# Tools for internal communication
Communication is at the heart of what we do and communicating effectively and efficiently within the company is essential to our work. We use a number of digital for communication.
Rocket is an open source instant messaging solution akin to Slack. As a distributed company Rocket is essential for the convenient communication between the team and is the preferred communication tool for day-to-day purposes.
As part of your induction process, an account will be created for you on Agile Collective’s Rocket server (rocket.agile.coop). Once you have your username and password you’ll be able to access the server via the desktop, mobile or web app.
The following are a number of suggested ways to help you and your fellow colleagues when using Rocket:
- Try to use the Status to signify if you are available or not.
- Avoid @-ing people on Rocket when they aren’t working – use email instead or call them if it’s an emergency.
- Use @here rather than @all as the latter results in a notification to those with the Rocket app installed on their phone even if they do not have the app open.
- If you are writing a paragraph of text, send the full paragraph, not individual sentences which could be broken up by other people's off-topic sentences. It makes things easier to read.
- Let people know when you are away from your desk during working hours e.g. for lunch or an appointment.
Channels are open to all users of the Agile Collective Rocket server and as such conversation in these channels is ‘public’. Most of the channels exist permanently and have a prescribed use – see below for a list of permanent channels.
# Public channels
You may create new channels to discuss any topic you wish - however, please always be respectful to your colleagues and our clients in your conversations. It is worth remembering that when someone is added to a channel they can read the history of that channel.
# Private groups
Private groups are non-public channels. Only users who have been given explicit access to the private group by the group administrator may access them. The primary use of private groups is for projects. For more information on private groups see: https://rocket.chat/docs/user-guides/channels/#private-groups (opens new window)
# Direct messages
One-to-one communication between Rocket users. Generally, if the conversations between individuals are relevant to the wider team then a channel or private group should be used.
# Conference calls
We use Google Meet by default. Google Meet rooms can be accessed by anyone with the link and do not require a google account, login or password to join. To create a new room, there are two ways:
Create a calendar event: Any calendar events we create will automatically have a Google Meet room created for them. These are randomly generated URLs and will be accessible through the calendar event. In the event of a repeating meeting, the URL will remain constant. The room shares the name of the calendar event.
Create a room through meet.google.com: You can go to the site directly to create and name a room. As with the calendar invites, the URL is automatically generated and cannot be edited.
We organise meetings and other events around what’s in an individual’s calendars. The use of Google calendars allows us to see what’s in everyone else’s calendar and meetings get arranged around what’s in your calendar. It is generally better to ask individuals if they are able to attend a meeting at a given time before sticking something in their calendar, but this is not always possible.
- Subscribe to your colleagues calendars so they show up on yours. You can toggle them on and off if you find it overwhelming!
- Put all work related meetings / events or personal appointments in the calendar so we have a clear idea of when people are not available.
- Respect people’s time slots! If a client meeting can only happen at a certain time which clashes with a pre-arranged internal meeting, then please discuss this with the organiser ahead of time.
The aim of Forecast is to understand our upcoming resourcing commitments, highlight conflicts, make sure people are adequately resourced, as well as discover resourcing gaps overcommitments and opportunities. It is the responsibility of all to ensure that Forecast is accurate and individuals are encouraged to review their own forecast and raise any changes, issues or conflicts with the relevant circles and teams (projects or support)
# Google Docs
Google docs is the main document store used. Uses include:
- Policies and processes
- Client and project documentation
- Internal meeting minutes
- Working group documentation
- Templates (meetings, proposals etc)
- And more ….
The main shared folder is called Agile Collective, everything placed here will be shared with people in the firstname.lastname@example.org group; which includes all employees.
We send regular emails as our regular communications with clients. Internally, we use email for a number of different things, including:
- Sending out reports
- Sharing news and interesting events
- Notifications on tickets in support.agile.coop
- Notifications on Loomio threads (although this isn’t working at the moment).
Employees are expected to check emails at least once a day, but should exercise their own judgement in deciding when to respond.
Those employees that are also responsible for checking company inboxes should still check their personal inbox.
# Out of office
You are expected to set an out of office responder in Google Mail if away from your email on a normal working day for a day or more e.g holidays, conferences or times when you will be difficult to reach. An example of an out-of-office includes:
Hello, I'm currently out of the office, returning on [return date]. For business inquiries, please contact email@example.com. For any urgent support requests, please raise a ticket on support.agile.coop or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Best, Liam
Loomio is a tool that facilitates member discussions and decisions, for more details on how we use it, see the Member Decision-making Policy. (TODO is not here anymore) Members are encouraged to engage and be active on Loomio, and therefore to set aside some time each week to contribute to open threads and discussions to allow those to move forward. We have 2 Groups:
- Agile Collective Team - accessible to all employees
- Agile Collective Members only – accessible to members only
Within a group, you can start a “thread” like a normal discussion forum. Once you have created a thread, you can then create “proposals”. Loomio has a range of proposal types e.g. poll, decision, dot vote.
A comprehensive overview of how Loomio works can be found here.
# Channels and Rooms
|#agile||General communication to the whole company. This channel should not be used for discussions relevant to a specific area of work\the business should use one of the channels below.|
|#noticeboard||Important information relevant to the whole company. It is a useful resource for employees wishing to catch up on decisions\updates following a period of absence. It should NOT be used for conversations or following up on things, simply for giving important business information.|