Effectiveness of communication

I wanted to do a blog post on methods of communication that we use as a group in order to interact with each other for the project. Communication can come in many forms, such as writing, speaking or other through other mediums. Communication is important because without it we would not be able to work effectively as a team for many reasons; how would we exchange new ideas or improve current ones? How would we be able to check progress within the group? How would we make sure we meet our deadlines with the best possible results? The answer to that is simple, we wouldn’t. Not if our methods of communication weren’t effective.

Within any business there are many methods of communication used, and depending on that company would vary how effective that type of communication would be. Some tend to use methods of text or email, others prefer face time or video messaging services such as skype. In the games industry, there are many different jobs going on at once such as people creating concept work, others programming, others testing so it’s vital in order for a game to be produced that each of these individuals are aware of what the other is doing. Even within these different job roles communication is vital so you are aware of what other members of your team are doing and that everyone is on the same page with what needs to be done etc.

During our client project we have used many methods of communication in order to exchange conversation. Some of these methods are more relaxed while others were used professionally but each were effective. Our first methods of communication were Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, so let me jump on and discuss how we used each of these. Facebook allowed us to not only create a page for us to communicate with each other but also allowed us to create a method of communication with the general public.

For communication with each other, I found that Facebook was extremely effective as it was something we were all familiar with and that most of us had apps already on our phones meaning that everyone was always contactable. The usability of Facebook made it easy for us to drop comments for all the group to see but also allowed us to private message each other in regards to work giving us a range of communication. The only issue I found with Facebook was that because it was seen as a ‘social’ website due to us all using it previously for that purpose, our tone and presentation of our arguments and debates sometimes came across unprofessional at times and hindered our work rather than help it, although I must argue that this happened only once or twice and was not a regular occurrence.

As for using Facebook for communicating with the general public, I liked how well Facebook was able to suit our needs. We wanted accessibility to an audience of individuals who were interested in our project and Facebook allowed us to share our page and gain ‘Likes’ so that people could follow our progression. Due to previously having experience with using Facebook within business I know how effective this method of communication can be if used correctly, so I had high hopes for us using this but sadly it has been rather slow to take off. I feel if in the future we added more material to the page then maybe it will be viewed more and we will begin to become more recognised.

Another tool we had begun to use for our project has been basecamp. Basecamp has a large range of things within it to allow the user to post files and comments, you can post ‘to dos’ so that people are aware what need to be done, just in general it sounds like a great bit of kit to have right? Well, for some it has been really great and use it often while others fail to check it as much as they should. Basecamp is important for us to use within our project as this is how the client knows where we are at and if people are not posting within basecamp it’s only making the client worry that our project will not be completed in time. I sadly have a few issues with basecamp and currently do not have access to it on my mobile device as im out and about usually so keeping up to date with what people have been doing can sometimes be difficult. I also admit that I need to post more into basecamp and leave more comments so in the future I intend to submit more into it so maybe this could be a bit of a new year’s resolution for myself ey?

Youtube and Twitter, from what I am aware, had been set up but not really used often rendering them, at the moment, kind of pointless. Im hoping that after deadlines I can push these forward for us with the help of a couple of individuals. Im also going to bring this into discussion within one of our group meetings as online presence is important and must be an on-going thing otherwise people will stop discussing and being aware of our project. Similar to this, me and one of our group members appeared on the radio not that long ago to get people to send in information which could help us. This idea was really planned out and we had all thought that this would be a great way to speak to the community as directly as we could but sadly this didn’t take off as well as initially thought. The reason why I think this is because I feel that people may too busy to visit us or send an email but I hope that whoever did tune in learned about what we are doing and maybe will come visit us when we finally show our project. Finally, Fleep was an interesting piece of kit we used to talk and file share while we sorted out basecamp and I found myself using this more than I was using basecamp. It allowed us to comment to each other and share files but other than that it didn’t have as many features as basecamp did but still for some reason I preferred this more.

So to sum it up, we have some things we need to improve on in regards to communication as some of the ways we have set up to communicate with individuals have not been used as often as they should have. I personally need to step up and begin using basecamp as much as some of the others within the group do because I have not voiced myself as much as I should have, I think this is because I am a listener and don’t really have much to say as I just crack on with what I have but this needs to change so others in the group know where I am at.

I was also thinking about other methods of communication we could have used and may use in the future. We had at the start of the year used mobile phones in order to communicate small details to each other the odd time but other than that we had not really used it. I think in the future we should push to use this more in order to contact each other to find out where each other is by simply a call or a text. This could also be used to brief other member’s individually about meetings or also to ask for help outside of our scheduled hours. The only negatives I can see with this is obviously the implication of cost but also some of the group may see this as invasive of their personal time outside of study/work hours so obviously if this is to be used it must be agreed upon by everybody.

I have in the past used skype for communication purposes between friends in order to check how they are and it has always been a really good relaxing experience for me. I know in the past one individual used skype in order to access one of our lessons while he was away, so why don’t we use this during group crit for those who are unable to come into workspace for whatever reason. This way, they can still become involved and don’t miss out on information at that current time. The only issue I can think for this is that we would have to create a set up every time we have group crit so this wastes time and can also be cost effective as it could mean buying microphones and cameras. This also leads onto people may feel uncomfortable exchanging information this way and we have to respect that this choice isn’t for all. During writing this paragraph, I had also realised that Youtube offer a similar service in which we could live stream one of our group crit sessions so that individuals could basically sit in but again another issue with this is that it could be accessible to anybody and I simply don’t know enough about the service to know how safe it is. The last thing we would want as a business is to have information leaked about our project to complete strangers. On the other hand, if we used this to show strangers our projects and walk them through bits that we are okay with showing then maybe this could be a good way to gain an audience and get people speaking about our project?

Finally, there is dropbox. Dropbox allows people to drop files into their software and let it be shared to particular individuals, on the website it says ‘Dropbox for Business is the secure file sharing and storage solution that employees love and IT admins trust.’ It is accessible on many different platforms and is very simple to use, plus it has an unlimited file recovery system which could be extremely helpful after some individuals within our group have had issues losing particular pieces of work. I don’t see the issue with implementing this one into our work although basecamp does do a lot of file sharing for us, this one is accessible on many different platforms which could be used as a secondary instance in which if basecamp isn’t accessible, this one defiantly is. I think the only issue people will have is software has to be downloaded (as far as im aware) and also that they will have to get used to another piece of kit which at the moment we seem to be using a lot. I hope in the future we do get to use this as I can only see it as being helpful for us.

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