When hiring, many employers list communication skills as among the most essential competencies for a huge array of roles. You might think they wouldn’t be top of the list for a software development firm, so we asked some of our team to explain why good communication is an indispensable skill at Scott Logic, regardless of job title.
For a Developer...Good communication skills are often overlooked as a vital part of software engineering. It is incredibly rare in modern software development for any project to be completed by a single individual, which means developers have to be able to work as part of a team in order to succeed.
A common model is for members of a group to work individually on separate features, and merge their work at regular intervals. Whilst this model does allow parallel work, its results pale compared to those of a team that constantly collaborates. Pair programming sessions, shared design and swarming on tasks allow much greater gains than a parallel working model, but these techniques also rely on communication skills for excellence to be achieved.
David, Senior Developer
For a UX Designer...A UX Designer often works directly with a wide range of stakeholders through the development process. Communication skills are important to this, since they allow you to successfully capture, coordinate and understand information from all these varied sources. They also contribute to the effective presentation of design ideas, tailoring your message to different audiences.
Rui, UX Designer
For a Tester...Good communication is essential to solving problems and effective team working. It is essential in Agile development across all disciplines to enable team members to gain a shared understanding of the various aspects of what they are collectively delivering. For testers, being able to accurately inform the project of risks, and describe problems requires really good communication skills. Whether it be logging bugs, describing potential issues, reporting progress or questioning assumptions, as a tester it is important you communicate effectively to ensure all interested parties understand and can act accordingly.
Daniel, Lead Tester
For a project manager...For a project manager in any organisation I would argue that effective communication skills are one of, if not the most, important attributes if your project is to be a success. For a company like Scott Logic where we primarily work remotely from our clients, and the project team is often distributed across a number of sites, these skills become even more fundamental to successful project delivery.
Communication skills are both written and verbal. With respect to project governance, written communication skills are paramount in effectively communicating progress and any risks identified, usually through a weekly status report. Verbal communication skills are essential in allowing the project manager to build effective relationships based on trust and respect, with both project stakeholders and development teams alike. Finally let’s not forget the ability to listen and understand the meaning behind the words, from a project sponsor conveying the organisation’s vision, to a developer explaining a technical task in detail to help inform a decision-maker.
Paul, Project Manager
It can be easy to think of communication skills as more relevant to certain lines of work than others. However, as expressed by our team members above, collaboration is vital to all roles at Scott Logic, and key to successful collaboration is effective communication.