“Ideally, the developers and I are to work closely together during the design phase… but it typically works out that they gloss over the document or attend a few meetings and get a basic understanding of what we are planning on doing, but never pay attention to the full details. Then they tend to come to me with questions or ‘Are you crazy? I can’t do that!’ when it’s time for them to put together a timeline for their development assessment.”
I don’t know the full context in which this designer works, so I don’t want to be too accusatory, but it seems to me that s/he isn’t taking enough initiative in establishing solid communications with the development team. We can’t afford to just expect developers to show up at our meetings or assume that they will thoroughly digest an entire specification. Sure, some may, but there are competing time-sinks. We need to schedule time to huddle with developers, individually if need be, to walk them through the design. Force the discussions about feasibility, technical challenges, complexity, thoroughness of the spec, and so forth. We can’t blame developers for a lack of attention if we don’t actively engage them during the initial design phase.