Managing via email fails

A friend on Twitter pointed me to a simple post from Chance Bliss.  It's only one paragraph and the title basically tells you everything: Managing projects through email sucks.  But in case that isn't enough, here is the first sentence.

There are many ways to sabotage a project, but the one I find the most effective is email.

Good stuff!  This statement can be just as easily applied to the business at large.  Email is fine for the transmission of facts and some information, but directing people and asking for more nuanced information via email is just asking for trouble.  In most cases, this just fails outright. How many times have you seen emails pinging back and forth when a simple phone call or office drop in could resolve the question then and there? 

The struggle for many people and organizations is that they see no other way to work than via email because it has become so deeply ingrained in the way of doing things.

Here is a suggestion: Instead of sending email, step back for ten seconds and reflect on: Does this need to be sent?  Can I contact the person directly instead?

2 Comment(s)

Kelly said:

True that too much is done via email. One of my pet peeves is people transferring files via email. That's what team sites/CMSs etc are for :)
However, email can be superior over in person or via phone for the simple reason that it gives me documentation of what someone requested or suggested or whatever.
I also find it is more effective than having the meeting then sending a post meeting email summarizing the meeting. The second option feels stilted and is overtly obviously designed for documentation purposes.

Good points. However, at the end of the day, it all comes down to applying common sense and using email for what it does well, and not using it for what it doesn't... Which is true of any tool.

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