After working two or three weeks as a consultant for a very small client I'm puzzled by my current working environment!
My sureprise might come from fact that I've spent the last three years as an employed developer in in a fairly large financial organisation. A month ago I had a spacious desk, located in an open office solution with my project coworkers located in both the same room and the one adjacent. The customer was located in a different building.
At the moment, Im crammed into a small office, working with six or seven developers, litteraly sharing a desk with a co-worker. The closest thing to a "Customer", is the manager of the company (also speaking "tech") coming in from coffee once in a while.
It's natural to guess that it's going to be less formal and written communication in such an organisation, but what sureprises me is that almost no emails are sent!
Working for the large oranisation , I would often write lengthy emails to developers working in the room adjacent to mine, and cc the customer (or project manager) just to keep things "on the record" or to inform. I would use email to send files, tools, documents or whatever information that I wanted to distribute to team members.
The Outlook calendar was the plan of the day, and I would use it to organize meetings with my co-workers (located in the same room!) Even repeated meetings were scheduled this way.
Now things are different. USB Memory sticks are litterly flying around in the room, other files, links, code and documents are transfered using MSN or other IM variants. Meetings seem to be organised on a "need to have" basis, both regarding to timing and who actually participates.
In three weeks, I have received one or two emails from team members, in the same period of time, working for the financial institution my number written and receieved project related emails would have been in the range 100-150 (aproxemately 10 a day).
Im not sure what to make of this; It's just very interesting to see how different teams work differently. But Im sure I could have spent less hours writing emails and more hours writing code :-)