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E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
E-mail Communication: How and Why
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E-mail Communication: How and Why

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  • Responding to blaming messages is an interesting subject worth a separate discussion. In brief, I’d advise the following:
  • E-mail is sent to inform people:Project manager or project DLDirect manager when the recipient did not respond to the first e-mail.When somebody is mentioned in e-mail.
  • The body of your email should include all pertinent details in an easy-to-read format. Clearly state:The purpose of the email (synopsis).Any actions or tasks required from the email. Don’t forget to include due dates.Any attachments to the email. These should be spelled out so the recipient knows exactly what is included in the email.Technical details (below or attached)A recap or next steps, if appropriate.
  • The body of your email should include all pertinent details in an easy-to-read format. Clearly state:The purpose of the email (synopsis).Any actions or tasks required from the email. Don’t forget to include due dates.Any attachments to the email. These should be spelled out so the recipient knows exactly what is included in the email.Technical details (below or attached)A recap or next steps, if appropriate.
  • EndingJust like the greeting, always end with a closing, even it’s just your name. Other popular options include: thanks, talk soon, see you soon, look forward to talking to you soon, all the best, best, best wishes, thank you.SignatureAlways have a “signature” on the bottom of your email.
  • Use proper file names:“document1.doc” is unacceptable.File name should be self descriptive.ZIP is the standard de facto for archives.Forget about “.rar” and “.7z” because they are not widely used.Change extensions of potentially dangerous files and archive them:Some mail servers block “.bat” or “.xsl” files.Use appropriate format for pictures:JPG – for photosGIF or PNG - for screenshots of interfaces.Consider alternative distribution ways for huge attachments:Shared folderFTPSeveral e-mails
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    • 1. Delivering Excellence in Software Engineering® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.E-mail Communication: How and Why(miniq version)by Alexander Kediarov
    • 2. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved. 2Questions7Advanced Topics6E-mail Patterns5Responding to E-mails4E-mail Composition Basics3Handling Incoming E-mails2Introduction1
    • 3. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Quick Poll3How many e-mails do youreceive daily?1. Up to 202. 20 – 403. 41 – 1004. 100+How many do you senddaily?1. Up to 32. 4 – 103. 10 – 204. 20+Approximate position:1. Juniors and specialist.2. Senior specialist and team leads.3. Managers.4. Top managers.
    • 4. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.E-mail Inflow Is Overwhelming4No time to readall e-mailsTHOROUGHLY
    • 5. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Implications5E-mails should be:1. Easy to read andunderstand2. Easy to answer andmake decision3. Sent in a timely manner4. Polite and friendly5. Aimed at resolvingclient’s problemsinstead of creating newones
    • 6. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.How to Manage Not Answered E-mails6How to react if you do not get response to your e-mail?1. Most likely your recipient is too busy now2. “3 Nails” principle3. Be polite. Write in constructive way to continuecommunication4. Ask you team lead or PM for assistanceCould you please comment the e-mail below?Did you have a chance to review my e-mail?In order to proceed with this task we need your assistance.Please advise.
    • 7. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Responding to Blaming Messages71. Acknowledgethe problem2. Alleviatethe situation3. Describe theprevention planMain hint! Do not hurry. Have a break then respond.
    • 8. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Usual Newcomer’s Inbox8
    • 9. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved. 9Questions7Advanced Topics6E-mail Patterns5Responding to E-mails4E-mail Composition Basics3Handling Incoming E-mails2Introduction1
    • 10. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Subject – Quick Check<No subject>Vacation request (4/30/10)Very long subject which tries to explain everything in the e-mail and which is truncated due to its lengthNew BugLeft for Vacation [Alexander Kediarov Apr 17, 2010 09:00AM - Apr 17, 2010 12:00 PM]MxExpress Admin Tool (Smoke Test on Virtualized server)Test ResultsSIN: [Alert] possible problems with access onepbyminvsd0312Question10
    • 11. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Spell Checking Did Not Help11Date FormatMM/DD/YYYY
    • 12. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Recipients: To, CC, BCC12Types of recipients:• Direct – To• Indirect – CC• Hidden – BCC
    • 13. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Direct Recipients – To13Some actions are expected from people in To.They are supposed to reply.Exceptions:1. E-mail is addressed to a distribution list (DL).2. A lot of people in To and no direct action items.3. There are some notes like “FYI” or it’s a follow up.
    • 14. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Indirect Recipients – CC14E-mail is sent to inform people. For example:1. Project manager or project DL2. Direct manager (if no answer after first e-mail)3. Mentioned personRecommendations:1. No need to reply unlessyou have somethingimportant to say2. If you are in CC do notreply before people inTo. Wait some time
    • 15. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Hidden Recipients – BCC15When and Why?• To hide the list of recipients• To reduce e-mail size• Only when no replies to all are expected
    • 16. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.E-mail Structure161. Greeting2. Body:3. Polite ending4. SignatureLooking forward to hearing from you.Waiting for your response.Thank you in advance.Thanks,Best regards,Regards,Yours faithfully,Hi,Hello,Alex,Colleagues,Folks,Hi All,“I have written you a long letterbecause I did not have time to write ashort one”Blaise Pascal,Mathematician, Theologist, 1623-1662
    • 17. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Content: Greeting17Always start your e-mailwith greeting.Hello Alex,Hi Alex,Alex,Ramgopal Paripati – RamBalazs Fejes1 – FBTerrance Tripp – DanArkadiy Dobkin – ArkVenkatanarayanan Krishnamoorthy - VenkatGreeting should be consistentwith the list of recipients in “To”.Use the name from signature.
    • 18. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Content: Body18
    • 19. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Content: Body19SynopsisAction itemsDetailsTechnicaldetailsAttachments
    • 20. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Enumerations20Advantages of enumerations:• Easy to reference• Easy to trackDifferent types:• 1, 2, 3, 4, 5• A, B, C, D• 1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3• a, b, c, d• Q1, A1, Q2, A2, Q3• Continuous enumerationSeparate enumerations for:• Assumptions, Development dependencies,QA dependencies, Estimation dependencies
    • 21. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Content: Polite Ending and Signature21Looking forward to hearing fromyou.Waiting for your response.Thank you in advance.Thanks,Best regards,Regards,Yours faithfully,Best Regards,Alexander KediarovSenior Software Maintenance ManagerEPAM SystemsMinsk office, Belarus (GMT+2)Office phone: +375 (17) 210-1662Office fax: +375 (17) 210-1168Mobile phone: +375 (29) 661-2935E-mail: Alexander_Kediarov@epam.comAlexander KediarovThomson ReutersPhone: +375 17 389 0100 ext.1899alexander.kediarov@thomsonreuters.comthomsonreuters.com
    • 22. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Signature22Use the official e-mail signaturefor new e-mails.And short signature for replies.
    • 23. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Attachments23Pay attention to:• File names• ZIP for archives• Dangerous files• Image formats• Huge attachments
    • 24. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Importance Flag24Simple rule:• Low – doesn’t really matter• Normal – first request• High – repeated importantrequest or urgent e-mailNote: Sometimes lowimportance brings attention
    • 25. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Action-Oriented E-mail – Quick CheckWould you reply if…?You got new task.You are in CC and have nothing new to say.E-mail is addressed to a distribution list (DL).A lot of people in To and there are no direct actionitems for you.A lot of people in To and you are not sure whatsteps are expected from you.There are some notes like “FYI”.It’s a meeting follow-up and everything is correct.25
    • 26. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Responding to E-mails26Action-oriented e-mailshould be responded!Your silence breaksthe conversation.If you are not sure then contact yourmanager (curator).
    • 27. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Answering and Quoting – Strategy271. Reply to All.Possible exceptions:– Personal “Thanks”– Internal discussion excludingcustomers– Confidential information– E-mail to DL (sometimes)2. Respond to all questionsor action items.
    • 28. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Case #1. Progress Update28Hi,We are still investigating the issue. Thefollowing steps were done:1. IIS logs analyzed. No issues found.2. Files compared on different servers incluster. They are in synch.3. User permissions were checked. Nothingspecial.We will continue the investigationtomorrow. Additional logging will beimplemented.The next status update will be sent by theend of the week.Best regards,Alexander KediarovAccomplishmentsNext StepsNext Update
    • 29. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Hello,Your request has been received by 3rd levelsupport group.A qualified support engineer will begin theinvestigation as soon as possible and will updateyou with a status shortly, thank you for yourpatience.US Support TeamCase #2. Simple Answer29Hi,The change request #1234 has been implementedand released on staging. Internal QA is inprogress. I will send you the test resultstomorrow.Best regards,Alexander KediarovHarold,Here are my comments regarding bugs reportedby client:1. Done.2. Fixed.3. Not reproducible with our test account. Couldyou please provide user login and password?4. Fixed.5. Works as designed. See requirement Req07.Thanks,Alexander Kediarov1. Task acknowledgement2. Response to direct action item3. Answering to alreadyenumerated questions.
    • 30. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.When you have several topics to comments itmakes sense to inline them into the originalmessage.Adding remarks like [AK] or [A.Kediarov] with atext.Using a different color.Case #3. Inline Comments30
    • 31. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Case #4. Reference to “Remote” Context31This is applicable when you need to citedocumentation, requirements or some sentencefrom a long e-mail chain.1. Use indentation and different color to separatethe quotation.2. Put additional comment to specify the source ofthe quotation.
    • 32. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Case #5. Addressing E-mail to Different People32This approach is useful when you write e-mail toseveral recipients and would like to set actionsitems.1. Highlight names2. Enumerate action items3. Specify deadlines for responses
    • 33. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Case #6. Advanced Coloring33
    • 34. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Case #7. Meeting Follow-upStructure of MFU:1. Participants2. Agenda3. Minutes(items/discussionsand decisions)4. Action ListP.S. You can find MeetingMinutes template in PAL.34
    • 35. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Case #8. OOO Auto ReplyWhy to set up?• Keep people informed• Avoid delays in communicationWhen?• Vacation• Illness• Public holidays• TrainingsThe content:• Why you cannot reply (optional)• When you will be in the office• Alternative contactExample:Im currently on the vacation till April 25.Please contact Aliaksei Sapach instead if you need some assistance with regard to MULTEDGproject.35
    • 36. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Case #9. Skill DL361. Question to distribution list2. People reply directly torequestor only3. Requestor prepares summaryand sends it to DLNote: the same rule is largely used to inquire toNowork DLs (such as NoWork Info).
    • 37. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Meeting Request37
    • 38. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Appointment38
    • 39. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Voting Buttons39
    • 40. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Follow-up Flag40
    • 41. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.E-mail Categories41You can specify color and name for own categories.
    • 42. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Recalling E-mails42
    • 43. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Recalling E-mails – Alternative43
    • 44. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Digital Signature and Encryption44Read Digital Signature and Encryption Policy
    • 45. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Sharing Sensitive InformationYou were asked to provide credentials:1. Use alternative communication channel (Skype)2. Provide the password to the requestor only(separate login and password)3. Reply to all that you shared the password viaSkype45
    • 46. ® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.Be Polite46Do it now!Please do it.Will you do it?Could you please do it?Could you please kindly do it?Would you be so kind to do it?I wonder if you could do it?
    • 47. Delivering Excellence in Software Engineering® 2010. EPAM Systems. All rights reserved.E-mail Communication:How and WhyFor more information, please contact:Alexander KediarovSenior Software Maintenance ManagerEPAM Systems, Inc.Radialnaya, 40Minsk, BelarusPhone: +375-17-389-0100 ext.1899Email: Alexander_Kediarov@epam.comhttp://www.epam.com

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