The technical skills are the foundation that every award winning software or application is built on. However, the users just do not need to understand the process involved in making them.
Empathy is an essential non technical skill for engineers and technicians worldwide. Technical empathy highlights an important factor in the relationship between technological developers and the people that use the developed products. They are usually focused on vary parts of the same thing.
A lot of people complain that product developers work without having the eventual users in mind. They ignore the needs of the users.That is a very basic scenario that results because of a lack of technical empathy. Workiva defines technical empathy as the ability to understand and relate with the technical know how of some one else. It is the ability to look at the technical world through another person's eyes. Technical developers have to understand that the eventual users of their products do not work based on implementation details but would rather judge through delivery and output. Technical empathy is you knowing that the depth of your technical know how does not matter if you do not deliver the product your users want.
The process and work that goes into technical projects is important. However, all this only matters if the output is relevant to the user. If a developer has technical empathy, he or she will understand this and will pay more attention to output and value rather than the process of implementation. A developer that has technical empathy should be more focused on producing a successful product than on writing a great series of code. He or she must also make sure that their PO the value that the project will add to the eventual users. The developer must also evaluate the acceptance criteria of the tickets they are working since that will act as a guide to what they are providing to the end users. Like I said earlier, developers should come to terms with the story of the project they are working and the factors that make it important. Their focus should be on improving performance rather than the process of implementing them.
It is essential for a good developer to have technical skills but they should also work with the knowledge that these skills are there for them to deliver a good product for their users.
Technical empathy allows them to focus on a user friendly product. The emphasis is on the task at hand; be it a meeting, a code or a design. That is the yard stick for measuring true technical know how, not an emphasis on technical details. All attention should rather be on providing users with useful tools. Like I said earlier, technical empathy does not mean that technical skills are irrelevant or that developers should not be creative about what they do. These technical skills are the foundation that every award winning software or application is built on. However, the users just do not need to understand the process involved in making them.
For instance, I would like to have a personal physician that is knowledgeable in his craft and that is always looking for ways to improve on his skills. It is important for him to have a solid knowledge base in his profession. However, when it comes right down to it, all I ever really want to know is can he fix my cough and cold? Can he make my bouts of migraine go away? Can he repair my broken foot?To me, his knowledge base is just an abstraction. I don't know how he solves my health issues and frankly, I don't seem to care much. All I know is that I had a broken foot yesterday, today I'm playing soccer.
All the physician has to do is play some really nice music and tell me to relax. Then the problem is gone. That is basically what we want from developers. We want you to be courteous enough to know that we do not have your knowledge or skill set. A lot of us don't want to either. All we want is a product that does not shove all these technicalities down our throat.
The question now for every technical developer is how much he or she can communicate with a person without technical know how. Also, do you know why you have been tasked with the ticket or project you are currently working on? Can you defend the importance and value of the project when your PO is not around?
Questions like this should be answered easily by a developer with technical empathy. This will enable technical developers to come up with amazing products that will be embraced by the users. However, schools of thought are divided on the issue of technical empathy.
It was only when these products became popular that people started to find use for them. If technical empathy had been employed, these products would not have existed because there was no identifiable need for them. However, I would advice that developers take the time out to adopt an empathic approach. This is not just good for the user, it will reflect on the overall success of the project.
looking for ways to improve skills
Communicate with a person without technical know how
Project you are currently working on
Questions should be answered easily
It has been argued by people that great developers do not always work with empathy. John Carmack and Linus Torvalds have been cited as prime examples of this.
They say that the developer does not always have to talk less and listen more. They say that there are some products that would have been considered irrelevant before they were introduced into the mainstream market.
I would advice that developers take the time out to adopt an empathic approach. This is not just good for the user, it will reflect on the overall success of the project.
The question now for every technical developer is how much he or she can communicate with a person without technical know how.
Some argue that empathy is a time consuming process that leads to the sacrifice of creative freedom and expression of technical know how. It is argued that empathy is not a skill that can be acquired. When developers have to work with technical expertise, they might and up providing sub par results.
Technical expertise should not be prioritized higher than technical, at least that is what people that believe it is not necessary say. They say that the developer does not always have to talk less and listen more. They say that there are some products that would have been considered irrelevant before they were introduced into the mainstream market.
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