November 2, 2015 — As web designers and developers, we often focus on the technical aspects of our jobs. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with an important part of a project – communication with our clients. It is an often overlooked piece of the puzzle, but it is directly correlated with outcomes and how the client feels we did our job. In this talk, we will look at communicating with clients and managing expectations in three broad phases of a project – pitching/planning, development, and launching/troubleshooting. Specifically, we will look at steps that will make the client feel involved and important. This level of involvement and communication will help keep clients happy through the entire process, giving us an outstanding outcome.
October 9, 2015 — If you make WordPress sites for a living, you’ve probably worked with clients, and you’ve probably been through the occasional tough project. Collaborating with your clients and forming a true alliance with them is delicate art. But, this talk won’t focus on what seems to go wrong with these collaborations –– it will focus on how to get it right.
We’ll compare assumptions that developers and clients often bring to a project, and look at how they are similar in some ways (e.g., the excitement of creating something new) and different in others (e.g. features that may strike clients as simple, but are actually difficult to build, and situations where developers assume a content management task will be easy for the clients, when it’s actually heinous).
We’ll also talk about a comparative wish list of skills and attitudes developers and clients tend to wish the other had, and we’ll talk about the anatomy of an ideal collaboration and the sorts of shared ideas and exchanges that can happen at every phase of a typical web product cycle, especially the initial discovery phase, where we identify the known knowns, the known unknowns, and as many of the unknown unknowns as we can.
October 6, 2015 — Every technically minded person needs to know how to communicate technical knowledge clearly and effectively. This talk examines the fundamentals of “explaining hard things to humans,” including:
– What makes technical communication uniquely difficult, and uniquely important.
– Avoiding two major impediments to technical communication: arrogance (relating to gaps in knowledge as a hassle or irritation) and breeziness (attempting to gloss over gaps in knowledge).
– How and why to make technical communication both audience-aware and strategic – tailored to both the knowledge level of the audience and the goal of the communication.
– The value of analogies in technical communication.
– Principles of clear technical writing.
August 3, 2015 — The Principles of Effective Technical Communication – This talk summarizes things I’ve learned over the past 18 months writing WordPress tutorials at WPShout, as well as co-writing an e-book and screencast series on WordPress development. It describes principles for communicating technical knowledge clearly and effectively.
July 3, 2015 — Communication between WordPress professionals and non-technical clients is an age old problem that eats up budget, leads to unmet expectations and prevents us from delivering superb results. I’ll talk about the aha moment I had in the middle of a client conversation that led to the birth of Rollerblade (rollerbladeapp.com), review some common client problems and offer solutions.