Sending e-mail was a new and perfect way of communicating. Superfast (when we compare it to regular mail), cheap and easy. But these days are over. Especially when you are working in a team, this isn't the way to communicate with each other anymore!
Some things what has happened to this medium:
People are added to easily, without choice. Nowadays the "CC" culture has been growing bigger. Just adding you to an e-mail in the CC, so you are informed. Lots of people just redirect them to their trash bins. This makes it useless.
Mail excludes people. When you are forgotten to be added, there is no way that you are can be added. When added later in a mail threat, reading through the former e-mails is chaos.
People are using the medium as "slow chat". Short messages are sent to each other through e-mail.
Finding what you are searching for is getting more difficult. There is so much content that isn't structured in any way.
Just some examples of why this isn't the way we should want to communicate anymore.
What steps to take for the practice
In the last project, we had lots of difficulties with the way we were talking to each other. Different mediums and tools were used for different purposes. This resulted in double and sometimes triple communication and made us not that effective as we could be.
Last month we started a new project with a new team. Before we started working together, we made some clear rules about how we would be communicating with each other. The most important rule of all: DO NOT use e-mail.
Start using a different way of communication. In your team, make clear what kind of tools you will be using for what purpose. We choose to use daily stand-ups to do a quick update about what we are working on and if we have any impediments. Super effective and doesn't take more than 15 min a day. Next to this, registration of our work is done in Trello (but all planner tools are ok). Documents are stored in Office365 and the Wiki within teams is used for knowledgebase (things you don't want to forget). And last, we use Slack to communicate quickly. The last one is especially effective. You can create channels that you can join and leave whenever you want. You can start a thread on a channel, so everything is organized and combined. Nobody is in/excluded anymore, because you are in control of what you see and what you don't (want to) see.
The best thing about this way of communication is that everything is transparent. Everything is searchable for everyone. But, the most important thing with using a tool like Slack: don't use the one on one chat. The power of using this is that everybody can read and search for all the content. By communicating in the group, you will get more understanding and probably also better discussions!
So: STOP using email, START using (different) tools were they are made for!
More engagement, a better understanding of the whole project
Less distraction, because you choose what you want to read
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