This International Working Out Loud Week we will be sharing a reflection on a different element of working out loud each day. We will be using John Stepper’s latest iteration of the five elements of Working Out Loud as a guide to those reflections. Our third reflection is on Visible Work.
All our work is visible to others to some extent unless we actively seek to hide it. What the visible work element of working out loud asks us to do is to consider how we can make our work more visible to those who can benefit and those who can help.
This is not about completed work. That would be visible outcomes. The element of visible work is making work more visible to others and narrating that work in ways that enable other people to learn and to help. You may not value your work and your work process but making that work more visible to the right people might help you to understand how they value your work and how they can help you make your work more valuable.
Visible does not necessarily mean public. The audience who can see your work might be small and focused. Visible does not necessarily mean insistently distracting. Visibility is the beginning of findability. You may want to simply make your work visible where it may be found later by someone like you working on a similar problem.
Visible work is a far wider trend than working out loud in the future of work. We see visible work in Visual Management Boards, Kanban, Trello, dashboards and other tools of visual management. We see visible work in agile projects, in design thinking exercises, in ideation exercises and other environments where people need to coordinate work into one vision. The post-it note is the byte of visual work in these contexts. Visible work underpins our activity based workspaces, our collaboration solutions and many more management systems and practices. Rather than simply let the process or environment make your work visible, take control of your work and shape its visibility to help yourself and others.
Think for a minute about your invisible work – the efforts you put in, the anonymous giving, the work that gets folded into other work or slides off the end of the desk or meeting table. How rare is it that there is joy or even satisfaction in the invisible work? Most of it goes to waste. All of it is neglected. Visibility of work is a step to a better life and a better career. Start sharing your work as it happens.
International Working Out Loud Week is from 6-12 June 2016