June 8, 2017

Why #5: Why is my data all over my too many PM tools? Oh.

"Where was it that we discussed the new UI? Was it on the product channel or the design one? I think it was on data-feedback! Found it. Wait, this is not updated! We improved it last time we commented on Jira. And I remember Jack said something when I saw him at lunch about the email Emily sent him on this.."

And the thought goes on.

Sounds familiar?

Well, you must've probably figured out by now what I'm talking about here.

Yes, it's the unending problem of scattered information all across channels. No matter how many tools you're using to optimize your data flow, it is bound to get lost somewhere. We, as humans, are one of the main variables that are causing this very issue.

We forget to update our Trello, we post things on the wrong channel because of a misunderstanding, and we tell ourselves we'll remember to do it later, knowing fully well that we will forget all about it. It's understandable, normal even. We're human. But what is it about information that just makes sure it is lost one way or the other?

Data. Data E.VE.RY.WHERE.

For starters, we can't help the huge load of data we deal with daily. We're living in a very busy world where things change within the fraction of a second. We deal with an unbelievable flow of information, even if we're not aware of it. Every sound we hear, message we read, word we say is considered data. Its level of its importance and relevance to what we're doing depends though. That's for our brain to iterate and keep what is important. It is its job to mute the music coming from your coworker's headphones and focus on what your boss is telling you as you read the investor's email.

That is exactly why we have things like big data management and business intelligence. Actually, taking care of data is a job in itself. Can you believe that! That's how serious things are. That's why we need to be careful when dealing with what we receive or are about to say. But most of all, we need to make sure to say things in the right place.

The "where" part makes all the difference.

Knowing where to give your feedback, suggestion, or CTA is crucial to effective communication. You need to make sure to back up everything that is work related so that you can go back to it once you need it. But also, make sure to put bits of information in their appropriate places. Meaning that, if you're going to give feedback, don't say it in person or put it on your product channel. It's important that you put it in the perfect channel where the whole team knows where to find it. Pin it if you need to! You wouldn't want to have different parts of the same feedback scattered across different tools and channels.