How many meetings have you been in where the technical personnel start talking about the database, sizing, storage, partitioning, indexes, staging, ETL, programs, operations or performance – and the business users in the group look perplexed?
When you're meeting or gathering requirements with business users, "techno lingo" can sure make them feel awkward. I choose to speak using business terminology, not tables. For example, sometimes I ask the business person to "tell me the story" of the enhancements or requirements for this specific project. This puts them at ease, and allows a dialogue to start. I usually do not allow technical people in the initial meetings with the business people, but may include a few later as the design progresses. The reason is, I do not want my business person to feel intimidated by the technical staff.
Here is an example: once I was at a client’s office, in a conference room with the business personnel. We were prioritizing requirements that we'd gathered a week earlier using a facilitated session in the same format. All of a sudden, the database administrator started talking and interjecting his opinion on which requirement should be completed first. All the business people just GOT QUIET and just stared blankly at each other. This put me in quite a predicament, especially since I was sitting next to the DBA. So I grabbed the meeting back by saying, “While the technical work for these requirements will be prioritized, we must first hear what the business thinks is the highest priority.” The DBA chose to be silent after that. MAYBE IT WAS THE WAY I LOOKED AT HIM! HAHAHA.