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Different ways to communicate better in teams

April 29, 2019🍿 4 min readEdit this post on Github

When your team grow, the biggest pain will be collaboration. It should be solved as a company culture, else it can become a big mess for productivity.

Lot of company relies too much on slack or similar collaboration tools for all kind of communication. Even though these tools solves some of the problem but doesn’t completely solve without proper process around how to use it.

Today, we will see, different ways to communicate better among teams. Communication doesn’t only mean chatting, it also means collaboration among us.

Sync between different teams

Team collaboration software like slack can easily solve this problem. You can ask your questions, suggestion directly in a channel to get attended by other team members. Its also helpful to keep track of things when you get reply through threads.

Daily or weekly standups

Depends on the nature of work, frequency of standups can be implemented. Standups usually help to ask and offer help to your team members. It helps us to see what others are working on and how it will help overall team goals. It will help to find out any misalignment on task as early as possible and avoid surprises.

Discussion threads for rapid decision making

Team collaboration tools are good until you need to make rapid decision making and keep the reference for later use. There are apps to handle this and document it. Usual threads will become bloated with comments easily and also it can quickly fade away if there will be other updates. Specific decision making channels for different teams with one thread for each small decisions can help. There are other solutions like confluence, github discussion for developers community which can be adopted for other teams as well.

1 on 1s

Its very important to get feedback and share feedback about the work we do. 1 on 1s usually help yourself to retrospect yourself and align well with company expectations and goals. And also help manager to get feedback about the process and improvements around it.

Self evaluation

  • How is it related to communication?

Yes, its communication to yourself. This should be done every 2 months to evaluate yourself and your work. Check these self evaluation along with other feedbacks and 1 on 1s session, then you can see how others look at your work, how you can improve yourself in different aspect. This helps you to define your scale values. We often chose a random number of 8 / 10 all the time. But if you can start matching your self evaluation with others feedback, you are on your way towards 10 / 10. Try it out.

Skip level meetings

Skip level meetings help to discuss directly with higher level managers or CEO about concerns, ideas, what can be improved and how it can be done from their perspective. This is one of the best way to hear from all the employees and increase transparency in the organization. It also helps to understand the overall atmosphere in different teams and how to act on it in a positive way.

Feedbacks for teams

Often this will be needed when your work success depends on different department. Feedback on sync, communication and responsibility without pointing fingers will help the teams to collaborate better.

There are simple techniques used to make this efficient, one such technique I prefer mostly is,

  • start, stop, continue strategy

Feedback for Individuals

Ask regular feedback every 2 months to 3 different people who closely work with you or manage your work. Ask with specific details so that feedback can be very helpful.

Again, start, stop and continue strategy will work very well and much simpler than pages of feedback form.

Minutes of Meeting

Regular meetings is a bad sign for productivity. So make sure meetings are concise and well planned with agenda and enough preparation plan for anyone attending it. Meeting notes template or software solution across different teams will help a long way to plan your meeting well and also help to document the next steps after the meeting.

Company Wiki

This will help lot of time answering repeated question and onboarding new employee, etc. Each team should maintain their own wiki and also share company wide wiki to help each other share information effectively without relying too much on direct communication.

Most modern collaboration software provide FAQ like searchable features to make company wiki work very well.

Product roadmap board

A company or team wide roadmap quarter by quarter with added transparency on what we are going to focus on will help individual and teams motivation towards the goals. This doesn’t need to be detailed version of product plan but a general direction, strategy and goals.

Share your win - Internal Microblogging

Standups help the close teams to get more details on what others are doing and how it impacts the overall team goal. Whereas microblogging with updates about win across different team helps to motivate other teams and also give overall updates on the direction company and independent teams are going forward.

These are some of the techniques to communicate better and collaborate as a team. There are several techniques which can be adapted at different stages of a company. Overall, these are just the techniques. How to effectively use it for our workforce depends on trial and error.

Hope this helps to understand different ways of effective communication in a team.

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