So, with all respect and much gratitude, please unsubscribe this address from all lists immediately and permanently. Note that all messages sent by blacklisted addresses are deleted without reading, although a copy of all requests such as this one are retained in the event that we ever need to make fun of you in front of lots of powerful, influential people for not doing the simple, and very civil thing we’ve requested.
I’ve worked over the last several years on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with various organizations. In addition to providing a service standard many SLAs include penalties and consequences. The starting principle remains to set expectations for service. Setting expectations ensure everyone in the transaction aren’t trying to renegotiate the ‘deal’ in the middle of a problem or starts to run a process on the idea that one side can do a ‘favour’ for the other in exchange for relaxing the standards later on.
In reviewing how I spend large chunks of my time, I still spend more time than is truly productive dealing with various types of communications. It struck me that I hadn’t really established an expectation for how I will respond to communications so I am constantly checking all of them.
So here is how people get in touch with me, and here is what you can expect.
|Item||Type||Answer Time(typ.)||Service Level(max)|
|Messaging (work)*||Office Communicator||5 min||15 min|
|Messaging (personal)||Instant(AOL, iChat, MSN)||15 min||60 min|
|1 day||3 days|
|Email (work)*||Sent to me||3 hr||1 business day|
|cc to me||3 hr (if Required)||1 business day (if Required)|
|Mailing List or Broadcast email|
|Email (home)||Sent to me||1 day||3 days|
|cc to me||Never||n/a|
|Phone (work)*||Desk||90s||to Voicemail|
|Desk Voicemail||3 hr||1 business day|
|Cell Voicemail||1 hr||3 hr|
|Phone (Personal)||Home||120s||to Voicemail|
|Home Voicemail||6 hrs||2 days|
|Cellular Voicemail||1 hr||1 day|
|In Person||While you wait||As soon as you leave|
|(*) = 9-5 Mon to Fri|
The goal here is to get to a schedule of looking at all the different sources on a regular but not excessive basis. Presence based services (IM and in Person) are the most immediate. Phone is immediate but not reliable – not always someone at the other end. Voicemail gets checked every couple hours and email gets check 4-5 times a day.
That really should be enough.
Here’s what happened: This morning (Pacific Time) we took a small fraction of Gmail’s servers offline to perform routine upgrades. This isn’t in itself a problem — we do this all the time, and Gmail’s web interface runs in many locations and just sends traffic to other locations when one is offline.
However, as we now know, we had slightly underestimated the load which some recent changes (ironically, some designed to improve service availability) placed on the request routers — servers which direct web queries to the appropriate Gmail server for response. At about 12:30 pm Pacific a few of the request routers became overloaded and in effect told the rest of the system “stop sending us traffic, we’re too slow!”.
Complete description via Official Gmail Blog: More on today’s Gmail issue.
More importantly I love some of the concepts of InBox Zero and Getting Things Done (GTD). If I got nothing else out of it I still have a big white bin in my den where all of my “next actions” go.