I used a phrase in an email last week - "I don't want to burn my goodwill with the developers needlessly"
It just flowed from my fingers to the computer screen, so apparently it had been bouncing around in my brain for a bit.
Breaking this down:
1. I currently have goodwill with developers! I approach them with the attitude that we are a team, that this is our garden that we're planting and watering and weeding together. I value their hard work and appreciate the skills they have that I don't. My communications with them are not confined to bug reports. I ask questions rather than accuse. In return, they are honest with me and take time to explain details & to actually listen to my feedback instead of shooing me away like an annoying little sister.
2. Goodwill can be depleted More or less like a bank account. I try to have a high signal to noise ratio, so that when I submit a report or say something in a meeting, it's because I've thought about it enough that I'm fairly confident my words belong outside my head instead of just inside. I google before asking questions that pull them away from their work. I don't preemptively criticize or barrage them with issue reports on a brand new feature.
3. There is sometimes a need to "burn" goodwill If it is important to product quality, and I'm having a disagreement or miscommunication with a developer on a point, I will pull in a third party to either weigh in or act as a referee. I'll be increasingly blunt or say things in numerous different ways so that I'm satisfied all relevant parties understand my point.
And now, a song: