargon, not everyone on the team may be.

For instance, a developer may use technical language and acronyms that are unfamiliar to a non-technical team member, leading to confusion and miscommunication. For this reason, developers should use clear and concise language and avoid technical jargon when possible. They should provide explanations for specialized terms or acronyms to ensure everyone understands the message. Project managers should also feel comfortable asking for clarification when they don’t understand something. Using plain language and promoting open communication will help team members avoid misunderstandings and work together more effectively.

Responsibilities and Commitments

Responsibilities and commitments can greatly vary for individuals across projects and often team members will be working on multiple projects at the same time. When assigning work, it is critical to account for other obligations but project managers might not always be aware of other these other obligations, so it is important for developers to raise any concerns about workload and work with the team to delegate tasks as needed.

When other obligations are not accounted for, an individual can find themselves with more tasks than they can realistically achieve. The most effective way to avoid this is for developers to be mindful of outstanding obligations and communicate those to the project manager to either delegate or reprioritize tasks. If workload concerns are not raised, then it can result in work not happening either on the project or on a different project.

Issue Management and Resolution

Issue management and resolution is another communication blind spot that can impede success for project managers and developers. The tendency to ignore issues or brush them under the rug can lead to confusion, slowdowns, misunderstandings and delays.

To overcome this, project managers and developers should address issues directly, communicate transparently, and collaborate. For example, if a developer discovers a critical bug in the code, they should immediately report it to the project manager. In turn, the project manager should communicate the issue to the team and work together to find a solution, such as revising the project timeline or prioritizing the solution. By addressing issues head-on and working collaboratively, project managers and developers can prevent misconceptions, improve communication, and ensure project success.

Additionally, project managers can set up a reporting system where developers can report any issues they find in a timely manner. A reporting system can be as simple as a form developers fill out when they discover an issue or it can be a more complex program that automatically logs bugs when reported and assigns them to the appropriate team member for resolution.

So, What’s Next?

It’s worthwhile to remember that effective communication is not only about speaking clearly but also about listening actively. By actively listening to each other, project managers and developers can build trust and foster a collaborative work environment. Moreover, open, transparent, and effective communication helps prevent team members from feeling overwhelmed, misunderstood, or undervalued.

Whether it’s clarifying expectations, avoiding technical jargon, delegating tasks, or managing issues transparently, communication is the key to successful collaboration. With the right approach, project managers and developers can overcome communication blind spots and work together to deliver high-quality projects on time and within budget. Good communication is the foundation of any successful project, and it’s something that everyone can learn to do well with practice and effort!