We live in a world where thoughts and concepts are not getting smaller and simpler but rather they are getting larger and more complicated. Software teams in many cases are no longer all crammed into one room or can be fed by 2 boxes of pizza (which is a large systemic issue in my opinion). Teams are now spread out over many floors of a building (if your lucky), over many buildings in a city, or in most cases over many times zones spanning the world.
As our teams become larger and the problems we are trying to solve are becoming harder one thing remains paramount to success, communication. You can put together the greatest group of talent you can find but if the teams do not communicate effectively they are not going to be successful.
It is funny that I am even having this thought stream because we live in a world where communicating with people has never been easier. I can turn on my phone and call someone, text someone, IM someone, tweet them or update their wall on facebook….all from the palm of my hand. However, teams are increasing becoming worse and worse with communication and this is going to be the downfall for projects which otherwise would have been successful.
What is funny (or sad I guess) is that of all the problems we attempt to solve every day this is by far one of the simplest and easiest and requires almost NO real effort. The problem is people are either inherently lazy and do not want to expend the energy to communicate or are guarding this information because they feel it provides them a source of power or security. By being either lazy or secretive what they are really doing is signing their own death certificate for that project.
Software teams (all teams really, but you get the idea) need to make it their #1 priority to ensure that all information, useful or not is communicated to the ENTIRE team at ALL TIMES. But how do they do this?
- Communicate to the ENTIRE team at one time, do not allow the trickle down theory to rule your team.
- Communicate EVERYTHING even if you are not sure how important it is
- Communicate CLEARLY and CONCISLY important decisions and dates
- Communicate in person when at all possible, don’t relay on email or discussion boards (this is difficult w/ distributed teams but make it work)
- Do not create paragraphs of information where bullet points will work better
Just a few of my thoughts.....
Till next time,
05-18-2011 2:34 AM