During Steve Smith’s ‘Power, Authority and Teams’ session at AYE 2010, one of the attendees mentioned that her team has told her that they don’t know what she does.

I’ve been a manager before and now as a coach/consultant, I’ve experienced the same issue and I’m guessing other managers probably have as well based on my experience.

A couple of ways for handling this are:

  1. Make YOUR work visible: I’ve used personal task boards at previous companies, where in fact, all of us did.  It was accepted to question anybody anytime about what they were working on and it was self-imposed, not management directed.
  2. Track impediments over time: Again, make this visible.   As your teams run into problems, and whether or not you’re ‘agile’, take that data and make it visible that you are making progress towards removing them.  This type of accountability shows the team’s concerns are not falling on deaf ears.  A simple wallboard that shows a list of impediments to resolve now or later as well as impediments that are in progress, done and a cycle time showing how long it’s taking to remove them.

How Does This Help Build Trust?

Making your own work visible shows you care enough about the team to model the behaviour you seek from the teams.  It also helps prove to your team that you expect to be held accountable for your own work.

Simple work boards that visualize the team’s impediments, how long they’ve been open and data around how they get resolved can be a powerful motivator for the team and a great way to keep yourself honest.

Finally, it can be an effective way to influence others on the value of making work visible outside your direct sphere of influence.  The best way to figure out if it’ll work is to try it out, get feedback and adjust as necessary.