We face many and frequent challenges here at Rounded. One that we have to overcome every day is the distance between us (physical not emotional!). I am based in Melbourne, Grant in Sydney and Igor on the other side of the world in Belgrade.
As you’d expect we have every technological convenience at our disposal to help overcome “The Tyranny of Distance”: Phone, SMS, Skype, WhatsApp, Email, Slack, Intercom, Trello to name but a few – The list is almost endless!
All of these tools go a long way to overcoming the challenge of rarely, if ever, being in the same room. In fact it’s a little bit staggering when you look at the usage data of some of the tools we use. Below is a snapshot of our Slack usage over the last year or so:
123k messages and nearly 900 files shared between 3 of us! That’s a phenomenal amount of data shared!
Scratch a bit deeper though and you can begin to see that each of these tools has specific strengths and weaknesses. Using them for the wrong purpose or in the wrong way can be highly counterproductive.
For example, using Slack is fast, easy and likely to get a quick response however may run the risk of interrupting a train of thought or putting someone on the spot for a response when they need time to consider an answer.
Similarly, emails can be great for communicating more complex thoughts but these days can get missed given we spend less and less time using email. In addition, tone can often be very difficult to convey and I have found that complex emails often require verbal clarification to ensure a message is understood.
We certainly don’t get it right all the time at Rounded but we have fallen into a methodology that works for us:
We use phone and Skype for all formal meetings where commitments are sought and decisions are made.
Slack, Trello and Intercom are generally used for daily operational communications and updates on the progress of those commitments and decisions.
Interestingly through writing this post I have realised we almost never use email internally and if we do it’s rarely productive without being supported by a conversation somewhere else!
What tools do you use and how?