Posts Tagged ‘communication’

More Effective Than, But Not As Scalable As

April 13, 2015 Leave a comment

If you feel you have something to offer the world, the best way to expose and share your ideas/experiences/opinions/knowledge/wisdom is to release it from lock down in your mind and do the work necessary to get it into physical form. Write it down, or draw it up, or record it. Then propagate it out into the wild blue yonder through the greatest global communication system yet known to mankind: the internet.

You are not personally scalable, but because of the power of the internet, the artifacts you create are. Fuggedabout whether anybody will pay attention to what you create, manifest, and share. Birth it and give it the possibility to grow and prosper. Perhaps no one’s eyeballs or ears other than yours will ever come face to face with your creations, but your children will be patiently waiting for any and all adopters that happen to come along.

The agilista community is fond of trashing the “traditional” artifact-exchange method of communication and extolling the virtues of the effectiveness of close proximity, face-to-face, verbal exchange. Alistair Cockburn even has some study-backed curves that bolster the claim. BD00 fully agrees with the “effectiveness” argument, but just like the source code is not the whole truth, face-to-face communication is not the whole story. As noted in the previous paragraph, a personal conversation is not scalable.

Face to face, verbal communication may be more effective than artifact exchange, but it’s ephemeral, not archive-able, and not nearly as scalable. And no half-assed scribblings on napkins, envelopes, toilet paper, nor index cards solve those shortcomings on anything but trivial technical problems.

Comm Combos

Categories: technical Tags: ,

A Steady Drumbeat

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

In the context of getting a message to sink in, a wise and dear friend once told me: “it’s not a cymbal crash, it’s a steady drumbeat“. The reason this quote came to mind is because my blog dashboard says that I’ve published 607 posts to date and I was wondering how many of them were redundant – repeating the same message over and over again.

I have no freakin’ idea how many published posts seem redundant to you, but if they do, I’ll use that musical quote as the excuse for my narrow minded focus and lack of breadth. Plus, repetition is a powerful tool for brainwashing others into doing what you want them to do. Moooo Hah Hah!

Disambiguation Text Boxes

October 23, 2010 Leave a comment

If you believe that 2D or 3D graphical models reveal more about a system than pure 1D  text models, then graphics should be the  primary means of communication for complex structural and behavioral  information, no? Nevertheless, sequential text annotations can be an important secondary contributor to the transmission of meaning and understanding via graphics. A skillful combination of graphics plus text  is best, dontcha think?

Graphical notations, while important and useful, aren’t sufficient. They simply capture the end product of the design process as relationships between classes and objects. To reuse the design, we must also record the decisions, alternatives, and trade-offs that led to it. – The GoF

DTBs, or Disambiguation Text Boxes (a.k. a. notes, legends), can be used to help fill in some of the subtle gaps in understanding that graphics alone cannot disclose/convey to people who need to deeply understand the message/content of what you’re trying to say. DTBs can contain full sentences or just phrases and acronyms; whatever it takes to help your readers extract whatever meaning and understanding they need to do their jobs better. And you do want to help others, no?

The figures below show some examples of attempts to use DTBs to help readers understand and make meaning from graphics models. Of course, graphics and text models can’t and shouldn’t totally replace physical human-to-human interaction, but they can lessen the required frequency of face to face communication and reduce errors when face to face meetings do occur, right?

Unlike In Love

Unlike in love, in business “absence does not make the heart grow fonder“. When there are long stretches of silence between supervisor-to-supervisee, vendor-to-customer, and/or supplier-to-vendor communications, the receiving party in each case will sooner or later start thinking that the transmitting party doesn’t care about them. Worse, if communication solely occurs when the transmitter “wants something” from the receiver, the relationship deteriorates further. Trust and respect, difficult to acquire but ridiculously easy to lose, go right down the tubes and mutually beneficial collaboration comes to a stand still.

So, is all lost when the transmit-receive communication channel is intact but the transmitter stops transmitting? Hell no, but it takes awareness, sincerity, persistence, initiative and, most importantly, willingness on the transmitter’s part to repair the damage. Why should the transmitter be the lead in re-establishing communication? Because the transmitter is the source of information that the receiver needs to perform its function. No transmission, no information. No information, no mutually beneficial results.

Emotional Messaging

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but when I feel strongly about topic that I know pretty well, it’s difficult for me to talk about the topic without mixing emotional meaning together with the verbal content of what I’m trying to communicate. Is that a bad thing? In the standard business mindset of a bygone era, it IS a bad thing. It’s “not professional” to show emotion. Those who can keep their emotions in check are annointed as leaders of the corpo castle. Robots rule and there is no room for humanity. Since all leadees watch their leaders closely, and most of the leadees naturally tend to emulate their leaders in the hope of moving up the corpo pyramid to success, mechanistic leaders innocently and unconsciously create mediocre “oatmeal” organizations.

In this day and age of knowledge commoditization, openness, and candor, emotion may be exactly what is needed to catapult an organization to the top. In order to lead, you must not only be competent, but passionate and inspiring. Those words imply the requirement for emotional communication to me.

Without emotional involvement, project outputs tend to be “meh” – cold, bland and mediocre. Classic MBA managers prefer the measurable over the meaningful. Not me. How about you?

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