Nearly one year ago I wrote part I of this post on how we (Atlassian) communicate. Usually when one indicates that he’s writing a 2-part series or even 10-part series, it means that he’s going to write more than once. Like, two or ten times.
But, I must hang my head in shame, because I have not, until now, written that second post. However, a few months ago, I responded to a query on the old blog post. Someone had written a comment asking about said Part 2. This is how I replied on the post:

Boy, do I feel guilty. Honestly, not a week goes by that I don’t think “I should write part 2” and then it doesn’t happen. In part, that’s because, as we continue to grow, there isn’t anything to add. I feel like I covered it all in Part I.
Here’s what I thought I would discuss in a Part II…

  • Meeting schedules, meeting policies, meeting productivity
  • Our video conferencing system from Polycom
  • Selective redundancy in functional areas around the company, e.g., we have some pre-sales folks in Sydney and some in San Francisco (and soon, some in Amsterdam), which helps because entire teams are coordinated
  • The policies laid down to help people sift through only relevant information (e.g., a policy that states that employees need only read internal blogs relevant to their functional area)

However, the list above has been evolving and changing over the 15 months since the first post. Some things are no longer true, others don’t matter. The only thing that as been consistent from year to year is the stuff I described in my first post — the wikis, issue tracker, blogging, IM and email have all combined to make it possible to run the company in a distributed and efficient manner. It still actually works! πŸ™‚ We’ve opened a development office in Gdansk and they’re using the same tools to seamlessly (such a marketing term!) collaborate with the rest of the company.
I can imagine some colleagues scoffing at this because of course it’s not a perfect system, of course communication is not as good as if we were all under the same roof. But it does work! πŸ™‚
This long comment probably doesn’t absolve me from writing Part II, but it does buy me some time πŸ˜‰

I have one or two addendums. First, we now have offices in Amsterdam and Poland, as well as a few employees scattered here and there around the world. Second, the number of employees here has doubled since I wrote the first post.
What hasn’t changed is our means of communication. It has scaled with our growth. We still write heaps of internal blogs, use Jira to assign tasks and work with team members, and use video conferencing for some meetings. Perhaps the newest addition to our list of communications tools is Twitter. A lot of us Twitter: with fellow employees, customers, and partners.
If there’s a moral to this story I would sum it up this way:

  • Never promise 2 parts and deliver only 1 πŸ˜‰
  • Confluence’s wikis and blogs scale, continue to be more productive than email alone
  • Jira is a fantastic way of keeping track of all your tasks, not just bugs and defects
  • The bevy of social software tools like blogs, Twitter, and Flickr can round out any communication program

How we communicate, part 2 of 2… almost 12 months later