Work in Public
‘Working in Public’ is one of the cornerstones of being a 21st century organization. It’s the idea that every piece of work we do – a draft, a list of ideas, a presentation – is open, shared and accessible to the organization, or at least to our team. It’s the critical ingredient that makes all our other practices work.
Why Work In Public?
Information is the greatest currency in any organization. How we transfer, understand, use information and give feedback on it is one of the greatest drivers agility and collaboration. Information is power – the more access people have to it, the more they are able to take ownership of their work and make the smart decisions that drive the business forward.
If we truly want to embrace Rapid Experimentation and Continuous Iteration as foundations of our culture, then working in public is mission critical. To rapidly experiment, we must have our work available for quick feedback. To continuously iterate, we must have ready information about what has worked and what hasn’t. If we want to be a learning culture that harnesses our Collective Wisdom, then we must make our work – both failures and success – a shared and open asset.
From Managing Information to Processing Information
Think about the meetings on your calendar. There’s a good chance that a lot of them are for status updates of some sort. Endless update meetings happen because information doesn’t flow freely between teams.
Imagine a world where instead of taking calls to update each other, we use the time to process information into decisions, strategies, or actions. We would go from meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page, to meeting to move a project forward based on information that’s already shared.
Working in public allows everyone in the organization to see updates in their own time, when they need it. Instead of having to ‘pull’ information out, we create a 'push' culture, where individual members become accountable for sharing their works-in-progress while other members are accountable for providing relevant feedback on the work.
By opening up and sharing information effectively, we can repurpose the time spent on updating everyone elsewhere and go back to gettin’ stuff done.
Working in public goes beyond sharing finished products. It means opening up the hood and sharing work as we’re building it. This allows us to get feedback faster, incorporate more perspectives into the work, and iterate continuously.
There’s a persistent belief that in order to share work it must be polished and complete.
But we’re looking for Progress over Perfection.
When we work in public, every piece of work is a work-in-progress that the team refines together. Everything is always changing and improving. If you wait until your idea is “perfect” before you share it you’ll never benefit from the input of others. Opening up work that’ might make you feel vulnerable at first; that’s okay.