Why Messaging Features are Important


Post written by Norman Reed, PIEmatrix Developer

As you may have read in my recent PIEmatrix News blog, we’re expanding social features in the upcoming 5.0 release. I’m here today to share my thoughts on why you might use PIEmatrix or another collaborative application to talk with your co-workers about the work you’re doing, as opposed to say, walking over to their desk or phoning them to have a quick chat.

First of all, a lot of jobs are flow-intensive. As a software engineer, I can attest to the existence of a “zone” --- a mental state in which I need to be in order to get real chunks of work done. I find even the smallest interruptions for seemingly innocent “chats” throughout the day can knock me out of that zone. I'm not alone. Check out this MIT Sloan article on limiting interruptions. A common solution to this problem is to communicate passively. That is to say, instead of walking over and interrupting someone who’s in the zone, send them an instant message or email instead. Answers to these passive communiques can easily be deferred to the end of a chunk of work.

Are there even better options than email or instant message? Social application features like PIEmatrix messages help give your questions or comments real context and a clear place to live. Other team members following the task can immediately see what you are talking about. In addition, most collaboration tools will automatically send email notifications to anyone assigned or following that task when a new post is added. These emails may also provide links back into the application. By writing your question on a project deliverable, milestone, or detailed task, you give the recipients time to finish their current work without interruption and answer your question effectively when ready.

Secondly, messages in the application serves an archival purpose. How many questions have you asked for which you can’t remember the answer? How many decisions are made during the course of a project based on conversations and which have no easy-to-find records? Tools like PIEmatrix offer the capability to look back on previous postings where all the conversations are stored to help find information that will help you today.

So, the next time you feel the urge to kindly interrupt a fellow worker, think about the zone he or she may be in and the possible productivity cost of the interruption. Try a different approach with a social business execution platform like PIEmatrix. Check out the News Blog for updates on the new Social features and other changes coming out in version 5.