Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Step away from your PC and communicate "Face-to-Face" !

Over the past few weeks I have grown more and more amused as to how people communicate within the office. You are probably wondering why this isn’t a post related to a test type, a test method or a testing tool but more of a generic post about how we should communicate on projects.
This is relevant as a post to a tester’s blog because as we all know testing fits in with the project life cycle.

Long distance communication has become key to the success of many organisations, such as the one I work for with multiple sites and not all based in the UK.

Remote workers and virtual teams are quickly becoming the norm these days, yet sending an instant message or an email is not always the answer. When you meet somebody face-to-face is when work tends to get the job done.

You are now probably wondering where I am going with this? Let me explain…

Ever sent an email regarding a bug to a team of developers? Each of those developers will probably have different ideas about a resolution, right? Emails will soon build up and debates will start to spiral. It’s almost a guarantee that most of the project team won’t sit more than a few desks apart.

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of instant messenger conferences during releases I have been a part of, basically to keep track of where we are. The problems I have found with these are that people drop in and out of the conversations, various people raise issues they are finding and soon this becomes an endless string of points not related to the last point made. Basically what I am saying is something WILL be missed in this type of communication, Agree? Wouldn’t it just be easier to STOP, and have a conversation face-to-face?

We can relate this to group discussions on requirements for a project, Sending numerous emails or having more than 1 person updating a document is going to lead to mistakes been made, the incorrect product features been built ending with amendments that could have been avoided.

Are we all just hiding behind technology? Why do we prefer to just send an email or a quick message to people? I don’t know… Why don’t we just step away from our PC’s and talk?

Emails are a great way to send out information on mass, Messages are great to state facts but as far as meetings go my opinion is that these are bad was in which to communicate.

Face-to-face meetings are how the hard work usually gets done. Sometimes it makes sense to meet face-to-face even if there is more time or inconvenience involved. Don’t let distance be an excuse for not meeting face-to-face. Video conferencing is much better than a phone call for discussing tough issues.

So, whenever possible, make sure you meet face-to-face.

5 Reasons Why Meeting Face-to-Face is Best:

·         Body Language is Communication – We tend to forget that body language plays a major part in our communication. It is not just how you said something, but also your facial expressions and body posture. This is lost in a phone conversation.

·         Ensures Engagement – Who knows what people are doing while on conference calls. (You might not want to know.) However, face-to-face leads to engagement. It ensures that people are “in the conversation”

·         Clarifies Meaning – Conference calls/Emails and Messages can lead to misunderstandings either due to lack of communication or simply because there not understood by all parties

·         Drives Participation – When you are all in the same room, it encourages people to participate. You can’t just go sit in the corner and turn your back to the meeting. Yet, this is exactly what many people do when on a call, ignoring an email or loosing track of long drawn out instant message.

·         More Efficient – Face-to-face meetings tend to be shorter than conference calls or group message communication. On the phone, everyone sits around on mute waiting for the discussion to end. Yes, this can happen in a meeting room. However, in face-to-face situations there is a greater pressure to get to the point

When possible, make sure you meet face-to-face.

You meetings will be shorter, engagement will be higher, and communication will be better understood.

And of course, with technology, you can meet face-to-face even when you aren’t in the same place.

Let’s stop hiding behind our emails and instant messaging and collaborate as a team and continue to deliver those shared goals!

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