In Softwaredevtools we know that Increasing and improving communication is the most important part to achieve your engagement and team performance. But this time we are going to learn how to increase the good communication with some practices to structure your information.
Communication is the pillar in all the teams, but in remote teams is everything. Imagine that you are working remotely, and you start to do your job with the requirements that your partner tells you at the meeting. But when you just finish, you found an email where are all the requirements broken down specifically. All you have done is bad and you have to start again; even worst you don’t have enough time. Well, this could happen to your team if you don’t structure rightly your information sharing.
Learn how to structure your information
Communication vs. sharing info
The way you communicate with your team is different from the way you share your information. It’s necessary that you define with your team what platform is to communicate day-to-day info, and which one is for the work documentation. For example, if you are using Slack to send instant messages and updates, be sure that everyone knows. Else maybe some members are sending emails and they are not having a response to their work.
Same for meetings. Don’t report rightly the changes can provoke to lose information and good communication. If you schedule a meeting and you know that always is trough Zoom, but the new member thinks that is going to be on Google Hangouts, your member is going to miss all the meetings. Over-communicate with your team about everything. Maybe it can turn annoying but is not a problem if you can ensure good communication.
Now, if we talk about sharing documentation you need to structure your information logically or at least with congruence. Explain to your members where they can find different kinds of documents, use tags on the tickets, tell them how you are naming the documents. The order of the documents not just will facilitate the way you share information, this kind of structure can help the team to save time. If a member can find the info easily, there is no necessity to explain the same over and over. Even better they can back every time they want, which is so important because they will feel comfortable.
Right vocabulary and easy reading
Misunderstanding is common on all the teams, but in remote teams can be more frequent. So if you are sharing the backlog with your team on Confluence for example, and you are not using the right terms, or you are being ambiguous, every member will have their own backlog idea. It is important that all the members understand the same goal. Something you can do is write the documentation the clearest possible (you can try to let someone you know read it and check what parts weren’t understandable), organize a meeting, and explain everyone and always verify if there is no question.
One important point to watch out is that if you don’t highlight the main point in the document if someone start read it and they didn’t find the purpose of the document surely they will stop reading it. Be specific and also use bold type to highlight important ideas, this will facilitate the displacement in the document.
Encourage share learning. The team can learn more things if the team shares what they know. If the culture of sharing learning isn’t on the team, all the good things that you already achieve will be useless. Spreading the knowledge all over the team will facilitate the cross-functionality because we will understand what is capable of our team and what kind of things we can improve and what other we can start to do.
One good way to share learning is by recognizing the member’s achievements. All the people will value that their efforts are being recognized. Also is good for the other members because they will know the partner’s capacities and ask for help from the right person.
Well, there is nothing new to understand that tools are very important in remote teams. As I said in some paragraphs above, the team needs to know how the platforms work. But you have to select those ones that work better for your team.
Be sure to have a tool where you can have asynchronous messages to encourage communication on your team. This one will help to make some short questions about meetings, little clarifications, and more important some casual messages make all funny.
In our team, we use Slack for this kind of communication. It's pretty great because if you are having Daily Standups, you can have it on Slack with our Stand-bot. This tool allows you to have asynchronous standups where all the members share their updates, or if there are problems with their job. The most interesting part is that your Scrum master can receive their reports and check how the team is going. If you are using Jira you can verify what task needs an update.
Also, you need a tool where you can have meetings. The meetings are the pillar of communication on remote teams. So be sure to have a tool suitable for your team and also have a plan b if the tool fails. With meetings and even more with videoconference, you can reach the most similar to casual conversations
Well-structured information is the key to achieve good communication and transparency. Look for the best practices for your team and always listen to the ideas that your team has for you. In SoftwareDevtools we want you to achieve the best environment for your team, that’s why we create awesome tools to help your team to improve. Check them: