Communication before all

IC Project , 19 June, 2017

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The interpretation of a task is different depending on who reads it. Typically, a well-written task is understandable to the person assigned.  Therefore, you should not need any additional details in its content.  Sometimes however, two different people interpret the instructions differently.  Perhaps that is because the message is unclear or may not have been properly understood.  In either case, the end result would be far from the one desired.  What does that entail?

If the assignment was a single task which exists as a separate entity, on which the next consecutive steps do not depend, then we only lose the time required for corrections.  In the case of small tasks — small fixes.  However, in the case of a large tasks — substantial fixes, affecting the employee efficiency and the financial outcome of the project. Things are worse if the misunderstood and incorrectly done task was the basis for further action.  Jobs that follow it, rely on it.  The effects can be disastrous.  The customer ordered something, the contractor received the job, and then rendered it and returned to the customer a finished product or service.  Unfortunately, the customer does not really get what he/she ordered.  The illustration below quite clearly shows an example of order and delivery of the goods to the customer.

 

 

The situation is a standoff, since it often turns out that both sides are right. Thus, the fault lies on both sides.  On the one hand, the contractor did not specify the exact specifications of the contract, and on the other hand, the customer did not ensure that the contractor understood his/her assumptions for the provided good or service.

That’s why communication is so crucial during the lifecycle of the project, and at every stage. Beginning with the ordering and writing of the requirements, throughout the acceptance stage, and up until the final delivery.

Another issue is the internal communication among team members working on one or more shared tasks.  Understanding of the subject will ultimately save unnecessary stress and constant corrections, which cost the company extra money.

With communication it is such that we have many tools available to assist in our work and enable us to collaborate better with other team members.  Typically, the way it looks is that the person assigned to a job to implement communicates via available tools such as email, Skype, and other instant-chat messengers, seeking clarification of details.  Usually answers are provided by the same means, and–unless more answers are required to further questions–the work can be continued.  While everything may seem fine, the answer that is from the implementer’s point of view essential, was provided separately from the task and exists separately in another tool, in a completely different place, where it can disappear (not necessarily intentionally) or where it will be difficult to later find and link to the context of the task.  Therefore, it is imperative that essential information relevant to the task remain attached to it, so that it may always be within reach and reliable.

Things are worse if multiple people are assigned to one task.  In such a case only one person would get the answer to a question, although it should be for all members of the team working on the task.  Even if the person to get the answer informs the others about it, the answer to the question still remains in his/her possession and will be difficult to refer to at a later time.

It also happens that information from the client is the only reliable source in the course of the ongoing disputes between the purchaser and the contractor.  It is therefore important that any arrangements on the subject of the contract are linked to the project, and secondly, easy to find, so as to be presentable in case the need arises; for instance, should the customer have already forgotten about these said arrangements.

As you can see, many issues relate to communication, but in a few moments, we will try to illustrate how we managed to deal with them in IC Project through specific examples.

First of all, IC Project has a built-in chat messenger that perfectly supersedes the need to use other IMs, which are often problematic due to different hardware platforms within a company.

The messenger in IC Project is linked into projects, therefore, all communication takes place within a specific project or task and is assigned to it, associated with it until the end of the project’s life, where it remains archived.

If there is a need to discuss with team members about the project, just click the chat icon available before the name of each project.  This will open a chat window and include all persons assigned to the project.

A list of all persons assigned to the project in one thread.

Team members working on a task have a “Talk” button, which works exactly the same way as with projects, but includes in the chat only people who are assigned to it.

A list of all persons assigned to tasks in one thread.

Naturally, each individual can chat privately with whomever he/she chooses from the list by clicking another’s avatar, or from anywhere in the system by clicking the selected person and then “Private Chat.”

One key aspect is that the IC Project system allows communicating in such a way not only with company employees, but also with customers through contact persons who have activated logins. Thanks to that, findings with customers are also linked into a task or project.

What should be done if you have to ask a question by email and be answered the same route?  Using IC Project just send a reply email to the address domain_name@icproject.com and then in the Mail section of My ICP, replace the email with attachments of the job or comment to the indicated task.

List of e-mails that have been sent to the system. You can do one task, comments or notes.

Commenting on tasks is also an opportunity for communication, and IC Project makes this possible too.

In addition, notices of each new task or comment to a task are sent to the email addresses of people assigned to the task. For convenience, all notifications are also displayed within the IC Project system in a readable notification list.

Good communication is the key to understanding.  IC Project offers a handful of functionality, thanks to which employee may focus on tasks to render, while no relevant information gets lost and can be used at any time without having to leave the system to engage in their tedious searching.

 

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