In most development shops today, a large percentage of communication happens over IM. In fact at my current gig about 80+% happens over IM.
So, why is it that it's harder and harder to get clear information out of people over IM. I am not talking about 'IM speak' or 'IM spelling', I am talking about clear, coherent thoughts.
See the problem with IM (and email for that fact) is this, there is NO context to be able to infer meaning from the message. All you have to go by is the exact words someone just sent over. Too many times I have spent way too much time trying to determine what the hell the other person just IM'ed me. Most of time this is an issue when you receive a message out of the blue. I am not specially referring to messages that are sent as part of an ongoing conversation.
Here are a few classic IM's I have received in the past that have no clear meaning without context.
- Its Broken...
This type of IM means nothing to me. What the hell is 'Its'. Save me the energy and tell me something like 'Hey, that xyz process/code that just changed is broken'. Because this gives me context to your message and I can respond in a meaningful manner
- Do you have a list?
List of what? Of code I am working on? Of places to grab lunch? Please tell me what type of list you are looking for.
- Site is down
What site, add the extra few words and say 'the dev site is down'. Because I am going to have to ask you what site anyway. Save me the hassle.
My overall point to this post is 2 fold.
- I got my frustrations off my chest about this issue
- IM is no different then spoken chat. Do not assume that someone can infer what you are speaking about. Be clear, be to the point and for god sakes, make sense.
Till next time,
03-05-2008 10:14 AM