Communication Faux Pas

What do you get when you put a team spanning 4 geographies together… And top it up with a tight deadline ?

This.

28 feb 2013. 10:03AM IST.

Sunny: I jus saw Jan’s email where he changed the UI. Again !

Me: Ok… Good morning !

Sunny: I was working all night on the Sipper Mode. And I finished it.

Me: That is bad news.

Sunny: Yeah, right. I burn the midnight oil to get stuff done in time and that is bad news. Jan keeps changing the UI at will and that is good news, huh ?

Me: To be fair to him, he hadn’t delivered the finished version of the Sipper Mode’s UI until now.

Sunny: Then why did you ask when the demo was? I assumed the UI was final and the ball was in my court.

Me: There was no news for a couple of days. I was just checking what the status was !

Sunny: Ok, what do you want me to do now ? Is this UI final final final, or should I wait ?

Me: You looked at the latest UI, right? Do you see any holes ? Any issues ?

Sunny: No. He has changed the bottom bar. It’s different now. Will it change again ?

Me: Why don’t you ask him that ?

Sunny: ok, I’ll send an email.

Me: Great, thanks. Take the day off. Let him respond to your question first. We’ll take it up from there.

Lessons:

  • Be crisp, clear and blunt in your communication. Especially when the timeline’s tight (it always is!) and the team’s distributed. Sugarcoated communication can be diabetic.
  • Do not assume, cos when you do, you make and ASS of U n ME.
  • There will be delays. Try your best, but if you know you won’t make it, don’t feel guilty to let the team know. Earlier the better.
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