Effective communication is critically important in any relationship, be it with your significant other, or your business partners. This is ever so important in the IT Business relationship. After all, if we want to improve alignment, we need to make sure we understand each other. Despite all the efforts, the issues continue to present themselves. A couple of examples from the past few weeks:
In a meeting with IT & operations leaders, a business unit VP was discussing how they needed to better understand the ‘workflow’ and be able to improve it. He asked IT to help. Since the organization had Microsoft SharePoint deployed, the IT team went back and looked at the ‘Workflow’ engine in SharePoint. Unfortunately, the ‘workflow’ he was talking about was the process the people were using to complete their tasks. Same word, different meanings.
A hospital scheduling organization allowed physician offices to fax orders into the system. The orders were converted to PDF files using “Fax-o-matic” (name changed). Indexers then labeled the orders into the email system, and linked it to the order in the scheduling system (I know, a mess, but no $$$ to change). Hospital leadership would constantly hear of issues with the “Fax-o-matic” system. When they approached IT, IT would say it was working fine. To IT, “Fax-o-matic” was the creation of the PDF file from the fax. To Hospital leadership, “Fax-o-matic” was the entire process from faxing the order to linking it to the scheduling system, as well as finding it as necessary.
Much time and effort could have been saved (as well as some nasty meetings in the case of the second example) if both parties had taken the time to understand exactly what the other was saying, what it meant to them, and explaining what they were going to do. If the IT group had said what it was going to look at when the meeting ended, the VP would have realized they were not on the same page.
When communicating, it is not only important that you understand what the other person is saying, but that you are sure they understand what you are saying.
Let me know your thoughts!