Don’t Create Another Cacophony of Noise

Should I tell my team I’m writing this blog post right now?

Should you share that you’re reading it?

Should your team share what they’re working on today?

Well, it depends.

Well intentioned efforts to encourage people to share what they’re doing becomes a cacophony of noise. It makes your inbox look quiet.

There might be serendipitous value within that noise. Two people might discover they’re working on similar projects. You might get advice from someone with experience. The group might also develop stronger bonds.

But you’ll need to deliberately wade through a whole lot of mundane updates to find this value.

And it’s not smart to build collaboration efforts around serendipitous encounters. The value might trump the costs, but the costs are too high.

The goal of collaboration is to achieve your goal faster, cheaper, or better than you can alone. That means dividing up tasks, specialising in what you do best, and accessing the best possible information on the topic.

Can you see the problem with sending and receiving daily updates?

It doesn’t help you achieve any of these goals very efficiently. You can achieve every serendipitous benefit better by deliberately targeting that benefit.

  • If you need information to help with your work, you need to know where to find that information. Who do you ask? Where do you search? What terms do you search for? What specific information do you need? Have colleagues documented this information for you?
  • If you need additional resources to complete a task, you need to know who has time available and what their skillsets are. This is a relatively simple project management tool and access to free time on each person’s shared calendars.
  • If you have a useful article to share, you need to identify who needs this information, when do they need it, and how do they need it?
  • If you want a stronger sense of community, you can set up proper team bonding activities, live calls, establish clear superordinate goals, have more emotive (and open) discussions.

Don’t encourage colleagues to share what they’re working on every day. Focus on the goals of collaboration and build efforts around those goals.

Imagine your employees are racing drivers. They sit atop a pile of information, technology, and processes which all need to come together at the right time. They need only the right information at the right time in the right format. Train them where to find information, whom to ask, and how to ask.

Now any serendipitous benefit is a free bonus.


  1. Bas van Leeuwen says:

    Nothing worse than someone just dumping a link in a social setting.
    “Here you all, you should all spend 20 minutes of your time on this, I can’t be bothered to type a singly sentence to tell you what it is though”

    People who do that should be flogged


    Note: this does not apply to 1:1 communication, there’s enough trust that you though about it there.

    So yeah, I’m wholeheartedly agreeing with you :slight_smile:

  2. Nick Emmett says:

    Totally agree with this. I’m a big advocate of Working Out Loud, but it isn’t useful if it’s just used wantonly. Focused sharing is what will help people as well ourselves. The objective is to streamline what we do and not clog our inboxes up with things we don’t need, or want, to read. The same needs to be acknowledged for our feeds too.

    Working Out Loud is an extension for how we work and, used correctly and wisely, can be a huge benefit to efficiency and collaboration. Used in a misaligned and unfocused way it just creates a far to busy and noisy view of how things are.

    Nice article, cheers

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