In our search for a zero-email SE/BIM solution, we’re struggling to strip communication ‘terms’ to their essence. In PM-jargon, we tend to use many terms, such as; Decision - Action - Task - Note - Question - Change request - Change order - Issue - Remark - Comment - Approval - Assumption - Item - …
What is the minimum set of 'terms' to manage all types of communication? It's about more than just semantics.
Imagine you want to set up a database application to totally replace the need for e-mail, for all communication needs in a project. It has to be role-based, traceable and water-tight.
So what do we use e-mail for in projects? To inform, to question, to give a task, to implement a decision, to flag an issue, to request or order a change, to give feedback, to .... etc. etc. How could we reduce this to a minimal set of 'types of communication' - for the lack of a better expression - so that we can build a database-based e-mail replacement? With the obvious benefit that all communication is always explicit, structured, related, logged, traceable, ... instead of my Inbox, which is a Black Hole?
a Note (or Remark or Comment) is a message (a piece of information), from a Sender (a person/role or a 'meeting') to a Receiver (one or more person(s)/role(s) or a meeting). It does not require a response. So the only data fields required are: Message (= the note) - Sender - Receiver.
a Question (or Request for Information or Issue??) is a message from a Sender to a Receiver (same definitions as above). It DOES require a response, by a certain time. So the required data fields now are: Message (= the question) - Sender - Receiver - Due date. The Answer will be linked to this Question, so that it is traceable.
a Decision is a message (a piece of information), from a Sender to a Receiver (same definitions as above). It does not require a response as such, but it should lead to the mutation of a Requirement (Delete, Change or Create). If not, it is just a Note. So the required data fields now are: Message (= the decision) - Sender - Receiver - Requirement(s) affected. The Decision will remain linked to the affected Decision, so that it is traceable.
and so on ...
My question now is: how many 'terms' are required to cater for all types of 'information exchanges' in a role-based PM-system, if the objective is to make the use of e-mail obsolete? And what is the smallest set, to keep this as simple as possible?
Does some kind of 'information exchange model' (i.e communication model) exist?