There are some great answers here to the (original, specific) question, but as currently posed :
What can I do to better understand the most common concepts from
another profession so that I can communicate and work more effectively
with professionals and colleagues from that field, without actually
learning their profession?
I would suggest this is an example of a wider situation I have frequently encountered, and not just in the software industry. From my perspective, the goal of the OP is to create an effective, multi-discipline team in as short a time as possible.
The key barriers to this are usually getting an understanding of the workflow processes the other profession uses, as well as the jargon that is employed.
It tends to be a lot harder when dealing with areas that are distinct and separate, but a “layperson” would see as the same – geology and geophysics for example – perhaps as part of the need for a separate identity can orginate when people are first trained.
I’ve resolved this in a number of ways (as team member, leader, and manager) and while self-education (via books, videos, blogs, articles) and one-on-one discussions have played their part, we’ve also put some other key things into play that might be worth thinking about.
- we have an in-house Wiki that’s used to define jargon, terminology, workflows and process. Its part of making what we do robust, but it’s a great place to start.
- we send people on (formal) training courses (an introduction to XXX)
- we have the occasional, short presentations on how/why people work in certain ways
For small, agile (in the non-coding sense!) teams that are reliant on technical experts working well together, these approaches can help shave some time of the learning curve.
I would suggest, however, that all “factions” of the team need to meet in the middle for this to be effective.
From an organisational standpoint it can be useful to get management buy-in, especially if training or "overhead" time is needed. This can be a challenge, however hopefully they will see the need to be able to create an effective, robust and scalable multi-disciplinary group.