Chapter 17. Distributed Teams Are Founded on Explicit Communication Channels

Juan Pablo Buriticá

All teams past a certain size become distributed. It could be across rooms, floors, buildings or cities. If you manage a team in a company that is growing fast, you will run into this challenge. By being deliberate and explicit about the communication channels used, your teams will be more productive, easier to manage, and able to grow faster. With the increasing popularity of remote work, understanding how to rely on different channels, especially written ones, will also enable you to be better prepared if your team eventually becomes distributed.

The primary benefit of choosing explicit communication types and channels for information is increased productivity. When team members aren’t clear on where to find the information, their productivity is affected. They might waste a few hours trying to guess where to find it or, if they’re good at asking questions, go around creating unnecessary focus interruptions for their team members. That poorly timed tap on the shoulder or chat app notification during deeply focused programming can be prevented if you are explicit on where and how information can be found.

A good way of reducing interruptions is to choose asynchronous communication channels for nonblocking items and helping team members review them on a cadence. For example, ...

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