How to think about email practices in your organization, how to build knowledge in your company, and how you should manage email with your entire team.
Don't be a solo inbox hero, email is a team sport!
Presented to the Vancouver Digital Project Managers Meetup https://www.meetup.com/Vancouver-Digital-Project-Managers/events/234925545/
Email is a Team Sport
Vancouver Digital Project Managers • October 2016
–Bill French, 1999
“Email is where
knowledge goes to die”
What’s wrong with email?
Knowledge trapped in individual inboxes
Discussions can’t be passively discovered /
Doesn’t build knowledge
You’re not “working out loud”
Ye Olde Emaile Skillz
Many email “best practices” have already been lost
Top posting an answer, explanation, or other details
when it’s a response to something that comes after
Trimming a long email to just the relevant bits, or
trimming a long chain of previous replies
Editing the subject when … there is a new subject
A word for the email you put off
responding to because you want to
give it your full attention—and
If you’re going to use email as a to-do list,
then do it properly
Every email in your inbox is a to-do
File it, schedule it, or respond to it
Newer email apps understand this (e.g.
Mailbox schedule / snooze innovation)
Zero Internal Emails
Why do you send email to someone else in
What collaboration tools do you use?
How are you building knowledge
Do you teach new employees email at your
Are you in an email first culture?
Have a question? Send an email!
Want to let everybody in the ofﬁce/
company/world know about something?
Send an email!
Bonus points: CC extra people!
Are you in an ask on Slack first
Unless Slack is managed, people get lazy
and just ask the same question all the time,
Naming conventions, automation, teaching
people how to mute / manage notiﬁcations
Bots might have some play here
Treat Email as
Your company is a hill fort, and you stockpile
knowledge and short messages internally.
Externally, you work together to catapult out
messages, and to catch the incoming ﬂood
Company Email is Owned by the
Take advantage of this to turn it into a team
We do this for projects, why not for email?
Whose job is it to write it down?
How do you get volunteer scribes?
How do you elevate note taking?
How do you build knowledge in your
Front App http://frontapp.com
“Great external communication
relies on flawless internal
Do we need more inboxes?
1) the thread that keeps getting
2) the long running discussion
which gets re-forwarded when
someone is looking for the same
Drafting, copy editing
Best person for the job
Working out loud
Links for everything
Banksy Email Stencil, Bruno Girin https://
Boris in a Quip shirt, Rachael Ashe http://
Hill fort, Josh Bushinsky https://www.ﬂickr.com/
Cat inbox, Citizen Helder https://www.ﬂickr.com/