When you are a technical person working directly with non-technical people, your job is not just to write the code but to help educate as best as you can (without being condescending) and to understand what the end goals are. Requests almost always have a reason behind them and, sometimes, the request is a XY Problem where what they are requesting is a solution to the problem that they see with their understanding of the system. Sometimes, simple requests like "Can we export to excel?" hide the actual problem "This table doesn't show totals ."
If a request comes down that is NOT feasible like "I want my Youtube views and FB share counts to show on Twitter" you need to:
- explain why it is not doable
- determine the actual goal
- offer an alternative if possible.
You: Unfortunately, we aren't able to do that because Twitter doesn't let us manipulate the counts, but why do you need twitter to have Youtube views and Facebook shares?
Boss/Manager: Because our page shows the Twitter button but it doesn't include most of our shares.
You: Okay, we a have couple options then:
- we can add FB / Youtube buttons also
- or we can pull numbers via the apis and show them separately
Is this so user's can see popular articles?
Boss: Not really, right now our authors like to look at the page to see their shares for motivation, but they have to go to Youtube and FB directly.
You: Perhaps, we can make a dashboard for the authors to see?
Frequently, the business person doesn't care how something is done so any direction on how something is done is usually them offering a solution to a problem with only partial knowledge.
You need to get into the habit of finding out the why for the rest of your career. At the beginning of a career you have to do this extremely diplomatically, but later in your career or after you gain respect of the people you work with, you can be a little more blunt. (At this point in my career, if I get a request or question out of left-field and don't understand why it's being asked, I won't answer until I understand why it is being asked. Occasionally, it can cause them to react rather negatively, but, in most cases, they understand why I do it and become used to it.)