Internal emails are a cancer. Stop them

Internal emails are a cancer. Stop them

This happened last week…

  • 08:30: a dev messages me saying “the server is down. Do you know why?” I say that I don’t, but for him to go and talk with the Ops guy (who sits two desks away) and see if they can figure it out
  • 08:45: an email is sent out asking for help
  • 10:00: the Ops guy opens his email and responds with “you’ve got the wrong URL. This is the URL you need”

Such a common problem and such a simple fix. And it took an hour and a half to fix. If the dev had walked over to the Ops guy, it would have been sorted within two minutes.

Oh, I need email to send out mass messages to everyone

Do you? REALLY? I’m an inbox zero kind of guy. I don’t like seeing that I have unread messages as it irritates me. It’s my OCD. But just because I’ve got inbox zero doesn’t mean to say that I’ve read them. I ignore all sorts of shit - emails from HR saying that someone has done something, ones from people I don’t know saying “please sponsor my little Johnny”, repetitive messages from Jira about a but I fixed months ago etc.

The other ones I ignore are the ones with loads of people in the TO or CC. If it’s important, someone else will sort it out - it’s not my immediate problem.

Devs sometimes need to share technical information

Yes we do. But even if email is the best place to share it, you still ought get up and go and talk to the individual. It’s much better to say “hi Bob, I’m struggling to connect to this URL. Check your email and you’ll see the URL in question” than email it because Bob will have his own stuff on the go.

This sort of information is best shared via instant message. There’s so many different ones out there for free, Skype, Hangouts etc. My personal favourite is Slack as it’s so flexible - you can set a channel for regular communications between groups and you can message between individuals.

Assume emails are not going to be read

That’s a good rule of thumb. We all filter out emails and think “oh, that’s important I’ll do it later” and then a new pile of stuff comes in and it gets forgotten.

If it’s important and blocking you, get up and talk to your colleagues. If they’re equally busy, they can always ask you to politely sod off and come back in half an hour.