When working in a team or an organization with multiple teams, finding effective
ways to work with each other is always a high priority. We want to be effective
and accomplish something, which is what modern skill-based work is all about. In
my experience as a software engineer, I’ve learned that communication is vital.
This isn’t a lost art or a revolutionary idea but rather a foundational concept
for my discussion.
Communication can be one-on-one, between teams, or even within a team. There are
many methods of communication, such as video calls, meetings, sharing documents,
or screencasts. However, with so many communication methods, it can sometimes
become overwhelming. Overcommunication is only occasionally effective
communication. This is where the importance of having a process comes into play.
Process for communication can streamline interactions, such as setting up
meetings or establishing protocols for discussing priorities. Communication
becomes more efficient when all team members are on the same page. However, at
any scale, processes can also reach a point where they become ineffective. Tools
such as story trackers, Gantt charts, and other ways to view progress can be
introduced to complement the process.
For example, a director of engineering may want to see the progress of the ten
teams under them to determine if they will meet quarterly goals. Each team has a
view to see where they’ve progressed along the quarterly goals, but the director
may not need to see the granular breakdown. Tools can help communicate through a
process, streamlining and providing both the eagle eye and the more broken-down
Throughout my career, I have worked in various environments, from startups to
enterprise companies. I have observed that when communication and process are
not in place, tools are often seen as a solution. For instance, I once worked at
a startup struggling to find a project management tool. They had tried five
different tools, none of which fit their needs. The issue was that they needed a
process for the tools to complement, which led to a constant search for the
perfect tool instead of addressing the underlying problems. This experience made
me realize the importance of having a solid communication foundation and
well-defined processes before introducing tools.
In another example, a larger company used Jira, a popular project management
tool, but needed an established process for tracking progress. They tried to use
Jira’s advanced features to implement a process, but they were still struggling
a year and a half later. Clearly, the need for a tool had not arisen from an
existing process or communication structure, which led to difficulties in making
the tool work effectively.
To further emphasize the importance of effective communication, consider the
- Improved collaboration: Strong communication within a team or organization
leads to better collaboration among team members. This, in turn, can result in
more innovative solutions and higher-quality output.
- Enhanced decision-making: When information is shared openly and effectively,
team members can make more informed decisions that align with the
- Increased trust and morale: Open and transparent communication fosters trust
and confidence among team members, resulting in a more positive and productive
To improve communication and processes within your team or organization,
consider implementing the following best practices:
- Establish clear communication channels: Ensure everyone knows the appropriate
channels for sharing information and raising concerns. This can include
regular team meetings, designated communication platforms, or established
protocols for escalating issues.
- Set expectations: Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and expectations for
team members to ensure everyone understands their part in the larger
- Encourage open dialogue: Foster an environment where team members feel
comfortable sharing ideas, concerns, and feedback. This can lead to more
innovative solutions and more robust team dynamics.
- Regularly review and adjust processes: Periodically evaluate the effectiveness
of your team’s communication processes and make adjustments as necessary. This
can help keep communication channels clear and ensure everyone works
- Provide training and support: Offer training and support to team members on
effective communication techniques and any tools or processes being used
within the organization. This can help ensure everyone is on the same page and
using the available resources effectively.
- Recognize and celebrate success: Acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments
of your team members. This can help build a sense of camaraderie and encourage
continued effective communication and collaboration.
- Lead by example: As a leader, set the tone for open and effective
communication by being transparent, honest, and supportive in your
interactions with your team members. This can create a positive work
environment that fosters strong communication and collaboration.
In conclusion, communication is a critical foundation for effective teamwork and
organizational success. It is essential to prioritize communication before
process and process before tools. Establishing clear communication channels,
setting expectations, and providing support can create an environment where
teams can work together more efficiently and effectively. Remember that solid
communication leads to better collaboration, enhanced decision-making, and
increased trust and morale within your team or organization.