Topics

Working Out Loud - I can’t even hear myself think #WOL #information-overload


Matt Moore
 

Hi,

So I work in an organization where email is little used.

I generally think that “working out loud” is better than a “need to know” culture but it has challenges. There are benefits in having work visible - altho “visible” is not the same as “accurately represented”.

A disinformation technique has developed among malignant online presences called “Flooding the zone with s***”. Basically you say all kinds of stuff if the hope that no one can tell what is true and what is false and everyone just disengages.

In my day, I deal with few emails but many Slack conversations, Salesforce things, ZenDesk tix, Asana messages, G-Suite docs and Confluence pages. We work out loud and the noise is deafening.

My technical solution to this challenge is that I ignore a lot of stuff.

One person’s information sharing is another person’s spam. The issue we have is that human attention is limited.

Perhaps a Marie Kondo approach is helpful. Does this Slack message spark joy? No? Well thank you for being part of my life...

Regards,

Matt Moore
+61 423 784 504

On Mar 27, 2021, at 3:31 AM, Dennis Pearce <denpearce@...> wrote:

One of the benefits of developing a "working out loud" culture is that employees don't necessarily have to actively help others (although that would be wonderful), just work in a more open way.  For example, if I post to a discussion instead of sending an email, it's essentially the same amount of work for me but it makes a world of difference in terms of information sharing.  Platforms instead of channels wherever possible.


Peter-Anthony Glick
 

Better an environment where people share only when they are asked or when they happen to know their knowledge is needed.  People should communicate what they are expert at, but not try to push out all their knowledge in the hope it will be useful some day. 


Robert L. Bogue
 

Matt –

 

Your message prompted me to remember a long-lost thought.

 

The difference between “working out loud” or more broadly social approaches is that we move from a contract-based system to a leaky bucket based system.  By this I mean, if I receive a directed email from another person, I’ll respond to it if it asks for a response.  For me it’s a social contract.  I’ll break it for spammers and if you clearly demonstrate you’re not adhering to the same social contract – but it’s a contract.

 

With social and “working out loud” it’s firing things into the universe (resulting in a deafening noise) and we’re hoping that some of what we’re saying will stick. It’s like we’re trying for our thoughts and ideas to go viral.  We forget that we’ve got roughly the same odds of becoming a viral phenomenon as winning the lottery.  However, it plays well to an audience of folks who believe in luck.

 

That being said, I firmly believe in work out loud – but doing so in a way that doesn’t interfere with others right to turn the squelch up and ignore me if I’m not relevant to them.  I’ve been posting a book review each week for years now.  I’ve got a library of hundreds of reviews that are available for anyone who wants to extract something from them – but I don’t push them.  That’s the heart of it but not everyone’s motives are the same.

 

Rob

 

-------------------

Robert L. Bogue

O: (317) 844-5310  M: (317) 506-4977 Blog: http://www.thorprojects.com/blog

Want to be confident about your change management efforts?  https://ConfidentChangeManagement.com

Are you burned out?  https://ExtinguishBurnout.com can help you get out of it (for free)

 

From: main@SIKM.groups.io <main@SIKM.groups.io> On Behalf Of Matt Moore via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2021 7:55 AM
To: main@sikm.groups.io
Subject: [SIKM] Working Out Loud - I can’t even hear myself think

 

Hi,

 

So I work in an organization where email is little used.

 

I generally think that “working out loud” is better than a “need to know” culture but it has challenges. There are benefits in having work visible - altho “visible” is not the same as “accurately represented”.

 

A disinformation technique has developed among malignant online presences called “Flooding the zone with s***”. Basically you say all kinds of stuff if the hope that no one can tell what is true and what is false and everyone just disengages.

 

In my day, I deal with few emails but many Slack conversations, Salesforce things, ZenDesk tix, Asana messages, G-Suite docs and Confluence pages. We work out loud and the noise is deafening.

 

My technical solution to this challenge is that I ignore a lot of stuff.

 

One person’s information sharing is another person’s spam. The issue we have is that human attention is limited.

 

Perhaps a Marie Kondo approach is helpful. Does this Slack message spark joy? No? Well thank you for being part of my life...

 

Regards,

 

Matt Moore

+61 423 784 504



On Mar 27, 2021, at 3:31 AM, Dennis Pearce <denpearce@...> wrote:

One of the benefits of developing a "working out loud" culture is that employees don't necessarily have to actively help others (although that would be wonderful), just work in a more open way.  For example, if I post to a discussion instead of sending an email, it's essentially the same amount of work for me but it makes a world of difference in terms of information sharing.  Platforms instead of channels wherever possible.


Murray Jennex
 

I feel you Matt, I'm in the same boat and I pray I don't ignore something important but fear I am, this is the problem with this and I don't have a solution but hope someone on the list does...murray jennex


-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Moore <matt@...>
To: main@sikm.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Mar 27, 2021 4:54 am
Subject: [SIKM] Working Out Loud - I can’t even hear myself think

Hi,

So I work in an organization where email is little used.

I generally think that “working out loud” is better than a “need to know” culture but it has challenges. There are benefits in having work visible - altho “visible” is not the same as “accurately represented”.

A disinformation technique has developed among malignant online presences called “Flooding the zone with s***”. Basically you say all kinds of stuff if the hope that no one can tell what is true and what is false and everyone just disengages.

In my day, I deal with few emails but many Slack conversations, Salesforce things, ZenDesk tix, Asana messages, G-Suite docs and Confluence pages. We work out loud and the noise is deafening.

My technical solution to this challenge is that I ignore a lot of stuff.

One person’s information sharing is another person’s spam. The issue we have is that human attention is limited.

Perhaps a Marie Kondo approach is helpful. Does this Slack message spark joy? No? Well thank you for being part of my life...

Regards,

Matt Moore
+61 423 784 504

On Mar 27, 2021, at 3:31 AM, Dennis Pearce <denpearce@...> wrote:

One of the benefits of developing a "working out loud" culture is that employees don't necessarily have to actively help others (although that would be wonderful), just work in a more open way.  For example, if I post to a discussion instead of sending an email, it's essentially the same amount of work for me but it makes a world of difference in terms of information sharing.  Platforms instead of channels wherever possible.


Stephen Bounds
 

Am I the only one who interprets "working out loud" as meaning something quite different from "converse about everything in shared channels"?

For example, if I do some research and publish the findings on my personal blog, that's "working out loud" in the sense that I make it available for anyone else who serendipitously comes across it in a later Google search. And perhaps there might be someone diehard enough to subscribe to my feed to see everything I write. But I wouldn't publish the article and always CC everyone in my organisation to say "hey, check out my post!".

Similarly, attaching my correspondence with a client to their bug report would be "working out loud" in sense that the history remains available to anyone who takes over the report later on. But I wouldn't subscribe everyone in my team to receive notifications unless it was a "drop-dead, all hands on deck" bug that had to be fixed as soon as humanly possible.

As for Slack, the first thing I do is to turn off everything except @-notifications and I never leave it visible and running unless I'm having an active conversation. There may be people who can be productive and have a running ambient commentary in a corner of the screen, but I'm not one of them.

Seems like your organisation may need to learn the difference between "working out loud" and "yelling loudly across a virtual open plan office" Matt 😉

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 28/03/2021 2:03 pm, Murray Jennex via groups.io wrote:

I feel you Matt, I'm in the same boat and I pray I don't ignore something important but fear I am, this is the problem with this and I don't have a solution but hope someone on the list does...murray jennex


-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Moore <matt@...>
To: main@sikm.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Mar 27, 2021 4:54 am
Subject: [SIKM] Working Out Loud - I can’t even hear myself think

Hi,

So I work in an organization where email is little used.

I generally think that “working out loud” is better than a “need to know” culture but it has challenges. There are benefits in having work visible - altho “visible” is not the same as “accurately represented”.

A disinformation technique has developed among malignant online presences called “Flooding the zone with s***”. Basically you say all kinds of stuff if the hope that no one can tell what is true and what is false and everyone just disengages.

In my day, I deal with few emails but many Slack conversations, Salesforce things, ZenDesk tix, Asana messages, G-Suite docs and Confluence pages. We work out loud and the noise is deafening.

My technical solution to this challenge is that I ignore a lot of stuff.

One person’s information sharing is another person’s spam. The issue we have is that human attention is limited.

Perhaps a Marie Kondo approach is helpful. Does this Slack message spark joy? No? Well thank you for being part of my life...

Regards,

Matt Moore
+61 423 784 504

On Mar 27, 2021, at 3:31 AM, Dennis Pearce <denpearce@...> wrote:

One of the benefits of developing a "working out loud" culture is that employees don't necessarily have to actively help others (although that would be wonderful), just work in a more open way.  For example, if I post to a discussion instead of sending an email, it's essentially the same amount of work for me but it makes a world of difference in terms of information sharing.  Platforms instead of channels wherever possible.


Murray Jennex
 

I agree with you Stephen but what I was referring too is that there are so many people I have to pay attention too that all the pubs, blogs, emails, tweets, etc. amount to several hundred communications that I get each day and the information overload from all the noise of communications that are not vital.  To me that is the working out loud is from all these nice to know but not essential communications I'm getting each day and my fear is that as I skim through them I'll miss something important.  The noise is not from reply to all but from people in my networks with posts.  There are days when this list has a lot of working out loud (yet I skim all the posts as there is value there). Perhaps it is my fault for trying to be current and/or cutting edge in so many areas.  Still, I saw Matt's point.....murray jennex


-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Bounds <km@...>
To: main@SIKM.groups.io; matt@... <matt@...>
Sent: Sat, Mar 27, 2021 9:42 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Working Out Loud - I can’t even hear myself think

Am I the only one who interprets "working out loud" as meaning something quite different from "converse about everything in shared channels"?
For example, if I do some research and publish the findings on my personal blog, that's "working out loud" in the sense that I make it available for anyone else who serendipitously comes across it in a later Google search. And perhaps there might be someone diehard enough to subscribe to my feed to see everything I write. But I wouldn't publish the article and always CC everyone in my organisation to say "hey, check out my post!".
Similarly, attaching my correspondence with a client to their bug report would be "working out loud" in sense that the history remains available to anyone who takes over the report later on. But I wouldn't subscribe everyone in my team to receive notifications unless it was a "drop-dead, all hands on deck" bug that had to be fixed as soon as humanly possible.
As for Slack, the first thing I do is to turn off everything except @-notifications and I never leave it visible and running unless I'm having an active conversation. There may be people who can be productive and have a running ambient commentary in a corner of the screen, but I'm not one of them.
Seems like your organisation may need to learn the difference between "working out loud" and "yelling loudly across a virtual open plan office" Matt 😉
Cheers,
Stephen.
====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 28/03/2021 2:03 pm, Murray Jennex via groups.io wrote:
I feel you Matt, I'm in the same boat and I pray I don't ignore something important but fear I am, this is the problem with this and I don't have a solution but hope someone on the list does...murray jennex


-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Moore <matt@...>
To: main@sikm.groups.io
Sent: Sat, Mar 27, 2021 4:54 am
Subject: [SIKM] Working Out Loud - I can’t even hear myself think

Hi,

So I work in an organization where email is little used.

I generally think that “working out loud” is better than a “need to know” culture but it has challenges. There are benefits in having work visible - altho “visible” is not the same as “accurately represented”.

A disinformation technique has developed among malignant online presences called “Flooding the zone with s***”. Basically you say all kinds of stuff if the hope that no one can tell what is true and what is false and everyone just disengages.

In my day, I deal with few emails but many Slack conversations, Salesforce things, ZenDesk tix, Asana messages, G-Suite docs and Confluence pages. We work out loud and the noise is deafening.

My technical solution to this challenge is that I ignore a lot of stuff.

One person’s information sharing is another person’s spam. The issue we have is that human attention is limited.

Perhaps a Marie Kondo approach is helpful. Does this Slack message spark joy? No? Well thank you for being part of my life...

Regards,

Matt Moore
+61 423 784 504

On Mar 27, 2021, at 3:31 AM, Dennis Pearce <denpearce@...> wrote:

One of the benefits of developing a "working out loud" culture is that employees don't necessarily have to actively help others (although that would be wonderful), just work in a more open way.  For example, if I post to a discussion instead of sending an email, it's essentially the same amount of work for me but it makes a world of difference in terms of information sharing.  Platforms instead of channels wherever possible.


Matt Moore
 

Hello,

1. TBF to John Stepper, “visible work” is only part of his WOL stuff - a bigger focus seems to be the mutually supportive WOL circles.

2. Regardless of Stepper’s intent, WOL seems to now mean doing stuff on collaborative platforms. I don’t mind that. But.

3. To Stephen’s point, if processes with roles & responsibilities are clear then no problem. In many places, processes, roles & responsibilities are not clear. As I say, I cope with this by 1. Ignoring what I think is unimportant & 2. Gradually clarifying processes, roles & responsibilities (which is a non-trivial task). I generally find that you can clarify processes in much the same way as butter - by melting everything in a pan, skimming off the lumpy bits and then letting it all cool down for a bit.

My point is not that enterprise collaborative platforms are “bad”. It is that, by themselves, they don’t make things better.

“Yelling loudly across an open plan office”

When I worked at PwC, I was given an office despite not being particularly senior. The only people who questioned this were those who had never heard me talk before.

Regards,

Matt Moore
+61 423 784 504


Dennis Pearce
 

Great discussion on one of my favorite topics!  A couple of points I'd like to make:

One is that I think the technology aspect, especially the need for a collaboration platform, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a good WOL environment. This is why platforms vs. channels is so important.  In channels (email, phone, etc.) the sender has control over the transfer, so email inboxes can quickly become overflowing.  But a well-designed platform (this is where KM comes in) should allow the receiver to be in control by giving them the ability to control the scope and frequency of their notifications.  Granted, external platforms like Facebook might push content on you that you don't want, but a good internal Enterprise Social Network should give you the freedom to have as much or as little awareness of what's going on as you choose to subscribe to.  Thus, I think the combination of a good ESN and a WOL culture can turn organizational knowledge into a "utility" like electricity or water, where it's just always there in the background, but you decide how much and in what form you want it delivered to you.  See a blog post of mine for more on this idea:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/knowledge-power-working-out-loud-generator-dennis-pearce/

Second, a lot of what we say about WOL depends on how we define it, and it can be pretty fuzzy and hard to pin down (much like KM).  As much as I admire John Stepper's work, I feel like he only covers half of what WOL is.  No fault of his -- I know him and know he's very passionate about helping people become better at sharing what they do, so that's where his focus is.  But I take my view of WOL from Bryce Williams' original definition:

Working Out Loud = Observable Work + Narrating Your Work

It's not just talking about your work but doing it openly.  When I was writing my doctoral dissertation on this topic, my advisor wanted me to come up with a more academic definition, and we landed on:
"'Working Out Loud' is the act of doing work and/or narrating that work, whether individually or as a group, as it progresses such that it is immediately observable on an organization’s internal enterprise social network or on external social platforms and available for review and comment by others who may not necessarily be part of the specific intended audience."

My point is that there is more to WOL than just sharing what you know.  For example if your team is working on a project in MS Teams but you choose to make that team public instead of private, that is also WOL.  You're not doing any extra work and nobody outside the team has to follow it if they don't want to, but it's available and findable if someone does.  I would also argue that WOL is not really the same thing as sharing, because there is no transaction involved.  More on that here:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/working-out-loud-collaborating-sharing-dennis-pearce/

One final point -- sharing presumes an immediacy and something of a time constraint on the activity, whereas WOL (in my definition) is only bounded by the length of time the information is preserved.  This means that WOL might not only benefit others, but also future you.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-create-innovation-stew-dennis-pearce/

As a personal example, people blog for a lot of different reasons: to promote themselves, to build an audience, to provoke, to share ideas they come across, etc.  I started mine (which the above posts are from) not so much to share with others but just as a way to log my thoughts and ideas for myself, which is why the posts are so sporadic and often come in clusters.  It's a place I can go back to and refresh my memory on ideas I might have forgotten about.  But by doing it openly, I'll get the occasional interaction with someone that spawns even more ideas.

All of this is to say that I think when done right, WOL shouldn't require extra work for the contributor and shouldn't create extra noise for everyone else.

Dennis Pearce


Ginetta Gueli
 

Hello Matt & team,
I think that here is there room for a good SIKM monthly conversation. The topic is hot and felt as an 'issue' by many (me included) and I think that one hour to share our respective experiences and solutions would be beneficial to everyone.

Honestly I also think that a session like the "Peer Assist", like the one that was organized a few time ago by some SIKM members (for a different topic of course), could be a good way to approach this topic.

Emails are great, but conversations are super! What do you think? Any volunteer eventually?

Thanks and regards,
Ginetta
--
Ginetta Gueli
Information & Knowledge Manager | Project Manager


Retha Prinsloo
 

Great topic indeed: constructive WOL definitely adds to knowledge sharing in an organisation and I like your metaphor of it being available as a "uitility" to use as required Dennis. It would be great of the internal search engine/s in an organisation can be set up to crawl & retrieve not only from content like document stores or intranet pages, but also from Enterprise Social Networks (ESN).

The dilemma that this creates is that some employees may struggle to differentiate between an opinion and what the actual corporate governance prescribes, e.g. a process of a financial institution that protects persons "identifiable information" versus a 'loophole' posted by a colleague who (for argument's sake) wants to save time to be more productive but which may compromise legislative requirements. I thus strongly encourage process custodians, content curators and community managers or leaders to actively monitor and guide on ESN and via other channels to build a culture of responsible WOL. I'll refrain from commenting on attachments and duplicating documents, etc. instead of linking to the correct version of the documeny :)

"Must know" content versus "Optional / Interesting content may be supported with hastags (#WOL #Offical #FromExco etc.), naming a group as "Official", search engine scopes, etc. but also via good communication strategies to push the "must know" content to employees.

Thanks Matt and everone else who commented on this topic this far.


Peter-Anthony Glick
 
Edited

Matt
What I would be interested to discuss is: Within an organisation like yours where WOL is the norm, what could be done to reduce this "flooding the zone" behaviour?  
So in other words, what is not quite right with the culture for people to think that publishing everything in their mind makes sense?


Matt Moore
 

Peter-Anthony,

Good question. Some thoughts:
- Shift from conversations to processes. A pet peeve of mine is having the same conversation more than once. If you find yourself having the same online conversation again - perhaps this is actually a repeatable task / process? If so, build it out as a simple process (with tasks, roles, inputs, outputs, decision criteria, possibility for exceptions) and stick to it.
- Clarify where to have what conversations. At the end of the 00s, it suddenly became fashionable to add "social" functionality to every business application (in much the same way that adding "machine learning" to your app is today). That led to a plethora of conversational platforms. However the kind of conversations that you have in a CRM system are very different to the kind of conversations you might have in a Finance system ("Hey, any questions about crushing sales quota and getting that sweet bonus?" "I have a question" "Sure, bruh, what is it?" "Should we be treating our intangible assets under a GAAP or an IFRS framework? "WTF, man"). So what happens where? And how do people easily find out what happens where?
- Think through who might be interested in your stuff. When you write something, who might be interested in it? In most organisations, the "who" question is linked to the "where" question in the previous point. Do not assume that people will "organically" find your stuff. Think about distribution as well as creation.
- Make the "where" less important by integrating data across platforms. In an ideal world, where (application-wise) you have a conversation should not matter because all applications can share the relevant data and therefore all conversations can be easily linked. However we do not live in ideal worlds and mostly our data is locked away in applications that do not talk to each other. This is where the WOL actually joins up with AI/ML initiatives. For both to work effectively, you need clean, integrable data.

Regards,

Matt

On Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 10:08 PM Peter-Anthony Glick via groups.io <peteraglick=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Matt
What I would interested to discuss is: Within an organisation like yours where WOL is the norm, what could be done to reduce this "flooding the zone" behaviour?  
So in other words, what is not quite right with the culture for people to think that publishing everything in their mind makes sense?



--
Matt Moore
M. +61 (0) 423 784 504
matt@...


Evgeny Victorov
 

Ginetta, support the idea of a Peer Assist call on WOL topic!
The previous one was so great that I'd hope for the new one to repeat that success.
---
Best regards, Eugene Victorov
.
Knowledge Management and Digital Workplace professional.


пн, 29 мар. 2021 г. в 10:47, Ginetta Gueli via groups.io <ginetta.gueli=libero.it@groups.io>:

Hello Matt & team,
I think that here is there room for a good SIKM monthly conversation. The topic is hot and felt as an 'issue' by many (me included) and I think that one hour to share our respective experiences and solutions would be beneficial to everyone.

Honestly I also think that a session like the "Peer Assist", like the one that was organized a few time ago by some SIKM members (for a different topic of course), could be a good way to approach this topic.

Emails are great, but conversations are super! What do you think? Any volunteer eventually?

Thanks and regards,
Ginetta
--
Ginetta Gueli
Information & Knowledge Manager | Project Manager


Stan Garfield
 

I appreciate the suggestion to hold another peer assist session. For this to happen, one of the members of this community should offer to organize and lead it, just as Tom Barfield graciously did for the lessons learned peer assist.

Any time someone would like to conduct a peer assist, try something new, or help lead this community, I encourage them to do so. There is no need to ask permission; just step up and take the lead. This community belongs to all of us.