Why work transparency matters

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2022-06-22 07:30:08

Let's discuss what can be useful when watching how other people work and whether it makes sense to showcase what you're doing.

Work can be either transparent or non-transparent. We call it "transparent" when we can see the work progress. Non-transparent work is like a black box - there's some input, and after a certain time, there's some output, but we cannot see what happened in between. First, let's talk about the pros and cons of each of these strategies, and then I'll suggest some practical tips on finding the right balance.

Enables better planning. When we can see the work progress, we can plan better. It could be about setting customer expectations, cross-team coordination, or deciding what to do next.

Reduces risks. Software development is, to a great extent, exploratory work. We can't plan everything in advance - some things always come up only after we start working on a task. Below is my favorite illustration from Basecamp showing that a significant portion of work is figuring out what to do. Regular check-ins with teammates may help us identify problems in earlier stages when it's easier to fix them.

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