Chapter 10. Communicate Transparently

In Chapter 9, we looked at the virtues of finding out what others, especially the end users, think about your work in order to make it better. In this chapter we’ll look at how sharing also extends to communicating progress with those stakeholders and others who need to know what’s happening and what to expect. Keeping a large, diverse, and potentially distributed group working well together requires that everyone have a clear view of what’s transpired and where you’re headed. Communicating clearly doesn’t have to mean spending a great deal of time creating status reports, however. Instead, if you take an approach of having the right view (at the right level) into the work actually being done, and showing work in progress, you’ll build trust and reduce anxiety among those who are interested in the effort but not focused on it full-time.

It can be scary to put all your cards on the table, especially if you exist in a culture that tends to regulate and gate-keep information as a matter of course. Many management structures, especially in large organizations, exist specifically to screen, package, and transmit data with the idea that it helps build a higher level of understanding. Whether or not this actually works is a topic to be debated elsewhere, but when it comes to teams working across silos and functions, relying on typical lines of communication is counterproductive since often the information needs to flow against the normal currents, ...

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