Mind The Gap – Overcoming the “Management Gap”

By | April 5, 2013

screamHave you ever had to sit down and explain to management the hows/whys starting from the very very basics of how a technology works? To the point you just want to scream?

It can be a frustrating, time-consuming, seemingly non-productive experience which can be compounded even more the bigger the knowledge gap (or “management gap” as I am calling it).

In the web world (and even the I.T. world) we casually throw out tech terms. REST, Ajax, MVC, etc. And that makes sense to each other, but how do you even approach this with management or peers who have no concept of the fundamentals, but who are the decision makers?

I know of many people in the field that suggest just forgetting it and look for another job. And, I get that. Maybe you don’t have the desire to address the problem and it definitely is the easier way through.

But, what can you do if you DO want to attempt to make it better?

Here are some strategies I’ve found. If you have some to add please share in the comments as well.

In I.T. we deal with this one all the time. On twitter recently someone tweeted about developers: “You might know a lot, but you don’t know everything”. My addition to this is if  our minds are so great why can’t we keep our own emotions in check enough to just have some patience? If we can’t do that then maybe we aren’t as great as we think we are.

Admittedly I have been guilty of this many times. I have lost my cool and felt that superiority before, but I’m aware and trying to work on it. It takes time.

Don’t Talk Down
This is a hard one too. Talk to them with compassion and give them some dignity. It will go a long way in fostering your working relationship.

Guide Them
It might be all you can do not to pull your hair out and want to run to your office and tune everyone out. Problem is you are still all in it together and the problem will just get worse rather than better.

Instead offer to have them sit down with you for a step-by-step. Offer some training. Point is if you not at least attempting to inform then you’re really not doing anything to help the problem either.

Share Their Frustration
Technology can be difficult and it’s changing constantly. Relate your experiences. Remember what it was like when somebody helped you when you were new. It might give you a little more compassion and will definitely make dealing with them better.

There is no silver bullet and I do believe there are some gaps that are too great, especially if they are unwilling or there are roadblocks such as time or just plain ability.

All I can say is give it a shot and maybe things will get better.

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