And a readers question about how to talk about business outcomes in enterprises

Last Update: 22.06.2018. By Jens in Developers Life | Learning | Newsletter

Reader Paul chimed in on yesterdays email and was wondering how one can talk business oriented in an enterprise environment. That’s a good question and a tough one.
If you work with smaller clients, the chance is higher that your work directly with the business owner or at least with someone involved in the business. Someone who cares. It is a totally different game in larger corporations. There is no single business owner anymore. There are multiple and their goals often do not align. And that goes along down the line to your dev position.

On each level, people have multiple goals. Their own and some set by the bosses. So, when we start talking business-oriented questioning, we need to keep in mind who we are talking to. The business guy next door has as less power as you. However, they might have a good standing with their boss. And this is the point where it gets complex. Those guys have more than one goal. Sometimes, their personal goals do not align with the company goals or the goal (e.g. revenue) set by their superiors. If you figure out those, sometimes hidden, goals, you can use this knowledge and influence discussion in your way.

In the minimum version, you’ve got probably three players along with you. The business guy you work with, his boss and your boss. 3 Players, 3 different goal sets and at least one set you can’t neglect, the goals of your boss. If you work against him, you’d better have the defense of someone higher.

It’s politics. Use it at your own risk.

It is optional though. You can also just do your thing and stop getting mad because they require stupid things like why a whole dev team implemented one feature which just one single guy in the whole company uses twice a year… Or why an dev implements a tiny feature in 10 dev hours which are way more expensive as paying an intern doing this 4 times a year. For a low risk task…

It’s not rational anymore. That makes devs mad :-)


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