Why not just correspond via email? Who needs a letter?
Project managers challenge this all the time. They take the position that if they are writing an email it is being adequately documented. Well, that’s partially true. And by using the same logic, you can also cut your lawn with a weed whacker instead of a lawn mower – it will get the job done. You have to chose the correct tool for the job.
You, as a professional construction company, need to decide how to prepare and present and track your correspondence.
Our position on emails versus letters is this: it becomes very difficult to paste back together the path of an issue if it has gone through two people on the “To” line and eight people on the “cc” line, and then three others on the “bcc” line. This is fragmented correspondence.
We do not discourage emailing – at the end of the day, it is a valid way of communicating. And it is in writing, and it is defensible. However, there comes a time when an issue needs to be cleaned up and clearly summarized. We see frequently that when an issue gets out of control, a letter can clearly state a contractor’s position. We use letters to make a simple, clear, and discrete point or to unambiguously take a stance. Often times we find that writing a letter while referencing and attaching copies of emails does a fantastic job of bundling an issue as of the date of your letter. Here are some other reasons why it is good to write letters:
Common filing location –
- Internally to your company, it is also a great idea to write letters because it provides a common filing location for correspondence. If your project manager keeps all of his correspondence on his laptop and then he goes on vacation or leaves the company, there is no easy way to trace the history of an issue. If you are writing letters, filing them in a binder or on your server or in a file cabinet, this information is accessible by everyone in your company.
Discrete tracking –
- A second excellent reason for letters instead of emails is the discrete manner in which issues can be tracked using letters. It’s the letter number! Each of your letters in Runjob Software™ is auto-numbered using an intelligent numbering system relating both to the project as a whole and between you and the letter recipient. Referring to a letter number is easier than referring to an email:
- Letter: “Please refer to my letter number 0034, dated December 15, 2014, which notified you of….”
Email: “I sent you that email a few weeks ago – no not that one, the one I sent after lunch. You were cc’d on it.”
Runjob Software™ makes it so simple to write a letter. Once you get into the habit of writing letters, you will quickly find it takes about the same time as emailing, yet is a much more powerful and clear means of written communication.