Quality results come from quality interactions

Brad Appleton starts his new blog with a post The first thing to build is TRUST.

Agreed! If we want to deliver great software, we have to attend to building trust and relationship. The quality of interactions determines the quality of results.

Here are five pragmatic ways to improve interactions (and therefore results)

#1 Build a Foundation

Invest in getting to know the people you will work with. Expand your relationship beyond strictly business transactions. Talk to people when you don’t need something from them. And be willing to give as well as take.

#2 Focus on Interests Rather than Positions

A position is a proposed solution to a problem. An interest is as a concern related to why the problem needs to be solved in the first place. It’s easier to find mutually agreeable solutions when you look for common interests rather than argue a position.

#3 Seek Solutions Together

Mutually developed solutions are always better received than imposed solutions. Let other people get their finger prints on the idea.

#4 Communicate Face-to-Face Whenever Possible

Face-to-face is rich communication medium — we hear words and nuance, but also see facial expression, gesture, posture. Once we’re removed from face-to-face communication, we have less to go on. And less to go on, means its more likely we’ll mis-interpret. When a communication goes of track, move to a richer communication medium. (And work at untangling communication.)

#5 Make a Generous Interpretation

We make up meaning based on what we see and hear. So we might as well be generous. Making a generous interpretation of others actions gives more options for working effectively.

Improving working relationships doesn’t require group therapy or group hugs. But a little attention helps.