The Death of Email or Premature Mourning?

The Death of Email or Premature Mourning?
19 Jan 2021

The Death of Email or Premature Mourning?

Emails are part of the past for the new generations, since children and young people between 8 and 18 years old have practically forgotten e-mail as a means of communication, to such an extent that 79% of those who belong to Generation Z (people who were born between 1995 and 2005) recognized that this mechanism is not part of their online life.

Traditional devices are no longer widely used in addition, text messages began to be forgotten, since only 10% of the young people who participated in the study responded that they send between one and 10 daily messages. On the other hand, cell phone use is widely extended and is concentrated in a series of communication and recreational activities such as the camera, games, Internet access and social networks, while telephone calls and text messages decreased.

The main culprits for this change in trend are instant messaging systems such as WhatsApp, which offer free and in-the-moment communication. Members of Generation Z do not make exclusive use of these media or instruments, but combine the performance of activities at the same time.

We've already said it, the days when email was the primary tool for collaborative projects are over. The importance of email as a project management tool was due to its convenience and speed in the beginning. The obstacles to accessing it were few because everyone had an address, an email program built into their desktop or browser, and no training was required. For this reason we used it, not only for short instant messages, which was its true reason for being, but because of its ability to bring people together virtually and collaborate.

However, it has been overshadowed by better tools. When you have to collaborate with a team and monitor dozens of parts at once, email has to bear a load that it was not designed for, making it increasingly difficult to find information or consolidate it.

Let's find out the exact reason why email reached the end of its useful life in project collaboration:

1. Email is a "push" system

According to productivity in the United States is so low.Now let's compare this experience with the "pull" system that collaboration software offers you. If I need the updated sales presentation, I can look in the public folder in the marketing department, which includes, among other things, folders for content resources and perhaps presentations as well. I can also start a search for sales presentations using meaningful keywords. I don't have to wait for a coworker to send it to me, I can get it myself.

2. Email is a disorganized repository of information

When a thread has 10 messages and in such a bottomless pit the deadline for my assignment appears, I have two options: look in the inbox for the word "deadline" or check those 10 messages one by one. , until you find the "missing information". In the process, I will have wasted valuable minutes that could have been used more productively.

Instead, a collaboration tool tells me the delivery date right out of the box, along with a full summary of all the pertinent information I need to get started: the goal, the audience, the delivery format, if you have a lot or minor, maybe also older versions of the file that I have to update. I can then easily group tasks into folders so that all related information or to-dos are organized by context. Of course, I can also use labels in my inbox. But that's already part of my personal settings and the rest of my team will never see those labels.

3. Email doesn't have a built-in workflow

Also related to the tag problem mentioned above is the complete absence of email workflow. Of course, I can install a Gmail plugin or a Chrome extension (and there are many) to give my inbox a certain process aspect, but this is also personal. Having an entire team mimicking my personal setup takes time and takes unnecessary effort. And all to be able to label emails as "delayed", "in process", "finished", etc. Don't get me wrong, you're free to turn your inbox into a to-do list, but email isn't designed for that.

On the other hand, collaboration tools were designed to support projects, regardless of their size, and divide them into smaller tasks, impose order, priorities and process on them. Even better, some (not all) cloud collaboration tools give you the ability to customize workflows to suit the way your team works, not the other way around. Because the team shares the same vision, everyone can see the global context of each task and be informed when a task they are working on has moved to the next phase of the team workflow.

Managing projects by email will not advance your company

Email doesn't go away, it's still a great way to communicate briefly and share general information. But email has died as a project management tool. If you refuse to accept it, good luck trying to keep up with the competition. If you continue to manage projects by email, you are choosing to slow down the speed at which the organization does things.