Re: Dealing with engineers' input

Subject: Re: Dealing with engineers' input
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 08:11:00 -0500

Comments on paper I can deal with; I'm talking about live interactions
here. About the best I can come up with myself is to listen carefully,
look them in the eye, and thank them for each suggestion. That may
carry enough of the appropriate implications. I'd appreciate any other
suggestions or war stories, though.

Best way is to be sure thank them openly and publicly for the helpful
suggestions you *do* use. They have a lot of themselves wrapped up in the
project, so they want to contribute. Be sure and acknowledge the worthwhile
contributions (overdo the praise, even -- it won't cost you anything) and
they'll accept the rejections of the bad ideas easier. The important thing is to
be sure they see you as willing to accept the good ideas. They'll realize that
not *all* their suggestions are good ones (just like they realize not all your
ideas on programming technique are good ones) and if they think the good ones
are being heard and acted on, they'll swallow the rejection of the bad ones.

And if they argue in favor of their (bad) idea for a while, don't take it
personally. Programmers are like that. They feel a need to justify everything.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.

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