Killing off your emails, aiming at project transparency

CC all the emails?

Just wanted to share, recently I read this article…

https://netguru.co/blog/cc-all-the-emails-tips-from-a

It talks a lot about transparency which I totally agree with. A more transparent team is a more efficient and better team. Proper transparency means the team’s (including the client) expectations are managed and less confused. However I totally disagree with emails as the best tool for transparency. That is a Big Bad Decision. From my experience as a project manager at Thought Den and beyond, project emails only lead to a breakdown in communication and less transparency.

emails only lead to a breakdown in communication and less transparency

Emails turn into a constant mailbox search for important project facts hidden away in a long thread. Emails go wrong, people get missed out and conversations become so indented you need a 90″ wide screen to read them. Conversations become overlapped, badly formatted and the whole studio gets into a major issue with, “which email is correct?”.

A messy email chain
A messy email chain

Every efficient studio team needs a single, open, multi-platform and simple point of project contact. For me, that’s in the form of Trello, but JIRA and Redmine are both great too.

The Trello backlog board is where changes, tweaks and additions happen. It’s searchable, accessible by all the project team and it’s one shared place for everyone to work in.

The sprint board
The sprint board

Also, if a client wants to know what’s going on presently with their project or maybe a scrum “pig” (a team member with skin in the game) has a question for them, the whole conversation should be kept in a Trello ticket in the sprint board. Here features are broken down by ticket and they maintain an easy to follow comments thread. No more missed emails by half of the team because they missed 1 important email.

Conversation
Conversation

In fact, ANY changes and clarifications go in there. Even if they’re copied and pasted from an IRC chat or written straight after a phone call. They go in there, so make a good habit of it.

That leaves an email replacement for day to day teamwork, transparency and cohesion which is best with daily Scrums on Google Hangouts, an IRC channel and some face to face time. The client may join in and “chicken” (no skin in the game) if they wish. It’ll give them more transparency on progress.

Do do transparency, but keep away from emails.

Author: Dan Course

Dan Course, E-Learning Development at Warwick University (WMG). Agile Scrum trained and full-stack development. Interested in E-learning, Democracy, Politics and Tech. All thoughts are mine and not of my employer.

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