Today many specialists agree that your communication skills and business ethics are as important for the success of the project as your technical knowledge. Being proactive is probably one of the most important communication skills you can have. So let’s have a look what it is all about and why it is so important to be proactive.

What does being proactive mean?

OK, if being proactive so important, I’m ready for it. But what does it actually mean?
The notion ‘proactive’ exists hand by hand with ‘reactive’. They both describe the way you react to an error, mistake or any other issue that raises up. Let’s have a look at the differences in the behavior.
proactive scheme
As you see, being reactive means trying to fix the issue as soon as possible, whereas proactive behavior is a more grown-up approach, where you discuss the whole situation and share the responsibility.

What is wrong with being reactive?

Being reactive means that when you find an issue, you are trying to fix it without telling anybody about it. Basically it means you are trying to hide your mistake and look perfect in the eyes of your customer. But nobody is perfect and, you know, there is nothing wrong about it.
Being reactive often means acting in a rush. And rush never helped anyone to make good decisions. Absence of time and introduction of poor technical solutions will lead to even bigger amount of issues, which can start the fire of bugs and issues. And you can be sure that your customers will notice that. And you will be the only one responsible for the whole mess and inability to take charge.

So how to act proactive?

Being proactive means working in close cooperation with the customer and inform him about all the issues that appear. The only reason why some people tend to not act proactive is that they are afraid customers will think poor of their skills if they tell them about mistakes.
But in reality it works vice versa: if it was you to find the error, clients see it as an additional area of responsibility you have. It is you who found the bug, not them, so you did only a good thing. So no need to worry about talking about your mistakes, besides, there’s nothing wrong about it, if you can admit and fix them.
So if you found the issue, follow these steps of proactive behavior:

  1. Figure out what are the roots of the problem
  2. Find a good solution
  3. Write email to a customer, where you explain the following things:
    1. What the issue is (avoid plenty technical details, focus on business)
    2. What are the reasons of it (again in plain language)
    3. What the solution you suggest
    4. How much time it would take
    5. Show your confidence in the selected solution, ability to solve the issue (never let your customer panic)
  4. Discuss the options and get an approved scenario of the behavior
  5. Act upon it and keep the customer informed

Working upon the described scheme, you won’t be the only one responsible for the solution and will keep the whole process transparent. And we all know how close cooperation is important.

Besides, if you later have issues with the deadline, it would be easier to explain to customer why you needed a few days to fix the issue. And last but not the least, you will have the issue documented, so if any other developer (or even you) will face with the similar issue later, you will have where to look at the solution.

We in Rubyroid Labs believe that being proactive is extremely important. And what about you?

 

Questions? Comments? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below.


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Business Analyst at Rubyroid Labs

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