One of the most common problems I’ve encountered throughout my career has been miscommunication. Unfortunately, issues surrounding miscommunication are usually never resolved in a great way. I’ve seen it often take take the direction of finding someone to blame. Or, it’s swept underneath the rug and everyone forgets about it.
Over the past week or so we started having some communication issues on our team. After talking with several team members it was clear that there would be something that any single person could do to help. Rather than badgering everyone else about how they were going to help I decided to take a different approach. I was going to hold myself responsible for what I could take action on and let everyone on the team know that I was doing it. So I sent the following email to the team:
Over the past several weeks we’ve had a few communication issues. After talking with a few of you it’s very clear to me that I can and should improve my communication.
Most of the issues I’ve discovered have stemmed from the agile (and loose) method we take in building products together. (And have mainly made Hans’ life more difficult - sorry!)
I think that the benefits we see from this agile method (time to execution, flexibility, and team building) are amazing and we shouldn’t abandon this approach.
But I do think we can make it better. So I wanted to share with you what I’m doing so you know what to expect and can also help improve the process.
- Communication of project definition will happen mostly via email and will always include the entire group.
- This doesn’t mean that email will be the only way we communicate project definition, but it does mean that all new definition or changes to definition should be summarized and sent to the group via email to provide clarity, and transparency.
- I will check in more often for feature updates. We can think of these as feature stand-ups that can occur in person or digitally.
- This will help us get ahead of miscommunication and keep us aligned through the product lifecycle.
I’m confident that in a few days we’ll see the benefits of these changes. But, if they’re not working it’s important that we identify that so that we can act immediately and figure out what we need to change.
I encourage you to share any thoughts or ideas you might have. I also want to thank you for helping me identify these issues and work towards improvements. How we work together is critical to our success and development as a team and business. Let’s never stop getting better.
I hope that this email will help alleviate our team’s concerns around communication and help us improve. But only time will tell. If you have any comments on how I handled this situation, feel free to tell me your thoughts in the comments below. I’m curious to know what they are.