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I work in parallel with 20 other people on different projects. We can't see each other most of the time so we used to talk with emails (Gmail).

We have to discuss about different subjects and sometimes people ask open questions. All of this results in a lot of email. People are added in a mailing list on the way. It's a total mess, and I dislike working like this.

All the data sent between workers needs to be saved and reachable, but we also need to manage the visibility and the rights.

I don't know what is the "good way" for a open communication without all these emails.

How can I improve our online communication and avoid this chaotic mail-chatting?

  • 2
    As written, this question is likely to be closed. However, you might want to suggest that your team adopt mailing list, bulletin board, chat room, or wiki software to address your communications needs. – Todd A. Jacobs Oct 28 '13 at 15:34
  • Am I in the wrong place to ask this ? Do you suggest something in order to improve my question ? – Alex Oct 28 '13 at 15:44
  • Questions asking for tools are not a good fit as they tend to become obsolete quite fast, to attract comments as answers and spam. See the faq and Project Management Meta for guidance. I'd slightly change your question focusing on the problem of keep communication neat and clear across the team. Still, as a side note, I believe you simply need a task tracking tool. – Tiago Cardoso Oct 28 '13 at 15:53
  • Ok, thank you. I understand the problem of tools, I'll edit my question later and focus on the communication problem as suggested. Btw, I'll check task tracking tools to see if it can fix my issue. – Alex Oct 28 '13 at 16:01
  • related: pm.stackexchange.com/questions/10233/… – jmort253 Dec 19 '13 at 4:18
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Depending on the subject of your communication your problem can be solved by a number of tools:

Business-object related communications

eg. code, customers, offers, tickets, blog posts

Often times there are tools focussed around the objects in question, that also have comment- or wiki-style communication and documentation systems in place.

Examples of this are:

  • Repository management system that sometimes give you commenting ability down to specific lines of code
  • CRMs that even let you comment on specific communication items
  • for most ticket system this is an essential feature anyway
  • audit/editorial systems for blogs

Ad-hoc problem related communications

eg. questions pertaining to some order that needs special handling, unclear commits, clarification of responsibility towards customer requests

These can be both formal and informal and informal parts are often handled by chat, mail, phone, yelling, etc. For communications that needs to be logged for some reason, email can work, but if you need more accountability, handling questions as tickets or in some chat-like internal communication system that is monitored and persisted is probably a good choice.

Open questions up for discussion

this can be around any topic

These questions are common and usually should be stored even beyond the time an employee or customer relationship terminates and their related accounts are closed. So requirements usually are that the data is decoupled from any accounts like email or CRM and that it can be easily accessed by new users entering the communication system.

Mostly one would use:

  • wikis, because they just work
  • Forum software, as permission systems on those are easier to use
  • an on-premise or saas-style version of Q/A systems like this one
  • lately, company-centric 'social networks' also increase in number
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While this is going to end up being a product suggestion response, I've had the same issue and haven't come across a perfect solution.

Producteev.com is the leading contender for me. If they allowed you to add files it'd be the 100% solution.

We use Basecamp but at this point its been simply reduced to a cloud file storage for us and will be replaced as soon as someone takes the time to port all the docs to a wiki.

Looking at Dokuwiki for a file storage solution and potentially overall solution

Take a look at some of Lifehacker's posts here and here for their suggestions

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My suggestion is to get everyone involved on the phone and document the consensus in meeting minutes. A rule of thumb that has worked well for me is to set up a face-to-face discussion or a telecon if the email chain gets to be more than ~5 emails long. Going this route avoids needless chatter, increases clarity of decisions and reduces misunderstandings.

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