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Good communications

The most efficient communications are organized in a similar way, may they be a blog post, an email or an issue on Github:

  • Context; don’t assume people know what you’re talking about. Frame the context of your message, this helps people understand where you’re coming from.
  • Teaser (optional); once you’ve set up the context, it is preferable to quickly outline what the core issue or idea is. This is especially true if it requires a fair amount of details to be explained.
  • Development; stay concise and organized, for example using bullet points.
  • Closing; always close with possible solutions, next steps or your conclusion. You’ve done all that work, chances are that you have an opinion about it.

Let me illustrate with a couple examples;

  • Email to a client; taking the assumption that we met Michael, the client, at a meetup and want to follow up on a potential lead.

    Hey there Michael,

    Nice chatting with you at the meetup last week. I hope you enjoyed the talks; we’re always looking for speakers so let me know if your colleagues would be interested.

    You mentioned a few things about your current project that you may need help with: we do native development (with both Kotlin and Swift but had some really good results with React Native.

    I’d suggest that I pay you guys a visit with one of my mobile developers and have a little discussion with your mobile team to figure out which option is best.

    How about this Wednesday, 10:30 AM at your office? I’m sending you an invite, let me know if that works for you.

    I greet the client, remind him of the context of the discussion, detail our point of view, move on to list our options and close with the next step (you’ll notice I’m also sending an invite without waiting for him to confirm his availability).

  • GitHub issue; this issue is addressing the need for expanding the playbook to include a “Project” section.

    As some of you may know, we’ve been gradually filling up the playbook. It’s starting to take shape, but we’re still missing a few important pieces. We really need the help of experts and seniors: the playbook is going to play a central role in helping

    The next section I’d like to add is “Project”: we need a simple, no-nonsense guide to how we manage, lead and communicate around our projects. This will prove invaluable to our clients when we kick off a project as many of our ways of doing are disruptive to the enterprise folks we often work with.

    As usual, we’ll start working on a simple outline and list of points we want to include. Just fill things up on the Hackpad.

    I intend to have a very first draft online by this weekend, let’s all have our notes in the Hackpad by tomorrow.

    /cc @JuhaS @makara @vincent923 @quentinberder @zbal

    I provide the context to this whole issue, from general to specific, then zero in on the core issue. I follow with the expected deliverable and a link to where we’ll be gathering our notes. I close with a timeline and mention interested parties.

    BTW, we name our meeting rooms after Shanghai’s districts, here is the meeting room map.