Cons of the private chats for team collaboration

Communication between team members is a very important part of the software development process. Especially when the team works remotely.

At JetThoughts we have a time-proven rule — all communication between team should be in the public channels. Let’s look at the reasons that led to avoiding private chats.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Organize public communication

At JetThoughts we use Discord as one of the communication tools. Every project has its own channel for the current process discussion, also there are some additional chats for company usage (for example, for tracking day-offs, posting interesting tech news).

The basic principles we try to follow are:

  • transparency

  • collaboration

  • collective information ownership

The negative aspects of a private chat usage

Based on such principles, the private chats and direct messages, that are not accessible to other team members, become the anti-patterns. To get into it, let’s highlight the main cons:

  1. Important information is hidden (the information could be helpful for all or some of the team members).

  2. Possible misinterpretation of information (inability for other members to find and resolve possible misunderstandings).

  3. Isolated message history and search (the necessity to look through several places in order to find some information).

The only exception to the rule

Sometimes there are situations when you need to use the direct message or call to chat with someone. In this case, after each private discussion, there should be a summary posted to a general channel with the discussion goals and decisions that were made and quick recaps.

Sharing the communication onto the public channel help preventing a lot of blockers and bottlenecks in advance and maintaining a healthy environment within the team.

Sergey Sviridov is a Software Engineer at JetThoughts. Follow him on LinkedIn or GitHub.

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