Monday, September 1, 2008

Don't let email get in your way

When you have the need to communicate, do you feel email is easier? easier then text messaging? which is easier then phoning? which is easier then face-to-face? Why is that? Easy - it's less personal and less likely to require real thinking. An email is like a fire-and-forget type of communication, we know there's no one present to prohibit us from completing our entire thought (often short and one sided), no head shaking (in a negative way), no energy spent on personal relations ('how is your family?') and the most important aspect- we can ignore any feedback for some time (gee-sent the email and went to lunch, yep 9:30am a bit early, but I was working all night so I was hungry).

The overuse of email is a sure-sign of a project ready to fail or failing due to poor communication. Good communication starts with good relationship building - see the person, hear the person, know the person...if there is no way to 'get close' in a physical sense, make extra efforts with voice communication - make a video - STAY AWAY FROM EMAIL FOR COMMUNICATION. Just like any other endeavor - often you need to do the opposite of what you want to get the results:
  • face-to-face
  • phone
  • text-messaging
  • email
Think about your workday and realize that all the excuses about needing to email to save time (gee, I have so many meetings) are just excuses - prioritize and communicate. A project manager's primary job is to ensure effective communications are excuses.

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