Does corporate communication force you to quit or delay in a project like a game?

    Alyosha played in WoW for years. The game interfered with life, but it was impossible to quit: effort of will was not enough, and all attempts to deceive yourself by changing the password and deleting the account were easily stopped by friendly technical support from Blizzard.

    It turned out that the best way to quit a game is to continue playing it, but never to play with the same team again. Because the whole buzz from the game is in the team that is playing, which can not only push the necessary buttons, but also communicate with each other. Without the ability to constantly discuss what is happening and coordinate actions among themselves to win is almost impossible. And without victories, the fun of the game disappears.

    I work in a team YouGile- this task tracker and corporate chat in one product. In the process, we reviewed a lot of systems and studied a bunch of materials about communication teams.

    After kata - the most interesting excerpts, a review of systems for communication, a comparison of approaches to discussing tasks, as well as an attempt to answer the question: “What kind of communication makes teams more united and which makes them fall apart?”

    Is communication important? Maybe it's just more accurate to set tasks?

    Cybersportsmen understand how important it is for a game to communicate correctly: professional teams even have methods for measuring the quality of communications . Now Alyosha knows that online games are so tight, because they satisfy social needs at all levels. And then the process of the game becomes so serious and multifaceted, that it is no less interesting to watch professional game matches than other sports. In the same way as in online games and social networks, communication allows you to tighten the staff to work on the project.

    Effective communication with the client and the team is just as important as effective communication within the gaming team. Inaccuracy of understanding always leads to failure of deadlines and budgets, unjustified client expectations, perplexity of end users, and the agony of the project manager. The source of misunderstanding is the lack of effective communication. When it is not there, it is impossible to build an effective system for assigning and performing tasks.

    According to the 2012 PWC Survey , incomprehensible tasks and lack of communication are responsible for the failure of approximately 20% of projects.

    In a team of 100 people, communication clearing takes 17 hours a week and costs the company $ 528,443 per year. Obviously, such a large piece needs to be optimized first.

    According toTagline rating from 2016 , the most popular tool for corporate communication - Skype, it is used by 92% of respondents. By 2018, little has changed - 100% of companies with whom we communicated directly, one way or another use Skype.

    It's amazing that about 10% of the teams still use ICQ. It is quite natural that Slack is distinguished among the tools created specifically for corporate communication. It is strange that practically no one mentions tasktrackers or even Basecamp as a place of communication, either in the rating or in the open poll , although it is a logical idea to discuss something around the tasks.

    How do the teams choose corporate messenger

    Teams choose instant messengers in different ways. Most often - just so historically . Someone makes a conscious choice in favor of the simplest solutions, and someone prefers specialized tools and seriously bother with their setting.

    If you try to include all the requirements in the short list, you get:

    1. Structuredness - the possibility of parallel communication in several projects and organizations at once, without mixing the discussion of different tasks in one thread.
    2. Simplicity - the system should be easy to implement and easily adapt to the business process of a particular company.
    3. Ability to control noise ( noise minimization) - the system should reduce the number of harmful switchings and flooding, give an opportunity to focus on work.
    4. Transparency - the ability to quickly familiarize yourself with any topic in the company and enter the process for team members who were not previously involved in any task, as well as for all interested.

    Of course, there are still a number of formal requirements that we do not consider here - security, reliability (should work in disgusting conditions), price, availability of native clients, availability of mobile applications, data storage policy, etc.

    With each client, we study how teams communicate in different tools and whether they manage to organize communication in such a way as to ensure that all these requirements are met. We encounter the most popular tools (Telegram, WhatsApp, Slack, Skype) and compare you with your development - YouGile, using access to aggregated company data.


    It's the most important. Good structure makes communication simple, transparent, automatically reduces noise.

    In popular messengers such as Telegram and WhatsApp, communication is usually built around large projects or departments. For example, at one wholesale and retail company it was arranged as follows:
    “Chat rooms usually arise spontaneously. Their number can reach 25 for the most involved employees, but in special chats they still discuss everything ”
    At the time of the start of popularity, Slack was an instant messenger who simply suggested a different corporate communication structure, it is more manageable.

    Example structure :
    “In the weak we have a clear hierarchy of channels. There are some common ones where all employees sit. Next are the horizontal directions, in them more than 100 people in each. Then the channels of teams, then the channels for their specific tasks and projects. Each team also has a channel for ideas and bugs. This is done so that the information noise is directed to one stream. A separate type of channels is integration: automatic messages appear there, if the server has fallen or something else has broken, they are subscribed by those who can repair it ”
    Such a structure is rather difficult to maintain: it is required to draw up rules, familiarize all employees with them and regularly clean the canals.

    We in YouGile

    We test the hypothesis that the most correct communication structure is when each task is a chat (or channel). There is a board with tasks that, when clicked, opens the corresponding chat, and there is a list of chat rooms sorted by activity. Here’s how it looks:

    Statistics on average for all active users:

    • Communicate in 19.3% of tasks, the rest move without talking
    • A communication task picks up 11 messages and ceases to be relevant.
    • Only 1.5% of tasks collect more than 50 messages (probably the discussion is no longer on the topic).

    The main disadvantage of this approach is too strict! There is little space for flood, which delays the team in using the product and makes it possible to ask questions off-topic, which is also important. But never mind, we will soon release just group chats and try to change the situation.


    Most of the teams that have chosen to communicate with Telegram call its user-friendly interface the main reason for choosing. And most of the teams that use Slack say that they immediately integrated it with Jira or Trello and connected chatbots. When you start working with Slack, your eyes run up and there is a temptation to connect all 100 applications and integrations .

    We in YouGile

    Although we are no more difficult than an instant messenger like Telegram, in the first week the new team uses the functions of working with tasks much more, and after a few days begins to communicate.

    Here is the average number of events for new teams in June:

    The situation is probably similar in toys - first you learn to get the sword, and only then to talk.

    Noise control

    It seems that communicating in the office in a voice is super efficient in terms of speed: Alyosha can shove Petya, who knows everything about his module and he will tell everything at once. But in fact, communication via instant messengers is more effective, because text communication is cheaper than live communication. During live communication, Petya will have to ignore his task and, after answering Alyosha’s question, dive back, and switching, as we know, takes up to 20% of the time. And each new connection during the day is given more and more difficult. In the office, the line between work and communication is blurred, and communications are often empty. Unlike text communication, during live communication Alyosha can at the same time ask Petya: “By the way, how are you with Masha?” Or “So what did the Friday party end with?” And it will be even more difficult to return to your tasks. A lot of time is spent on empty chatter, in which it was possible to solve problems. There is one more fact that indirectly affects the rise in the cost of live communication - forgetfulness. Said aloud information can be simply forgotten.
    Interesting. Cybersport teams consider the amount of noise to be one of the main metrics of the quality of communications : the more messages directed specifically to solving a team task, and not to express emotions or useless facts, the more effectively the team spends time-constrained rules.
    Telegram or Skype partially solve this problem by the simple possibility of switching to the mode without notifications. But there is another reason for distraction: friends, family, relatives. And some are familiar with the worst - the “ parent ” chat rooms. “It's terrible when companies are forced to mix personal and work accounts in the means of communication,” complain Habr's users in discussing the choice of Telegram as a corporate messenger.

    Slack is good because there are no external stimuli and entertainment channels. Being specially sharpened for corporate communication, the messenger has provided the ability to turn off notifications. And advanced users can be confusedand make a list of words or phrases that will not receive notifications.

    But if the channel structure is chosen poorly, then the channels are not a clear delimiter. They rather share groups than discussion topics, so topics / discussions are still duplicated between channels. Quote :
    “In typical situations that I have observed, it is difficult to understand the current topic of discussion - which channel, which topic corresponds to each specific message”

    In YouGile does not make noise

    We have achieved this thanks to the structure of communication. In the YouGile interface, there is also a button to turn off notifications for different time intervals from 30 minutes to days. But according to statistics, it is pressed very rarely - 0.02% of users per day. We did it for a long time and only because everyone else has a function and new users asked: “Colleagues, how will I turn off notifications?”. Since each chat has a specific, rather narrow topic, the discussion participants do not deviate from it. The task closes - the chat also closes.

    One of the popular reasons for the oversupply of information in instant messengers is to connect them to tasktrackers. Most teams that use Slack connect it to Jira or Trello, and receive notifications when the task status changes to a channel. But such channels are almost doomed to make noise - the flow on a broad given topic will not be useful and definitely not for everyone.

    In the development department is often found the classic channel - "Incidents". All events are thrown in there when something falls off. A very important channel, because the whole team should know that something went wrong. But in the end, every message turns out to be just a nuisance for someone. The bug may be insignificant or even applies only to system administrators.

    In YouGile, the noise is less, since each task is chat and it is easy to unsubscribe from a specific narrow one. So if the user does not need information on the task, he clicks one tick and unsubscribes.


    Transparency increases confidence and improves relationships between teams. Here is a short story that Stratoplan told about one of his clients.
    “We just had to pass the project, but began to spam about the timing. In short, every day we began to write to the customer what we do, what problems we have and how we will solve them. Prior to this, we had reports once a week or at the request of the customer, and here we ourselves began to write every day. As a result, yesterday we received estimates for the quarter. Our assessment turned out to be more than in those neighborhoods where we did not delay the deadlines. ”
    In Telegram and Slack, achieving transparency is not very difficult: it is enough for a new user to give access to the message history and with full perusal everything will be transparent. Understanding what happened last week, while you were on vacation, is also not a problem - just viewing all the new messages and communication in the smoking room will not begin with the general question “What news?”, But specifically “What happened to Alia?” The latest layout from him is just a piece of ***** ”.

    The problem arises if you need to be aware of a narrow topic after the holidays, already than the available channels in which you have to look for a discussion of the desired topic. Most likely, you need to either organize another additional chat and ask specific questions, or read the entire correspondence on the project or team. Even a very advanced search is not able to greatly reduce the time.

    The root of the problem is that the structure of communication is formed by someone's will, and not by objective need. Channels should not appear for subjective reasons (someone, even the boss, decided that we would communicate on such topics in the team), but for objective reasons, there is a specific task and when the topic runs out, the channel should die off naturally.

    In YouGile

    You do not need to subscribe to a task to access comments on it. This provides transparency while reducing noise.

    In blue chat rooms on tasks you are a direct participant, in gray ones you just have access, but you are not subscribed to them and do not receive notification.

    Instead of conclusion

    The experiment , which was conducted on the results of the Collegiate Cyber ​​Defense Competition, showed that the most productive are those teams that least communicate with each other. The fact is that at some point it is the lack of communication that is a sign of excellent understanding. Successful cyber teams should not discuss every detail when protecting a network; they already know what to do.

    In YouGile, we are not yet seeing the fall in communication in teams after some time. The schedule just goes to the plateau.

    Maybe all the teams that choose YouGile - the tool is very confused on the right communication - they themselves understand that it is better not to chat.

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