Today, I was reading a FastCompany article called Why Better Transportation Options Keep You Healthy. It's a good writeup with some infographics. I lived in the Netherlands for a year and got infused with the bike culture where people of all ages use their bikes to go to work, buy groceries, and visit friends. I was in great shape!
This article led me to think about a correlation between the transportation of people versus the transportation of information within projects and business processes. I will call this form of transportation, iTransporation. No! Just kidding. Let's just call it collaboration methods.
I assume you all agree that one of the key reasons projects run into trouble is poor communication. This includes the wasted time in getting important things done. We have all experienced the big black hole of email communication. I send out and email with a task or an important question. Wait. Wait. Wait. At the other end, the person says "what email?". Email as a transportation methods works. The information is transported. The problem is that it can get easily buried, muddled in with others, or simply overlooked.
Email is like cars on the road. Cars don't help us stay physically healthy. Emails don't help our projects stay healthy. Here is how I suggest an analogy between people transportation and people collaboration vehicles.
- Cars = Not healthy for our bodies. We're isolated from the others in our environment (the outdoors).
- Email = Like cars, not healthy. Our emails get isolated from the projects and get lost.
- Bikes, Buses, and Walks = Much more interactive with people.
- Instant Messaging and Application Messaging = Real time interaction and focused messaging with projects.
Could our projects really become healthier if we take cues from the better modes of transportation? If we look at instant messaging, the information pops up instantly in front of us. They are hard to ignore. It's as if the person is standing there waiting for an answer. Unlike email, the interaction with the other person is in real time. Likewise, project management application messaging is more focused and attention grabbing than email, assuming the people are using the application to get work done. Also, the message conversation stream is maintained at the place where the work is defined and managed, unlike email.
We could say our projects can be healthier with more interactive and sustaining collaboration methods. This could greatly shorten the waiting-on-work time periods. It can also reduce human error caused by forgetfulness.
In the following infographic image, the top half (above the dotted line) is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New PublicHealth National Prevention Strategy series. The bottom half with the arrows is what I added to show a correlation between better transportation of people and better transportation of project information.
I would love your comments.