Communication & Perception

Continuing the discussion from Get (foundcount) calc field to count related records + bonus discussion about the ETS program:

This happens with every organization. Communication ease and size of the company go hand-in-hand. I've worked in companies where it was just me and one other person, I've worked in companies making $10 billion annually...2 people or 50,000. They all have communication problems.

The good side of this is, Claris is listening, and adjusting. Each person you interact with at Claris has more than one responsibility. That's the nature of the business model. So one of two things happens: (1) They hire more employees, costs go up, license pricing goes up, or (2) we deal with a little bit of a lapse in communication, and they focus their efforts on making the changes we requested in the product, instead on responding to us publicly.

It's a challenge, and I agree with you, and at the same time, I don't think the answer is that simple.

Here is my company's tagline:

Communication is everything

So if people are talking about communication, you can bet I will join the party!

The expanded version of my tagline is "Communication is everything... Everything is communication!"

I've shared in some places "Communication is everything... Everything is communication. People fill in the gaps." They fill in the gaps about stuff left unsaid and about stuff you do (or do not do) for which they have no explanation for. They fill in the gaps by looking at what you do first, then, they turn to other devices (imagination).

It looks like everyone agrees Claris has some trouble with communication. We may not agree on the degree and the impact it has on the business, but it sounds like they can improve (and I honestly feel like they are improving).

@jormond brings some points to the table. Even if I understand where he comes from, there are some items I would like to debate a bit more.

  1. This happens with every organization: A problem remains a problem, regardless of the fact others may have the same problem. Every company has some level of waste, still some will aim at bringing that down.

  2. Communication is easier when the company is smaller: True if the problem is about communication being inconsistent. This is when the company has a corporate message (message A) and when you ask its employees, you get message A from one and message B from another (or B and C in the worst case). That said, I do not recall people complaining about getting 2 different versions of the same story from Claris. My perception of Claris is it seems to be very good at:

    1. Sending a corporate message from a single source
    2. Channelling requests for information to the right person to provide information
    3. Remaining silent on everything else
  3. Communication is easier when the company is smaller (v2): Even for companies having a single employee, that person can be good or bad at communication with customers, vendors, partners, etc. Communication is not easier or harder because you are in a team or not. Some mechanism may not be available to you if you are alone, and a team usually suggest individual interactions cannot be maintained because of scale, but it is not easier or harder for me to interact with someone than it is for a larger corporation. The problem of "not being able to read your teammate's mind" is one leading to an issue of consistency, and because no company is the Borg collective of Star Trek, plugged into the "hive", it can generate some latency. Usually within reason. I've never heard of someone not hearing back in a timely fashion from ANY company because the communication chain is too long. If that was the case, the problem is a different one (no one is supposed to have to go through 8 layers of staff to engage in communication).

  4. If you have bad communication, it is because you are understaffed and employees have too many responsibilities → hiring is the solution: if you have a company and/or employees with communication problems, I would argue having more employees can actually make the problem worst, not better. Just like if you have a bad process, automation is only going to make things worst. Trash in → trash out. More / bigger is not always better, far from it. As you said yourself, whether you have 2 people or 50,000 people, you will still have communication issues. There is a point where putting more people in a team will slow them down, not make them faster. Marginal gains end up decreasing past a certain point. I do agree that, by multiplying the initiatives (Cloud, Connect, Android, NextGen, etc.) Claris is clearly understaffed, but that is a different problem, and not a problem I would identify as the cause of the communication issues people are pointing to.

  5. Fixing the communication problem would happen at the cost of progress on the product, taking employees focus away from that: For one thing, I do not believe the communication we are asking for to involve the development staff that much. Claris has people for management, marketing, sales, customer service, QA, etc. a bunch of people not involved in day-to-day development (or having that much of an impact on it). You will have a hard time selling me on the idea that the ETS registration process for Claris Connect (since it seems to be the thing "triggering" this side-discussion, but it could have been anything else really) was handled by the same person who also coded the required changes for FM19 to no longer return "Advanced" when running Get(ApplicationVersion) or who tested the new {{PageCount}} symbol. But most importantly and above all this, would you have me believe a company with apparent communication issues on the outside has stellar communication on the inside? I fear Claris has similar issues concerning communication within, and that this is much more a threat to progress than the "time wasted" improving communication all-around.

Glad you agree, and indeed, the answer is not simple, but usually the answer also does not start by "it's not that much of a problem, everyone has it, we are already improving a bit, fixing it will hurt us elsewhere." (sorry if I am over-simplifying your reply).

My bottom line here, and the only answer I have for Claris, is this one: Would Claris be happy if Partners were serving the same treatment to their customers? Would they be ok for me to send their customers into a communication black hole like the Claris Connect ETS? I highly doubt it. Why am I so sure of it? Because everyone knows it is just no way to do business. Regardless of how many employees your company has. 1, 2 or 50,000. It is a universal truth.

Bad communication has long-lasting impact on relationships: The ETS we are talking about was initiated in 2019, and here we are in September 2020 still talking about it.

Claris claims to be future-focused, to set and exceed their own high standards, never content with the status quo. That is a great thing, because I expect no less, and I make their statement my own.

I am not giving up, far from it. At the same time, we have to agree "don't give up" on the scale of motivating statements, stands a good couple notches under "you will see, it's a blast", and partially acknowledges an issue that needs to be addressed.

I guess making shorter replies is something I will struggle with for quite a while...


We should probably pull this discussion into it's own thread. Once that is done, I will reply. I do have some thoughts. I think my message wasn't fully understood ( because I didn't include it all ). I was simply adding to a small part of one post. But more than happy to discuss further.

Agreed, I've arranged for that. I was not quite sure how to name this new thread, feel free to edit as needed.

If shorter answers deprive us from those insights, I vehemently oppose to your reform project! :thinking: