You Just Don't Understand Me: Interdisciplinary Awareness to the Rescue

Michael Tholfsen, Microsoft Corporation

Different disciplines and departments in an organization often have the same goals, but often misunderstand one another. We have all heard someone say about another group, "Those people are clueless." The irony is that "those people" are saying the same thing back under their breath. Within the software disciplines, poor understanding, lack of communication, and unfortunate stereotyping are often commonplace. Presenting a new concept and team exercise called Interdisciplinary Awareness, Mike Tholfsen helps us focus on the importance of team dynamics in building good software. With case studies from both Microsoft Office and Windows teams, Mike shows how they built stronger trust within and between teams. Incorporate this exercise in your group and discover how interdisciplinary awareness can lead to greater understanding and appreciation, a stronger sense of team, and a higher degree of trust.

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