Friday, January 25, 2013

Email: Professional communication, viagra and unregulated financial products

Now that corporations and even governments generally agreed that Internet Explorer 6 is not 'fit for purpose' and has been holding up progress for years, it's time to tackle the next major IT mistake made by large companies and organisations, which is the use of email as an internal team communication and productivity tool.

One specific and unique aspect of email systems that seems an unusual complement to a productive business is spam.  As the post title highlights, email is basically a curious cross between a communication system and a market place for cheap viagra and unregulated financial products.

However, whilst it was easy to point the finger at 'Internet Explorer 6' (especially when Microsoft admitted that you really shouldn't be using it any more), it is much harder to point the finger at email and demonstrate it is not 'fit for purpose' for internal or virtual team communication. Harder still is to point to an obvious replacement - there are lots about (including Teamstinct), but the real problem is not building effective and credible alternatives, but demonstrating and convincing organisations that email for internal use is "bad" and akin to simply burning money.

PS: Actually, one of the problems of convincing companies that internal email is bad is that being 'busy' is often mistaken as being 'productive'. And it may very well be the busy, non-productive people whose jobs seem to rely most specifically on email. Or in other words, email is so inefficient as an internal communication tool that jobs may simply exist as its own by-product. So in the name of self-preservation, there maybe resistance from within organisations to streamline internal team communication...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

8 reasons not to use email at work

After many years of working for a variety of companies, ranging from large corporations to small tech start-ups I have come to thoroughly dislike email.

However, I cant really blame email. I believe the problem lies with the IT departments of companies, organizations and institutions that are determined on using the 40 year old technology of  'email' for a job it was never really intended. And it's not as though email plays a minor role - it's pretty much at the core of all internal communication across entire organizations.

So, here are my 8 reasons why email should definitely not be used as an 'internal' team communication tool, and generally avoided as an external communication tool:

  1. Email is unsafe - have you ever emailed the wrong John Smith? What are the consequences of accidentally sending confidential documents externally to the wrong recipient?
  2. Email reduces productivity - how often do you receive time-wasting company emails that are completely unrelated to your actual work?
  3. Email encourages bad habits - attaching files is almost never a good way to share information as you immediately loose the ability to manage versions or control access.
  4. Email is irreversible - once an email or attachment has been sent, it almost always stays sent.
  5. Email is distracting - have you ever felt that you spend more time reading and responding to endless emails than your actual job?
  6. Email is clumsy - organizing and filtering emails is a primitive and error-prone process that requires continuous effort.
  7. Email can destroy team spirit - by encouraging back-covering and selfish behaviour due to impersonal communication.
  8. Email is uncertain - somebody changes their job and suddenly you have no way to get in touch.
So there it is - eight very good reasons not to use email as an internal team communication tool and to look for something that is designed to do the job - and there are many great alternatives available.

However, email IS a brilliant technology and I imagine we will be using email for a very long time to come - It is simply not the right technology for work groups and internal team communication.

Teamstinct goes live!

Hello everyone and thanks for reading the first Teamstinct blog post. This is just a quick post to say that Teamstinct is now live, so feel free to sign-up and give it a go.

And for those of you that don't know, Teamstinct is a new online team communication tool designed to increase the productive communication between team members and reduce the irrelevant and distracting  stuff. The aim is to reduce the use of email and provide a custom built tool for the job.

You can find out more from the Teamstinct homepage (