Edit: Motivation : The response I came up with was due to my experiences and observing the other much smarter technical people than me at the work place. Many times the interaction went something like this : Technical Person: Starts explaining the problem.... Non-Tec Person : I am not interested in the details, just tell me "When can you get it done?" or how long would Approach A take? followed by How long would the Approach B take?
By the way: I have been in both situations, were as a manager I really just needed to report back on progress and completion times, I had trust in the technical perosn, that all I really needed to know was "When?" or "Just layout the alternatives time cost".
So: Should every time start by laying out the details that the non-tech doesn't need or going straight to what they want to know and if they wonder about the basis of answer then explain it to them?
During a recent interview I was asked the question "How do you explain technical things to a non technical person?"
My Reply was : "Why? what is the point of explaining technical things to a non technical person?, instead of wasting their time with dumb down explanations wouldn't it be more beneficial to give them the information to them that helps them to make decisions?"
Considering : Non technical person usually means, Managers, Users, Owners etc. that have no interest in technical things to begin with and all they want to know is "How much? How soon? When would it be finished? What else do I need to buy? etc"
Seriously, what are the benefits of explaining technical things to non technical people if all they are interested is "When can I have it? How much more (time/money/man hours/etc.) is this thing going to cost me?"
I thought that is our job to hide (encapsulate) the technical and come up with what makes sense to the non technical people or we end up looking like a comical Sheldon when he explains String Theory to non Physicists.
I read this question and answers before posting, how ever I didn't see anything that looked at the question from functionality and benefits point of view, it is like asking how do you explain Refactoring to a Watermelon farmer. Yes, there are many ways to explain it with dumb down analogies, but what are the end benefits to the farmer?
Or You are having a brain surgery, do you want a simplified version of neural science or just the risks of having the surgery vs not having it? What is it going to cost you, what are most likely results at the end of it? will you still be able to walk, talk, if yes for how long? How does a dumbed down knowledge of Neuro Science help you to make a decision?