The Power of Face-to-Face Collaboration

May 6th, 2015 | Published Under At the CORHIO Office by Kelly Joines

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Robert J. McCloskey

As a (very) late and (very) reticent adopter of allowing staff to WFH (i.e. work from home), I am deliciously delighted when eyeball-to-eyeball collaboration produces amazing successes.

Recently, CORHIO took a significant software upgrade from our technology partner, Medicity. This upgrade included modifications to xx clinical interfaces, a new PatientCare360 User Interface, training for xx users, <additional key stats here from Robert and Karla>, and uncountable hours of testing and issue resolution by CORHIO and Medicity staff.

Instead of the usual virtual software testing approach of it’s broken/no, it’s not, it’s a feature/it’s broken/no, it’s not, it’s user error/ IT’S BROKEN/okay, you are right, it’s broken, I will schedule a fix, CORHIO chose to have key Medicity resources move in to the CORHIO offices with key CORHIO staff to test-fix-test-repeat together, in real-time, face-to-face, in one hot crowded room, to which we IT folks are inherently drawn.

Instead of week-long sprints to apply remedy, software was updated on the fly as issues were discovered and corroborated.  Sometimes, we created more issues than were closed in a given day, but most of the time the defect burn-down rate was in daily double digits. Working together, we could all see the same thing at the same time, determine priority and remedy approaches collectively, and compromise based on overall agreed-upon goals. Even under pressure, communication tone and intent was clear face-to-face and in real-time; something that is often lost via email or instant messaging, or even by phone or video conferencing. CORHIO gained further insight into Medicity’s development machine, and Medicity gained further understanding of our participants’ needs.

This approach ensured that CORHIO met its commitment to our communities to deliver the upgrade on time and with quality. The upgrade went live, as planned in July, and we are now taking advantage of new features such as easier patient search, better Internet browser compatability and overall improved interface.

Along the way, trust was formed, communication was honest and respectful, individual frustration was limited as we were “all in this together,” knowledge was freely shared, bad take-out was eaten, and Medicity got to see the Rockies play ball.

And hey, when this level of success can be achieved while WFH, I will be the first in line.