I’ve learned a lot in the years I’ve worked as a software developer, and one of my main goals working at a custom software development company is to be easy to work with. Being easy to work with is a mindset I believe all developers should adopt, regardless of where they work. In the end, we developers are all working towards the same goal of delivering the best solution possible, so why not make it easy for our clients and team members to get there? Here are five tips for becoming easier to work with:

1. Focus on phrasing

Replace the word “No” with a “Yes, if” phrase. If something cannot be done, explain the constraint. Is it because of a scheduling issue? A budget issue? Offer up an explanation and alternatives rather than just stopping at no. As a consultant, your job is to offer up solutions to problems, not to simply stop your thought process once a problem is identified.

2. Be available

People often say in sports, the best ability is availability, which is true for consultants. Even when you are very busy, you can still take a moment to provide a timeframe for when you’ll be able to respond. Transparent communication is key.

3. Be helpful

Never lose sight of the fact you have more than one skill and should strive to help your clients and team members in ways you may not initially think of. Don’t have expertise in a specific area? Research it or find someone to help. Often, you’ll surprise yourself with your abilities to solve problems even outside your comfort zone, and your team will thank you too.

4. Be flexible

We all know that software projects evolve as they progress. Priorities change, new ideas are discovered, designs get altered, etc. As the project evolves, each team member needs to evolve and adjust along with it for all involved to be successful. Being as flexible as you can is paramount to your success.

5. Don’t hold back ideas

Simply taking orders is no way to consult. Understand that you are involved in a project because you bring a valuable skill set and perspective to the table. Missing a chance to offer a different solution may be a missed opportunity to maximize your value on the team. Great consultants speak up and clearly present the merits of their ideas to show their clients that they are as invested in the success of their projects as they are.

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