Michelle Works Out Loud – Daily Dispatches Experiment

Yesterday Jane Bozarth generously delivered a webinar on ‘showing your work’ for the Learning and Development practitioners that I have connected into Working Out Loud Circles.  I always appreciate Jane’s practical approach to ways of making your work visible, and the way she talks about the benefits of this to individuals and organisations.  I’m feeling inspired to ramp up my working out loud practices as a result of this session delivered “at the speed of Jane” (I only gave her 30 minutes to cover the topic – the session ended up being 40 minutes).

When thinking about how what I could do I turned to another of my favourite authors on this topic, Austin Kleon.  Both Jane and Austin have published books called ‘Show Your Work’ – although both differ in format and approach.  (BTW – I love them both and draw inspiration from each of them.)  Chapter 3 of Austin’s book is titled ‘Share Something Small Every Day.’  He advocates the practice of sending out a ‘daily dispatch.’  He describes this as finding one little part of your work process that you can share at the end of every day:

If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you.  If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress.  If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor, or write about what you learned.  If you have lots of projects out into the world, you can report on how they’re doing – you can tell stories about how people are interacting with your work.”


I’m going to try an experiment for the next 5 weeks (to the end of Ausut 2017) to do a daily dispatch on the ‘Working Out Loud’ page on my website, and to share a link to this via Twitter.  Wish me luck!

  1. #1 by Tanya Lau on July 23, 2017 - 8:14 pm

    Really inspired by this Michelle – it’s a great idea. Really like your short ‘window into your day and work’ posts. Have been thinking of starting something similar but this is a great call to action!!

    Thanks also for coordinating the webinar with Jane – I too felt compelled after it to start thinking of ways I could share my practice at work with others in the team – (& perhaps even nore broadly). It always astounds me how easy it is to slip into silo working mode – even when you’re working in a small team (..if you’e all on different projects with deadlines and deliverables to meet…) – & just how hard it is to capture that tacit knowledge that comes with knowledge and experience. I’m in the process of attempting to do that now as I will be undertaking a secondment in another area soon. Will be interesting to see what works and where I may need to provide additional support.

    • #2 by Michelle Ockers on July 26, 2017 - 8:04 pm

      Yes, it’s easy to get ‘busy’ and not make time to share your work processes / work in progress. How are you capturing tacit knowledge as you prepare to take secondment? When I left my last role at Coca-Cola Amatil I made a lot of notes in OneNote for my team about status of projects, history of decisions and how different activities had evolved. When I started running out of time to do face to face briefings I reverted to making videos directly into OneNote (very flexible tool).

  2. #3 by tanya lau on July 30, 2017 - 3:44 pm

    Hi Michelle – interesting to hear of how you shared knowledge- project statuses, history of decisions, processes, contacts (the how and who to get stuff done) is exactly the sort of info that I’m trying to capture too. I’ve actually never used Onenote…just looked it up, it looks like it’s similar to Evernote? is that right? Might be something to try.

    The main things I’ve been finding challenging to go back and capture is not so much ‘projects’ per se, but historical data – e.g. on courses that were developed a long time ago or handed over to us from another agency, the history of software licences to legacy versions of software that we might need to maintain, contacts and workarounds for getting stuff to work – it’s the knowledge that’s really been built up over years of experience. I’m writing notes where I can and saving them in the locations where we store relevant files. But I’m also coming to a realisation that some things simply need to be experienced to be learnt – documentation will only ever go so far – and there is no substitute for experience.

    So I am now equally focusing on handing over, delegating work, guiding, coaching and mentoring others in the team (where I can) to undertake the work whilst I am still around to answer questions. Sometimes the best way to pass on knowledge is by helping others to gain the experience.

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