Why Email Isn’t the Way to do Business

I ran into some interesting statistics on an Atlassian webinar:

  • The average employee checks their email 36 times per hour
  • They receive more than 300 business emails per week
  • It takes 16 minutes to get back on task after checking email

Well, that explains a lot about why it’s so hard to get anything done.  But the webinar host also used a phrase that shocked me: “Inbox zero”.  Seriously? Do people do that?

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The Problems with Email

Here’s why:

  • It’s distracting. You came into your inbox to look for that message from Bob about tomorrow’s meeting, but now that you’re here you see that Betty replied to your question about parking, and there’s a new issue of the newsletter and did you ever respond to that email your boss sent yesterday? And on and on and on. How long will it be before you get back to Bob?
     
  • There’s just too much of it. If my email inbox was a real inbox it would be a fire hazard.
     
  • You don’t get the information you need. I’ve experimented with this a lot.  If you ask three questions in an email, you’ll probably just get an answer to the last one. Should you send three different emails, adding to someone else's inbox clutter? Will numbering your questions help? (Maybe.) Putting the text in bold? (Doubtful.) 

Benefits of Online Forms

So what’s the best alternative? How about online forms that can be used with JIRA? In contrast to email, with online forms: 

  • You can attach, complete and view them from within JIRA. No need to stop work and open up the Pandora’s box that is your email.
  • Regardless of volume, the forms stay attached to the JIRA issue, so you can easily find them, right where they belong.
  • Forms are (or at least should be) designed to collect exactly the information you need. You ask for what you want. You choose the format of the question. You decide whether or not the field is required. Then you get a completed form with all the information you needed in one place. No scrolling through a long thread trying to put it all together.

But Wait! You Also Get…

All the benefits of using JIRA; end to end traceability, issue tracking, workflows, etc. And if you’re using JIRA Service Desk, you have all of those great tools (queues, approvals, SLAs) that empower you to provide excellent request management.

ProForma makes it easy for teams to create and deploy online forms in JIRA. The forms can be created by the people who actually use them, the teams who know their processes.

Sound like a good idea, except that your teams really don’t have time to learn a new system and build all those forms? No problem. We’ve created a library of process templates (customizable forms and their associated request types) for common processes for teams across your organization. Want a supplier reference check form for your Procurement team? Or an advertising requisition form for Marketing? We’ve got you covered. And if your teams don’t find what they need, we’ll be happy to help you build those forms. You don’t need months or even weeks to get your teams converted over to online forms. 

The other advantage of using ProForma forms is that it doesn’t create a burden for JIRA administrators. Since teams can capture the information they need on forms, there’s no need for a plethora of custom fields or complex configurations.  Easy for them. Easy for you.