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January 5, 2021

Making work visible

The movie ‘Field of Dreams’ has a line: “Build it, and they will come.” I don’t want to shatter your dreams, butthis doesn’t work in marketing, and it won’t work with making work visible. To make your work visible or to get noticed, you may have to put on your marketing hat. 

One of the challenges in remote work, or in any job, is making your work visible. Many folks aren’t the loudest in the room, but they are very good at their job. It sucks to go unseen when you are contributing. And speaking up in meetings isn’t the only way to be seen. 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve found a couple of routines that have helped create visibility in my work. Transparency has led to better feedback, planning, and general awareness of my projects.

Communication takes work. I see others complain their work is unseen. I get it. I’ve been there, and it sucks. But some simple actions can bring visibility to what you do and improve the quality of your work.

Communicate your goals and updates

As humans, it is easy to assume that others know what we know. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. Try over communicating; it may be the ‘right’ amount of communication. 

I have a routine at the beginning and the end of my work weeks. On Mondays, I write a detailed post of my goals for the week. I like to give my teammates continued context about my work so that they can provide helpful feedback. Fridays, I share my weekly recap of what I have accomplished, along with any critical decisions or relevant project updates. These posts contain always contain relevant links to designs, screenshots, documents, and charts. 

I try to keep these posts short enough to consume easily but detailed enough to give others a baseline context of the work. Bullet points are great for updates, but I usually try to stay away from them unless the context is evident to everyone on the team. Paint a picture of what is happening. Use links! I include links to my work; if others are interested, they shouldn’t need to dig to get more context. 

Hype doc

Another practice I started this year was maintaining a ‘hype-doc.’ My  Design Director at Webflow, David Hoang, recently wrote a great post on Hype Docs

My doc is a simple Dropbox Paper doc. I create a new section for each new month. During the month, I’ll add bullet point accomplishments. Some examples:

December 2020

I write down anything noteworthy and include relevant links. Level things up by adding the impact of this work. 

Why is a Hype Document useful? It allows me to communicate with my manager what I am doing. It provides a simple way to remember my wins, goals, and the impact of my work. It reminds me of things I would easily forget. It gives me a diary of accomplishments that I can look back to during reviews. 

Share what you learn

A simple way to make yourself seen is to share. When you wrap up a project, share what you learn, write a case study. Give an internal talk about a new skill or tool you learned. The sky is the limit. Sharing your knowledge is an excellent way to level both you and your team up. 

Make your teammates work visible

I assure you that communicating your updates and making your work visible isn’t bragging. I love hearing from my teammates and being informed about their work because it can impact mine. 

If you feel like you’re ‘tooting your own horn,’ one way around this is to include others’ accomplishments and impact with your updates. Make your teammates’ work visible too!  

You are smart. Your work is excellent. Show it off!