The power of a listening developer in a software development project - Full Stack (2023)

What is listening?

What is listening sounds like a really easy question to answer, but when you take a look at what listening is really about there is a lot more under the surface.

Listening is not just about hearing the word someone says but also interpreting them and building the idea that is being conveyed to you. This is where active listening comes in. To understand a conversation and allows you to respond meaningfully.

Why do I mention responding meaningfully, we are discussing listening and not speech, right? Well, that’s the thing. To actively listen we need to ask questions to open up the idea, to gain a greater understanding of what is being conveyed to us as the listener.

Some people excel at listening and others don’t, but that does not mean that is a static line.

What do I mean by this? Listening is a soft skill that can be learned and it requires practice to perform with higher proficiency subsequently it is also a skill that can be lost if you do not take the time to foster it.

Active listening? How do I do this?

Listening actively is not that difficult. To actively listen you need to be present in the moment and give your full attention to what is being said and process what is being said and how it is being said. With the information you just received you can ask your own questions to clarify what was being said or to restate some of the core concepts that you understand to let the other person know you are listening.

When asking these questions you need to make sure that they are meaningful. Any meaningful question you ask could be helpful to your understanding of the project and could help the speaker to reflect and give extra clarification or you can even help them remember something they may have forgotten to mention.

This will not only help you gain perspective and clarity but will also foster the relationship with team members or even the client which will only be a good thing during the development of the project.

What are the types of listening?

There are a few types of listening and these can help you to improve your listening skill.

Deep listening.

Deep listening occurs when you are committed to understanding the verbal and non-verbal communication that is being conveyed to you. By listening in this way you will be able to strengthen the relationship.

This is important to a project because the relationship between team members is important for the success of any given project because people are more willing to help and put in extra effort when the relationship is strong. This does not only apply to team members but to the client and management.

As a developer, you also listen to and communicate with clients and if done correctly you will be able to build more client trust purely through the act of listening.

Full listening.

Full listening is when you are paying close and careful attention to the speaker. It would also be useful to either paraphrase or directly quote what the speaker has said. This will not only ensure that the speaker knows you understand what they are trying to convey but you will also be able to catch misunderstandings as early on as possible.

Before writing this article I did not know anything about full listening but I found that this is one of my favorite forms of listening purely because it put me as the developer more at ease when I am able to understand what a manager or client is saying and then simply conveying what they said back to them. To some, it might seem like a waste of time, but it is the easiest way for both parties to know what the other person was able to grasp during the conversation and this will lead to a strong understanding of the ideas that are being conveyed.

This can also help within a team for example if a team leader verbally assigns you a task you can repeat or paraphrase (with a slight hint of a questioning tone) what the team leader said back to them and this will assure you and your team leader that you understand their instruction or it can be an opportunity to fill in missing knowledge sooner rather than later.

Just a side note don’t reconvey everything just the important parts.

Critical listening.

Critical listening is about systematic reasoning and careful thought about what the speaker is conveying. It is an extremely important skill to have to be able to analyze the details and the facts of what is being said.

Critical listening is extremely important in a software development project because as a developer you must be able to form a clear and concise idea of what the project is and what it is supposed to be. Every person on your team will benefit from this.

When critical listening is applied stories would be more fleshed out and tasks would have more detail all of this would lead to effective production and all you need to do is listen critically.

Therapeutic listening.

Therapeutic listening is about being empathetic and supportive of the speaker.

This skill is honestly extremely important for not only you but for your team. Listening to your team and being supportive will improve the morale of the team and will improve the relationships within the team.

Why is listening so important to a project?

Listening is of great importance because it will be one of the deciding factors of a project’s success.

Why do I say this? Well, if the requirements, purpose, and ultimate objectives are not understood the development of a project will be hindered and stalled due to lack of understanding.

This is why active listening is so important to the project. When the team and a client are able to effectively communicate and get the core ideas across the project stands a much higher chance of on-time delivery and ultimate project success.

We can not stop at communication with the client, as within the team listening is extremely important for the team to organize and focus on what needs to be done and to have an understanding of the state of the project. This will also help not only themselves but also the team as a whole.

By listening you will be able to be more productive, as your understanding of the task at hand will be greater and will reduce the need for clarity to be received for the task.

Some might say wait what about the other people? We can’t leave the QA team out of the discussion when we talk about a listening developer. This part of the project is also one of the most important parts because when developers and the QA team communicate they need to communicate the correct information for bugs to be solved and that information must be effectively understood by the developer.

So what is the power of a listening developer?

So what is the power of a Listening developer then? Well, it turns out that this listening is really important.

From what has been said above we can see that a listening developer that takes their time to improve their listening skills will not only have an impact on their team members but also on managers and maybe even the client.

Every developer should in my opinion be a listening developer. You need to make time to improve your listening skill. Not only for relationship building but also for the overall success of any project that you work on.

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