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I’d floated this question to many of the people I work with. The results (according to this sample set) is unanimous: Yes, but with caveats.
Here are some of the opinions expressed:
Colin Williams says “IM is particularly good for situations where the work group is widely distributed but in the same timezone. Its good for that ‘let me check…’ discussion or sharing of quick snippets. It reduces the burden on email and the response is also immediate in most cases.”
Alison Roberts says “We use IM almost as a ‘clocking in’ mechanism so I know when my team are at their desk and available to talk. It is a good way of reducing costs of phone calls or shoe leather for less important issues, it certainly increases our productivity. However, the downside is that some folks use IM instead of picking up the phone internally or speaking face to face for the gritty stuff…. so I have had to lay down some ground rules for its use.”
Mick Stephens says “We love IM for its simplicity and it reduces the size of my inbox!”
James Trevis says “IM doesn’t replace one to one communication, but its good in my situation, which is virtual teams spread over a campus. We don’t have many meeting rooms, so getting together on IM allows us to productively deal with matters”
Colleen Smith-Riley says “Yes Instant Messaging is a tool which we have successfully implemented and is widely used. The problem is that in a Financial Services organization like mine, we need to retain control of *some* communication for regulatory purposes, so it isn’t always applicable.”
More comments are always welcome!
Note: I find that investigating this subject interesting, and it has a business context. My reason for bringing this into the blog is to get opinion on something that interests me, but it also highlights the kind of questions that any of us in the technical professions should be asking in order to understand the wider context of our craft in the business.