One of the most important things I have encountered on any project is “communication.” Usually overlooked, it is the one thing that can hold a team together. The lack of talking to one another can lead to any batch of problems, as you can imagine, but what I really want to talk about is “language.”
There will be situations where you will be working for a company that does communicate to some extent, yet ideas aren’t mingling and people are running around confused. (Just to clarify, this is not my current situation but just an example.) This situation is about “language.” I remember going to high school and taking lots of English courses so I would be prepared to write papers in college. I got to college as an art major and quickly came to the incorrect conclusion that I didn’t need those classes. Now that I am in the work force I am happy I did.
Everyday I am faced with a situation where I am talking to a coworker and need to get my thought across or just need to understand what they are trying to convey to me. A list of adjectives are thrown around like confetti, in either of these situations, and they have to make sense. This is where “language” comes in stumbling with a martini. This is probably an artist talking to a technical person or vice versa. 3D people have a chance sometimes, but really its all Geek to me.
My favorite conversation like this was about the word “model.” Go up to a modeler and ask them to define model and they will respond with something to the effect of: 3d sculpture, mesh, or a batch of polygons creating a cohesive object bound by points and/or vertices. (I made up these definitions) Go up to a programmer (which I am not) and you will hear something more along the lines of: something along the lines of a complex system. (Again I made up the definition and please don’t kill me.) Both examples are just examples, but none the less you get my point. That conversation lasted a day with the modelers making some headway since we were already using the word for something else in our daily activities. That was our only arsenal in the argument.
This is really a message to the art minded. When you have the chance to find out what the more technical minded are talking about, take that advantage. Don’t be scared to ask what words mean. Most likely that person will be completely happy telling you, because you are showing interest in their profession. Programmers know that artists are special to some extent and we usually feel the same about them. We have to work together everyday, and wouldn’t you want to know what they are jabbering about? Your life will be easier in the long run. You never know, someday you may end up in a lead position where you have to communicate with the other leads on the project. It would be best to know what they are talking about.