Communication conventions

Staying in touch is difficult when working remotely within a global organaisation.

We tend to suffer from the problems of not enough communication and too much communication, both at the same time! The actual issue is low quality of communication, and the use of inappropriate mediums of communication.


  • When a team member needs help they are able to ask and get a reply reasonably soon.
  • Team members must be able to work on their tasks without being bothered by irrelevant messages.
  • Team members don’t feel alone with their work - they can see who else “around” at the moment.
  • Popup notifications, red dots, etc, are only shown for truly important messages.
  • Team members control how and when they are notified of messages.
  • Team members have a shared medium to discuss frankly the topics which matter - privately and without intrusion or judgement.
  • People from other teams have a way of contacting the team and escalating urgent issues.


We will use a private Matrix homeserver for team chats, in place of the #adrestia-secret-fort slack channel, which will be archived.

Team members are asked to review messages from Slack once per day. They may choose to use Slack more frequently, but this is up to them.

See Matrix Team Chat for information about how to use the team chat rooms.

See Chat Rooms for a curated list of channels on Slack and Matrix.

When to be online

Team members are very much encouraged to be online with Matrix while they are at work on their computer, and offline otherwise.

Concentration time

Sometimes complete silence is necessary for your task. In that case you can switch off Matrix as well. But most times it shouldn’t be bothersome because of the small number of users, and the notification controls which matrix clients provide.

When to ping

Use the ping in a Matrix channel to get someone’s attention.

This usually results in a more prominent notification, depending on their client settings.

When to use calls

Often it’s easier to explain something or talk a problem through by video or audio calls. If you’re finding it difficult to understand or explain something by text chat, then start up a call, and save yourself some time.

When to write a document

Write a document if the information or question that you are trying to convey is too big or complex for a chat room.

If something has been discussed that will probably be useful in future, you can help everyone by transferring it into a document. It’s quite difficult to find information by searching chat room archives.

If a design decision has been reached, record it as a document in the project source code repository.

If a process or practices decision has been reached, record it in the Adrestia docs repository.

When to use pair programming

See Mob Programming.

Future Goals

  • It would be really good if there were a “standing” video call session always running which team members can easily join and leave at any time. Matrix “widgets” might be suitable for this purpose.