Mailing list

Pros:

  • Minuted
  • Detailed
  • Scales (if you are following)

Cons:

  • Difficult to grasp thread if using a poor client (common)
  • Difficult for some people to write and respond to emails (common with the older generation and decision makers)
  • Threads can just carry on and on ...

Face to Face (F2F) meetings

Tracking #devices IRC via 3G G1

Pros:

  • High bandwidth communication
  • Often highly effective
  • Important for deeper social connections
  • Natural

Cons:

  • Often needs careful planning and agenda in order not to waste any time
  • Often needs excellent chairing to avoid 'rat holing'
  • Needs to be minuted
  • Very expensive in time and money
  • Important people can be missing (may join with Teleconference)
  • Teleconference bridges can sink a F2F meeting's effectiveness (see pros listed above)

Video conferences

Pros:

  • Requires a very good Internet connection
  • Expensive
  • Convenient

Cons:

  • People you need to talk to often do not have compatible equipment
  • Some videoconferencing solutions are incredibly awkward
  • Does not scale
  • Complex

Teleconferences

Pros:

  • Can make quick decisions
  • Can mention sensitive items 'off record' to the group (quite hard WRT mailing list)
  • Only reasonable backup for attending some F2F meetings, when lack of IRC back channel
  • Can be quite good quality and cheap with Skype

Cons:

  • Decisions can be made too hastily
  • Does not scale (annoying delays)
  • Sound quality issues
  • "I take silence as agreement"
  • Talking out of turn is awkward
  • Can be expensive if no local dial-ins available
  • No formal IP bridge for Skype for example
  • Quite hard to find a time to suit everybody

IRC - Inter Relay Chat

Pros:

  • Always on
  • Often quick to get a response
  • Scales
  • Can export minutes to Web easily
  • Helps to track F2F communication (non-native English speakers)

Cons:

  • Only geeks use the medium :)
  • It is tricky to setup properly
  • Takes some experience to be used to the medium
  • Takes even more time to understand minute syntax and robot commands
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