Working in public with teams


When you work in an engineering team, there is never enough time to explain "what you're up to". Some people might say that if you can't explain what you're doing succinctly, then you do not understand it. I don't quite agree with that sentiment. Often, teams want daily stand-ups to be a time of rigor and formalization, this doesn't lend itself well to getting to the "meat" of what you did yesterday.

One suggestion, especially for leaders/seniors in technical teams (product managers, tech leads, senior developers etc) would be to have a public log of work.

This could be a Slack channel (#shivs-work-log) or a Notion page, where you transparently keep track of what you're doing.

This could be extended further by prefacing the log with:

This will enable your team to get a sense of where you're contributing and adding value.

The risk with a public work log, is, of course, balancing transparency and performative work.

You could write elegant prose about how you "optimized the email sending process", or you could simply state "fixed email sends, customers are now receiving emails, took ~2 hours".

The choice is yours, but the outcome is different. The latter statement communicates:

These points are salient, and deliver the most value for keeping people "in the loop". There is an added benefit to answering these questions in a single statement - if you struggle to answer the "why", you may need to question the impact the work you've done is going to have.

The "how", quite frankly, is an implementation detail, and can be discussed asynchronously with an interested party.

As a leader/senior, having a clear understanding of where you're adding value, is integral to making sure your team is being given the best chance to succeed. Being able to articulate the impact of your work (especially as it relates to 1. customer value and 2. team value) is a good first step at making sure you're putting your best foot forward and not wasting valuable time.