Two developers and a PM walk into a bar: Lessons learned over libations at last year’s HighEdWeb

This presentation focuses on the benefits of informal communication between developers and project managers, such as increased collaboration, better communication, faster problem-solving and more efficient workflows. We discuss how different roles (developers, project managers, etc.) can work together better by understanding each other’s roles and responsibilities and how effective communication can help bridge gaps in knowledge or expertise. Additionally, informal communication can lead to better team dynamics, greater creativity and improved morale. Informal communication fosters a culture of open communication between different roles, such as setting clear expectations, providing feedback, and promoting collaboration.


Attendees will gain insights into the topics and skills developers and project managers can learn from each other in informal communication with practical applications for their teams. This will help identify ways to build better and non traditional ways.

Some things developers could learn from casual conversations with a project manager are:

  • How to align their work with the project goals and priorities.
  • How to estimate their tasks and report their progress accurately.
  • How to handle feedback and change requests from clients and stakeholders.
  • How to balance quality and speed in software development.
  • How to cope with stress and uncertainty in software projects.

Some possible things that a project manager could learn from casual conversations with a developer are:

  • How to understand the technical challenges and risks involved in software development.
  • How to appreciate the creativity and passion that developers bring to their work.
  • How to empower developers to make decisions and take ownership of their work.
  • How to leverage developers’ feedback and suggestions for improving the project outcomes.
  • How to foster a positive and collaborative team culture among developers.


  • Susan Lazenby — The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • Steven Shelton — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Andrea Schurr — University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

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