What Engineers Can Teach Us About Communication

We've been doing some research lately looking at Agile Software Development to improve how we manage our workload. I've written before about communication and its importance so in reading through some things words like individuals, interactions, communication, collaboration and teamwork really stuck out to me. Agile emphasizes the importance of face-to-face interaction. Even in this day with distributed work forces across the world they suggest web-cams, it isn't as great as actually face-to-face, but it is better than an email.

We are so reliant on technology today, not that technology is a bad thing, we just need to understand its role. Studies are starting to show that the open office concept is actually shutting down face-to-face conversations. (Article) I would be willing to bet the amount of innovation and strategy is higher when you are gathered around a white board rather than reading through a never ending email chain. Someone should do a study on that. I look at the meetings I have and most are about status updates on a task list, reminders of what hasn't been done and discussion to clarify requirements. Some of those things can easily be replaced by an email. But then when it comes to having hard conversations our fear of conflict and passive aggressive natures come out and many things go unsaid.

We don't need to re-imagine communication, we just need to remember what actually works.


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