re: I have been a professional developer for 31 years and I'm 53 now, Ask Me Anything! VIEW POST

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Hello John, how do you communicate with people who do not understand programming, I'm going through the challenge of how to estimate the time I'll spend on one task and announce progress to other departments?

 
  1. Don't use jargon. If you overwhelm anyone with language they don't understand then you're not communicating.
  2. If it's not something you've ever built before, make it clear that any estimates you make may not be very accurate. A builder who has built many homes can give you a pretty good estimate on building another house. A builder who has built many homes and who now has to build a commercial restaurant may give a not so great estimate.
  3. Just telling people a percentage may not be very realistic. Often developers think something is 80% done because they've gotten the most obvious parts working. But edge cases and the uncompleted hard stuff can end up not being 20% of the work but 50%+. So you thought you were 80% done but really only 40-50%. It might be better to give them a list of the tasks you've still got to do and if they're each broken out into what will hopefully be no more than three days per task, the estimate may be a better one (and also communicate more of what you have left to do vs. what you've already accomplished).
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