We techies need to take the edge off once in a while.
As I've sought to improve the way we communicate with nontechies, I've recognized that we often resort to a surefire way to confound, if not irritate, them: We talk about what I call edge cases.
I do it all the time. Say a colleague makes a suggestion. If the idea sounds good, I start mentally wandering its edges, testing its validity. When I find an edge case where the idea wouldn't work, I blurt it out, wanting to show that I am giving the suggestion my full attention. To me, the edge case could indicate that there will be things that we'll need to address that aren't immediately apparent, or it could help prevent us from pursuing a path that would ultimately prove fruitless.
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