The Communication Channels at Work

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Communication Channels at Work

  • We do use message tools at work. It's been an assortment of tools as one manager would require, we use one for a while, then another a different one. Currently we're using Microsoft Teams. I also have used Slack, not for work both other groups. I like Teams and Slack about equally.

    What I like about both is the asynchronous nature of both. Email is of course the original asynchronous communication media, but younger people prefer a chat messaging app to email.

    The one major difficulty I have with Teams/Slack isn't either their technology or approaches, it's how it's implemented within our organization. Whoever administers Teams (I don't know who that is) is extremely tight in how they govern Teams. Only this nameless person (people?) can create channels within Teams, or new teams. I like how Richard Campbell, or the Dot Net Rocks and Runas Radio podcasts puts it; when introducing a new messaging platform, "let the puppy run at bit at first". Give people a chance to learn how to use Teams or Slack. Let them create new teams or workspaces, add channels to them, etc. Then, after a while, start reigning them in. That gives people a chance to learn the tool. As it is now since we have limited number of teams or cannot add new channels, you get conversations started in a channel that has nothing to do with the channel, but there's nowhere else to put it and only these nameless people can create new channels, which they refuse to do. So, what we have tends to defeat the purpose of any messaging app.

    Rod

  • No matter what shape the messaging technology it is the curation of the messages and channels(or equivalent) by which it lives and dies.  This is a recurring theme for both content and the method of delivery.

    Bruce Springsteen could have written "57 Channels and Nothing On" for Slack.

    What works well for a squad might not work at larger scale.  What works at larger scale might not work well for a squad.

    One thing an agile approach has gifted us with is the attitude of "try it and see" followed by a retrospective where we work out what has worked well, what could be improved and what should be taken out and shot.

    I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all.    Some communication is and remains transient.  Some starts off casual and transient then the discussion and content yields something that would benefit a wider audience and will remain valuable over a period of time.  I've certainly had conversations on Slack that have resulted in a more detailed set of information written up and shared on Confluence.

  • Teams is really catching on in our organization. Recent features made it easier to exchange with external persons. The ability to link to a chat in CRM sped up the processing.

    Emails are used for formal decisions

    There are some major backup api changes coming, we'll have to adjust

  • I am also in a Teams environment with a single person authorized to add Teams and Channels. The way we work around it for the "quick channels" that Steve mentioned is to have a brief meeting to talk about the basics of a topic and then continue the discussion in the meeting Chat. This lets people who were invited but unable to attend the meeting to contribute (we have people globally, so time zones are an issue). If we specifically need input or approval from someone, we tag them in the Chat. Usually there is a flurry of activity for hours to a couple of days, followed by one or more people having action items and everyone else waiting on them. At that point, we move to email updates.

  • Our office started using Slack a couple of years ago.  There was little instruction, no best practices.  People added me to channels and I had no idea why.  I didn't like Slack itself, and I didn't like that others assumed that I was always available to discuss things *right now*.

    Clearly, there are bad ways of implementing a message platform.  When we don't understand its strong points, it can actually harm productivity and job happiness.

    That being said, a few years in I find myself liking it better.  For longer messages, I prefer email.

  • m60freeman wrote:

    I am also in a Teams environment with a single person authorized to add Teams and Channels. The way we work around it for the "quick channels" that Steve mentioned is to have a brief meeting to talk about the basics of a topic and then continue the discussion in the meeting Chat. This lets people who were invited but unable to attend the meeting to contribute (we have people globally, so time zones are an issue). If we specifically need input or approval from someone, we tag them in the Chat. Usually there is a flurry of activity for hours to a couple of days, followed by one or more people having action items and everyone else waiting on them. At that point, we move to email updates.

    That's really good feedback, thank you!

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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