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Dan Donahue

Musician. Traveler. Programmer.

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I've recently been reading a lot about the way GitHub works. One thing they stress is to be asychronous. To that end, they use a tool similar to Basecamp (or maybe it is Basecamp) to facilitate most of their office communication. It's basically one forum where workers discuss what they're doing and anyone can read it and get visibility into what anyone else is doing. I find that a really useful model. I've been stressing asynchrony at my job quite a bit lately. I find that meetings are disruptive, including daily huddles or office-wide huddles which we currently use in order to inform teams of work that may affect them.

You can get around the asynchrony issue with things like email. But I was recently reading this blog post from one of the founders of Treehouse and he adds another compelling reason to use a forum as your means of communication that I hadn't really taken into account until now.


In the first paragraph, the author writes:

"The default mode of communication at Treehouse is 'public'".

What a novel idea. That means most communication is not done through emails, closed-door exclusive meetings, etc. These are silos of information. Rather, when you aim for a majority of communication to be public, everyone can be on the same page. Not only can developers know what decisions are being made, but the reverse is also true - progress is public and much easier for product owners, etc. to see.

I found this to be an interesting benefit I hadn't thought of. I've seen it happen where information gleaned out of a silo is met with resentment. Perhaps it affects a team in a way that the original deliverers of that information did not intend or comprehend. It's good to get that information out for everyone as quickly as possible. It shows trust in your employees that they know best and have the desire to do right, as opposed to keeping information close to the chest and only share it with those you deem it necessary to give it to.