Shining a Light into the Dark Corners of your Organization

JK

Jeff Key

09/07/2016

Companies are increasingly trying to be more transparent with their employees and the results are almost always favorable. A number of models and strategies exist at the corporate level, but what about departmental transparency?

Opportunities exist to introduce transparency in areas that are otherwise opaque. In this short post I’ll explain how we in Engineering use Slack and I Done This to increase transparency into two areas that are usually black holes: Management and IT.

First, management. As the SVP of Engineering and IT, my plate is usually overflowing — but often with things that have little-to-no visibility to my teams. Everything the dev teams are doing is front-and-center on our team task boards, which we review as a group every morning at our standups and is otherwise available to anyone in the company with a web browser. It doesn’t get much more transparent than that! While what I do isn’t always particularly interesting, some people may find an occasional item interesting enough to warrant further investigation. Unlike our Scrumban boards, my task and project lists are not public.

Second, we have IT. I can’t think of a more opaque job than IT. When everything’s working, it’s as if IT doesn’t exist; however, it’s all you can think about when something breaks.

So, how do we shed a little light into these otherwise dark worlds? With Slack and I Done This.

As you’re probably aware, Slack has taken the world by storm the last couple of years. Coming out of nowhere, it now has millions of daily users. InRule Engineering has been using Slack for a couple years and the entire company transitioned to it earlier this year. It’s a great platform for direct and group messaging and gets a lot of use.

I Done This is a platform for managing tasks and/or progress. It can be used as a task management system or simply a means to communicate things that are done. It is often used by teams in place of, or to augment, traditional project management methodologies. For example, some use it in place of morning standup meetings. And, of course, it integrates with Slack.

This integration with Slack is where the magic happens. I Done This has two-way integration with Slack: Both as a slash command (for example “/done Finished blog post”) for input, and output into a channel (we use #topic-done). As those of us with the opaque roles knock off tasks throughout the day, we enter them into I Done This via Slack or the I Done This website and they instantly appear in the #topic-done channel.

So there you have it: A super-simple way to shed some light into the otherwise dark corner you inhabit. Enjoy!

What tools do you use to promote transparency within your team and across your organization? Let me know in the comments below!