General Communication Guidelines

April 28, 2011

Chapter 10 – Written Communication

Every form of communication in this chapter is archived. Practically speaking, what you write in a bug report or on a wiki page will be available forever. All of the systems in this chapter are visible to other people, whether it is your company reading email logs or a future employer reading your blog.

Choose your words carefully and consider the following general guidelines.

Stick with the facts. If there is a controversial issue, avoid giving unsupported opinions. Take the time to make a reasoned argument based on facts.

Be respectful. It is much easier to offend people when you don’t have a personal relationship.

Be polite. You will never regret being too polite.

Avoid profanity. Remember, what you write may be seen by your coworkers, customers, and potential employers. Keep everything you say safe for work.

Check your spelling and grammar. A few typos are unavoidable, but you should take the time to use a spell checker and proofread your comments at least once.

Stay off the soap box. If you are having a problem with a person or policy in your workplace you shouldn’t bring it up in public. A bug comment or wiki page is not the right place to air your personal grievances.

Stay positive. Bringing up issues is fine, but focus on solutions rather than problems. Make suggestions, not just criticisms.

Be very careful about privileged information. Never post privileged information to public systems. If you have any questions about a specific piece of information you should ask your manager.

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