We've just finished a session at BarCamp Sydney. I rocked up to see an empty board, so I proposed To hack code, first hack people.... The idea is that often it's not the code that creates barriers to success, it's the people involved. Perhaps they're resisting, perhaps they're not engaging with the process or they simply can't express what they want to achieve with technology.

Here's my take on some points the group came up with...

  • Don't hack code without a reason - find what the people want first, sort out the goals.
  • Be open to being wrong - if you push your agenda, you may discover that there's a good reason not to go down a certain path. Don't be so engrossed in your own agenda that you become inflexible.
  • If someone is resisting an idea or change, first understand why they are resisting. They may have an excellent reason, or they may simply be scared, or they may just need to understand the idea better.
  • To hack code, you must be able to empathise with people
  • Coders/geeks need to take their clients/users best interests to heart
  • Make people feel safe. Build trust with them, build rapport, then start working. People are often afraid that they're paying for something that won't do what they want.
  • Doctors need a good bedside manner, geeks need their own version - webside manner?
  • It is our responsibility to make things work, not the user's responsibility.
  • We must demystify technology - tell people what it will do, not how it's coded.
  • Simplify, don't dumb down.
  • Don't build for "everyone", build for your specific target market.
  • Geeks... we cannot avoid people! Get over it!