Technology: Bain or Boon to Team Communication?
When a team of internal and external members is working on a project, communication is the most vital element to keep things moving in an efficient manner. That said, it is communication that is also, more often than not, taken for granted as a “given”, and left out of strategic planning sessions. In these days of multi-tiered communication options, both mobile and local, it’s shocking to imagine that communication breakdowns can still be at the heart of missed deadlines or balks in the process.
Current technology has offered teams working on extended projects, like web development, a multitude of ways to stay in touch in just about any scenario, but it is also this technology that can be the cause of latent complacencies along the way. When married with individual communication styles and misconstrued prioritizations based on the individual focus of each team member, the “ease” and accessibility of technology can prove yet another stop-gap in communication.
As an executive leader of a web development project, it is critical to not only understand how technology will be used as part of your communication strategy but also to ensure that all the pieces and strategies are firmly in place before the project begins.
Communication Preference and How it Affects Response Time
Each member of your web development team has unique communication preferences when it comes to the medium they best react to. If those individual preferences are left unchecked and unmanaged, chances are there will be misses in the communication timeline, causing delays or misunderstandings.
For example, say your web developer is offsite and prefers to communicate via shared screens and skype to ensure transparency and comprehension of all involved. However, your development manager, who is the central point of contact for the project, doesn’t have skype or can’t download the share screen software due to security protocols on your company’s network. There will be a slowed communication timeline between your development team and your point of contact, causing delays and potentials for misunderstandings.
Developing a Communication Strategy with Technology
Today’s technology offers the most real-time response rates to date, but if your team members don’t know how to use the tools available to them effectively or if your network doesn’t include the right tools, software, or platforms, then your project could be vulnerable to issues.
To ensure that your web development team, both onsite and offsite, have all the tools they need to keep their communication expeditious, take stock of the technology that your team has at their disposal, as well as the methods they prefer to use for regular communication.
Map out the communication options against those that are preferred by each team member, and you have the beginning of your project communication strategy.
Send the map to all members of your web team development and allow them to make notes next to all of the options with detail as to primary preference, secondary preference, and familiarity, access. You can use recon to have your IT department implement the right tools to the right people, and offer any training as needed.
Once all the tools are in place, use the communication detail you have acquired to build a schematic to let all members know who likes to be contacted how, and when each preference is applicable.
Your team will now have the awareness and tools they need to communicate within their random groupings effectively. The next focus? How business processes affect communication styles.