Are you an over-sharer or an under-sharer?

When you work as part of a team, one of the biggest challenges for everyone is figuring out how much to share with the team.

Share too much and you’re the person making noise (either actual noise or metaphorical noise) and share too little and you’re the person who does their own thing away from the others.

Are you an over sharer?

Do you want to tell people what you’ve just done, that amazing thing you’ve completed which you’re really proud of? Do you want to tell people that you’ve just this minute finished something and now it’s their turn to take action on it? In your daily stand ups or weekly team meetings, are you the one who lists every single item you’ve worked on, right down to the smallest little thing?

If so, you’re probably interrupting the flow of others or delaying others in getting on with things that will deliver more value to the business.

Are you an under sharer?

Do you develop a new way of doing things that will revolutionise the way you go about your day-to-day activities but keep it to yourself? Do you play down the work you’ve done when it comes to review time and talk about only the biggest thing you’ve finished, not the part-finished medium sized things? Once you’ve completed one task do you simply get on with the next one and plough through your to do list?

If so, you’re probably costing your business in knowledge and opportunities for improvement and efficiency.

It’s a tricky line to walk down, so how do you walk down it?

“Several people fist bumping over a busy workspace” by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

The first thing to do is put a framework in place for information to transfer across team members. This could be anything, but the important thing is that everyone needs to be aware what it is.

The framework could be:

  • Daily stand up meetings where everyone says the two most important or most urgent things they’re working on, have completed, or which needs addressing.
  • A regular posting to a shared messaging platform in the ‘updates’ channel, so everyone knows where to go and get the info
  • Postings to the internal wiki summarising the latest activity
  • A weekly team meeting with fixed agenda points on things you’ve done, things everyone in the team can learn from, and things that need to be discussed as a group

It doesn’t matter what it is, just that it’s regular and everyone can contribute.

The second thing to do is be honest when contributing to the framework. There’s no point missing out the important thing you discovered when you made a mistake, because that won’t help other people avoid the mistake. There’s also no point listening to others when what they’re contributing via the framework isn’t adding value. (Politely) point out areas for improvement in how to update the group.

The third thing to do is keep doing it. Tweak the process as you go along if you need to, but keep everyone on the same page, in the same framework, giving similarly targeted updates.

There will of course be times outside of the framework when you need to update the team on what’s going on, so the question to ask yourself here is, “although I think this needs sharing now, is it urgent and important enough to interrupt the people I want to share it with?”.

There’s a cost to interrupting people from their work, with Researchers at the University of California, finding that the average time lost when you are interrupted from a task being twenty three minutes. That’s right. If they’re in the middle of writing the presentation for the big sales conference and you interrupt them, it will take them twenty three minutes after you leave to get their brain functioning on the presentation at the same level they were before you spoke to them.

Is what you want to say worth that kind of a productivity hit for someone?

If the answer is no, then save it for another time or for contributing within the framework. If the answer is yes, then go for it, share away because it needs addressing now or else the team will be in a worse off state than if you hadn’t shared it.

And if you are sharing information, be aware of what you’re sharing and assess whether everyone is really getting value from your contributions, if they’re not, then stop it.

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

Written by

Helping people kick start their product management career at gettingstartedinproduct.com * Product person at Watchfinder

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