Wiki Life: Working Out Loud


Working Out LoudThis spring I attended a conference centred around an IBM product. Living in the Microsoft space, as most of us do, it’s always interesting to see how other companies approach common problems. One of the main ideas I gathered from this conference was “Working Out Loud”. This means to be transparent in your work by announcing your current tasks. It is a global movement within large organizations and one which applies directly to the TechNet Wiki.

Working Out Loud is the practice of “learning ways to make your work visible and [to] frame it as a contribution.”

Another article uses an equation to describe it:

Working Out Loud   =   Observable Work   +   Narrating Your Work

It was developed by John Stepper as a way of coping with job loss. Through trial and error, he worked with others to grow Working Out Loud Circles which he found helped him achieve his goals. He created Circle Guides to describe the process. These guides and his experiences were then shaped into a book.

Working Out Loud can lead to a digital reputation within your organization. Employees announce what they are working on and if they have any blockers. Members also willingly share knowledge and experience through Blogs and Wikis. This improves their digital reputation in the company and reduces their workload as the information now lives in a central repository.

All of the ideas surrounding Working Out Loud directly apply to the TechNet Wiki. Making time to share your knowledge through a well-written article can take effort. Once it is complete, you can “announce” your work by posting it on the TN Wiki. The payoff is by sharing your knowledge you might make someone’s day a little easier. Do it enough and your digital reputation will proceed you.

by Ken Cenerelli (TwitterBlogMSDN ProfileMVP Profile)

Comments (13)

  1. Well Explained Article Ken.

  2. Peter Geelen says:

    Very nice! That’s a motivational speech to remember!

  3. What does this mean, specifically: “coping with job loss”?

    Thanks, Ken!

    1. Ed, when he was looking for a job I believe he was having trouble finding a new position. So, this was a coping mechanism for him to improve himself and unwittingly created a “movement”.

  4. Nice write up!!! I agree, the power of sharing knowledge will improve ones eternal happiness.

  5. It’s cool. We have more and more product teams transparently announcing what they’re working on and why. For example, I do this for Small Basic.

    And we definitely do this on TechNet Wiki in a few ways. One, is how you mentioned. We also are very transparent about what needs work, how to improve articles, and what our projects and goals are.

    Very applicable. Thanks, Ken!

  6. Neil Benson says:

    I work in several Scrum teams where the daily scrum meeting is definitely a form of working out loud. All the dev team members announce what they did yesterday, what they are planning to do today, and if there are any impediments blocking their path.

    How would working out loud work outside of a team setting? For example, I work in an office alongside people that are not in my teams. Without the shared goal that a team has how would working out loud work.

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