You track or manage your projects with excel or with your email account. How do you make sure not to miss important communications that were sent to other members of your team? How to make sure they don’t forget to forward you that information?
There are some new interesting tools that allow to avoid using emails for internal communication or even with some external partners but these tools are far from ideal when it comes to official communications, share documents or bigger files or to efficiently manage your projects.
There are currently 6.69 billion email accounts, do not let the news fool you, emails are not dead. We often have several email accounts. Emails are here to stay, for important and official business communications.
For some businesses emails are an essential tool, critical, to communicate and send documents.
• With internal team member not located in the same location.
• With external partners, clients, suppliers.
Emails are effective and still widely used for work and business.
They have the following advantages:
• Everybody has emails, no need to make sure the recipient has a specific app or software.
• They are more adapted for formal communications.
• They are asynchronous which makes them less distracting than texts or phone calls. People will not be offended if you do not answer them in the minute.
• You can decide to answer them only at certain time during the day and focus on your work the rest of the time.
• They can be used to keep a record of what was said or done.
• Not to mention, emails can allow a calm down period and to give you more time before answering. This can save you from infamous “foot in mouth“ moments!
While emails are important they were not designed for team work.
Emails have their importance, but they have limitations. I used to hate emails. One thing people complain about is the fact that emails are not designed for team work.
• Email are cumbersome when more than one person needs to be kept in the loop. You can either ask external partners to send their emails to your different coworkers or have one internal contact person that will distribute them to the team. In the first case there’s the risk for your external partner to forget to include some of your coworkers. If you opt for a contact person to handle email distribution, that can quickly become a full time job.
• Emails are not ideal to delegate or accept tasks. How do you know if the task was accepted? If you don’t get an answer is it just because your colleague forgot to notify you or they rejected your request? What is the status on this tasks? This task tracking can quickly generate a ton of internal emails.
• You can’t track what other emails or documents the rest of team has on hand. How do you keep track of what your colleague has received as information from emails related to the different projects?
Note : In this article I describe my own experience using SAM9000 Kanban's email integration. You can use other apps to achieve the same effect. Many project management apps allow you to import emails. Usually you have a plug-in in Outlook, and emails you attach appear in your project management software. With Sam, you see your emails directly within the software, you do not need to process them in Outlook. It is a little easier, in my opinion, but it does the same thing.
This is how Sam can help with emails
Sam will become the central place and become your team Email and document Management system. You keep all the advantages of emails and add several new powerful functions:
• Make relevant email communications available to the rest of the team, directly in context, in the right project.
• Keep only relevant emails, the rest is still in your regular email system and doesn’t pollute your projects.
• All attached documents are automatically filed separately making them very easy to find and use.
• Eliminate internal emails by using project tasks instead.
Emails become documents integrated to your projects.
Emails are documents by themselves and often have other documents attached to them. This is another typical challenge with emails. How do you keep track of these different documents, email content and attached documents?
How do you make sure they are in the right place for your projects?
With Sam Inbox, emails benefit from an integrated Email management system.
The other big advantages, if you are in a team are the following:
With the Inbox function you can decide to
• Attach emails to your different projects. They will become available to everybody in the team. No need to distribute and forward to different people.
• Discard emails not relevant for the project. You can eliminate the clutter of less relevant communications. The ignored emails will remain in your regular email system.
• Create task or multiple ones that will directly reference to that email.
• Tag emails to find them easily.
• Benefit from assisted filing system.
Emails are neatly filed in each project in context. All attached files are also automatically filed and consolidated in their own folder for easy access.
Emails are here to stay, they have their advantages and everybody uses them. But you don’t have to accept their limitations.
Thanks to Sam you can transform your experience and make the most out of them.
You can attach them to your projects, create tasks with link to them. Make them available to everybody in the team. Have all their attached documents filed automatically. The possibilities are endless.
You will never miss important communications that were sent to other members of your team again.