Friday, February 15, 2013

Use Skype Groups to Improve Team Communications

What I love about my job is that I have the opportunity to work with many teams. From time to time, I learn something that is so good; it changes the way I work. The team I am currently working with uses Skype Groups to ask questions, make project announcements and, sometimes, banter back and forth. It really improves how the team works together.

A Skype Group is simply a set of Skype users saved under a name. To send a message to the group, you simple click on the group and type your message. An example of some of our conversations in our group is shown below. We call our group “Dev Chat”.

We use “Dev Chat” to broadcast any information that the group members will find useful. It has turned out to be kind of like a private Twitter for the project. The team knows to monitor the group, and look at the thread when a new message appears.

I have included some of the types of communication we use below:
  • When team members have questions of each other, they post them on “Dev Chat”. This could be a tester asking a question or developers corresponding.
  • When a person will be in late on a given day or needs to work from home, we “Dev Chat” to notify the team.
  • If a team member will not be able to make the standup, they notify the team and mention what they have been working on. Note: If a person misses the standup without notifying the team, it costs them a quarter.
  • When a server is down or there is some environmental problem, we post the issue on “Dev Chat”. Since the operations group monitors “Dev Chat”, they typically respond quickly.
  • When operations needs to restart various environments, they use “Dev Chat” to request a window and schedule the restart.
  • Jokes and sarcasm also make their way into “Dev Chat”. Sometimes the jokes are quite bad.
This fast and spontaneous communication mechanism really helps increase productivity as well as morale. Since Skype is available on most devices, it is easy to monitor activity no matter where you are. Also, the history of the conversation is available.

Setting up a Skype Group is easy. Select Create New Group from the menu.


Drag the contacts you want to include in the group.


Click on Save Group in Contacts.

Give the group a name.

Once the group is saved, anyone in the group will receive messages. You can read more about Groups here.

I hope your team will find this as useful as ours does.

1 comment:

Blogger said...

Get daily ideas and methods for making $1,000s per day ONLINE for FREE.