Stories of CCX
Why a Salesforce Developer Values Clarity in Communication
Transparency is tricky to define in business. Pretty much everyone agrees that it’s necessary for a healthy work environment, but there is less consensus on what true transparency looks like and how it impacts the workspace. For Salesforce developer Radhika Eedara, it looks most like clear and open communication.
“Here, I can explain my problems clearly, not only with my leaders and managers but even with Vinay, I can freely communicate my thoughts,” she says, about her experience at CommerceCX. “I didn’t have that at my previous company.”
This atmosphere of clear communication has been integral in Radhika’s transition from product development to client-facing Salesforce development. It has allowed her to ask questions and receive support, feel assured that things are going smoothly, and makes her feel recognized. Even when issues come up, on a project or team level, Radhika says being informed helps her maintain motivation.
“Everyone is approachable,” she says about these moments. “I can closely see the process and I know we are facing problems, but I know the leads are facing the problems as well.”
Leadership expert Simon Sinek says that keeping people in the loop boosts morale and confidence in teams, helping folks understand each other’s perspective and thought process. Clear communication about issues and obstacles makes Radhika feel like her colleagues have her back.
“Radhika is a true scientist,” says senior developer Tanya Porter, who has worked with Radhika as a colleague and mentor. “She’s never afraid to ask questions.”
It also helps her do her best work with clients.
Asking questions and communicating clearly has been a major part of Radhika’s experience at CommerceCX. She considers it a principal responsibility of her role as a client-facing developer and leverages it daily to help understand clients’ needs and address problems.
“Everything used to go through my team lead,” she explains, about previous positions. “Even the support projects I used to work on, I got client notes through lead or support requests from customers, but not directly.”
In previous roles, Radhika and her colleagues would receive tasks from a project manager or team lead, often leaving her in the dark about why decisions were made. She says she appreciates being able to discuss issues directly with the person reporting them.
Researcher Brené Brown says clarity of message can be the difference between kindness and unkindness in the workplace, and that establishing a foundation of clear communication is integral to maintaining a good rapport and an atmosphere of trust.
“I prefer that direct contact, instead of having a middle person,” she says about her experience with both styles. “I like to go directly to a person and see what the problem is, so I can replicate the same steps without missing anything.”
Client work is very different from product development: working for a client means accommodating and incorporating external requests and feedback. Clients might change their minds about certain aspects of the project or request new functionality, meaning parameters can change mid-implementation and sometimes day-to-day. Understanding why these sudden changes are being made and having a direct line of communication helps reduce stress and makes the problem-solving process easier.
“They just create a bug report or ping me if it is very urgent and I can immediately see the problem and provide helpful answers, instead of going through different levels for a small issue.”
This clarity in communication helps Radhika give good feedback and results, but it’s also integral to learning, on both sides of the equation.
“The most effective developers are ones that aren’t afraid to reach out when they have a problem,” says Tanya, “Radhika is better at asking for help than a lot of people I know. Her questions are always very precise and it’s obvious that she takes the time to understand the issue she’s facing before she asks for help.”
A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved and part of the development process is understanding how to state a problem well. Radhika says that the ability to openly ask her colleagues questions has helped her and them grow as developers. Answering client questions does the same thing: Radhika says an integral part of working with clients is helping them understand how best to report a bug or describe an issue.
“Sometimes we need to teach them, ‘if you see a specific problem, here is what you need to provide in the bug report,’” Radhika explains. “And when they bring me that I can provide answers quickly as I am not spending time on gathering details through back and forth. This saves time for both me and client.”
Teaching members of the client how to more effectively communicate their issues helps build trust between the dev team and the client and increases efficiency by reducing the time necessary to solve problems. These communication channels also help Radhika and her team build confidence on both ends. Good communication helps demonstrate the impact developers make on clients and shows the client that their feedback is being incorporated and acted on.
Clear communication also builds trust between Radhika and the folks at CommerceCX. She says that transparency of the organization was one of the things that attracted her to CommerceCX and something that continues to motivate her. In previous positions, Radhika had very little insight into why decisions were made, on individual projects or on a company level.
“I didn’t need to understand the management side at all,” she says about her previous experience. “Everything was decided and they just distributed the work and we would do it.”
This opaque management style can be effective but has been shown to leave folks feeling frustrated and unmotivated. It’s difficult to follow a direction if you don’t know why the direction was chosen. At CommerceCX, the decision-making process is collaborative when possible and communicated when not. Radhika says that even when management communicates a problem or an issue, she appreciates them informing her anyway.
“Here, I can understand things from the management perspective,” she says. “I’m working closely with my leads and management and I can closely see the issues and the processes and problems.”
This brings to mind what Brené Brown said about clarity and kindness. Even when Radhika encounters an issue, clear communication around the issue helps her manage her work and her expectations. It all goes back to transparency.
“Management is really transparent, explaining how things are going on in projects and what they’re doing to help people,” she explains. “They help people in all aspects, try to make people more comfortable, and help accomplish their needs as well as the customers’.”
This article is part of our series Stories of CommerceCX, which seeks to collect and record employee experiences into a series of articles exploring their history and growth and how CommerceCX’s investment in goodwill and employees’ quality-of-life leads to positive business results. Read more Stories of CCX here.