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Blog: why have formal documents? The illusion of communication…

By John Chapman, Programme Director | Tuesday 30th August 2016.
John Chapman
“Second, the documents will communicate the decisions to others. The manager will be continually amazed that policies he took for common knowledge are totally unknown by some members of his team. Since his fundamental job is to keep everybody going in the same direction, his chief daily task will be communication, not decision-making, and his documents will immensely lighten this load.”
The Mythical Man Month (page 111), Frederick P Brooks Jr.
themythicalmanmonth

 

Communication, communication, communication, we need to communicate: not once or twice, but to be in constant communication. The issues and subject matter at hand might appear obvious to us as managers. We can see clearly what is needed, why it is needed. Yet let us not make the mistake of assuming that others have the same view of the world.

Time is often against us. Too much to do, too little available time. How to lighten the load? It may seem paradoxical to spend time writing documents, formalising the thinking and putting pen to paper (figuratively speaking). Yet it is through this medium of communication that the thoughts of our team and wider community can be influenced, and for us a lightening of the load.

George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying:

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place

With limited time let us not waste it on poor communication.

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