April 15, 2015

Email Is Out, Social Is In!

Ever work on a software project where hours are wasted keeping everyone in the loop? Okay, there’s an official project plan that everyone is supposed to follow, but in practice, most of the communication is by email.

For Healthcare Software Projects, Email Is Out, Social Is In

Email is a handy tool. But there’s a much better way to handle day-to-day project coordination.
Want Better Project Communication? Give Your Team Some Slack. When it comes to healthcare software development projects, email is out and social is in.

Social communication solutions are completely changing the way development teams collaborate at all stages of a project. They serve as an always-on channel for broadcasting updates, discussing problems, and sharing solutions. The result is shorter communication cycles, greater use of team knowledge, and higher product quality.
If I sound like I’m spouting boilerplate from a social solution provider’s marketing brochures, I apologize. These are actually real benefits that Vicert teams experience on countless projects.
Very early on, we made the decision to use Slack – a great social collaboration tool – on all our projects. After making the switch, we will never go back to running projects over email.
With Slack, we are able to combine all communication for a project in a single place. Have a question for the project team? You post it on the project channel. Have sensitive documents like SOW, contracts, and financials? You can upload them to a private group. Or, if you just want to chat, you can direct message any team member right there in Slack.
But the beauty is – this information isn’t trapped in email attachments on your hard drive. It’s in one centralized, searchable location. Everyone is informed and in the loop – 24/7. And this has a huge impact on your project!
Imagine running a healthcare software development project that doesn’t involve rooting through old emails to find an input document. Imagine not getting stressed out about whether you remembered to copy the whole team on your last update.
When you work with Vicert, using Slack for your project, you maintain better visibility to key project events and have a single view of all activity and progress.


Two Favorite Things about Social Communication

One of my favorite things about Slack is the ability to create custom channels within a project for people in specific roles. For example, we might create one channel just for Java developers who want to discuss nitty-gritty coding issues and another for executives who only need to see milestones and budget summaries. That way, nobody gets bombarded with irrelevant content.
Another favorite thing? The fact that problems get resolved so much more quickly. There is no more sending an email, waiting a day for a response, finding out that the person cannot solve the problem, forwarding it to a second person, and then waiting a day for them to respond with a clarifying question. On Slack, we just post an issue once, and those with expertise in the area can chime in with suggestions.
This is just one of a number of tools and processes we use when building healthcare IT projects. It is how we change the lives of those touched by healthcare IT systems.
Author: Digital Health Team
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