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How to Information at Work

How to Information

In today’s fast-paced work environments, whether you’re a software engineer, product manager, or designer, navigating the sea of information is key to your success. While it may seem like your job revolves around coding, designing, or planning, the real magic lies in your ability to take charge of acquiring, interpreting, and sharing the right information.

In a lot of cases, you probably feel like it’s someone else’s job to provide you with the information you need, and you might be right! In my experience, you might be waiting for them to provide that information until it’s too late, and you’ll be far more effective in your role if you’re proactive and actively seek (and disseminate!) what you need.

Build your Information Ecosystem

Imagine information as a vast landscape waiting to be explored. To thrive in this ecosystem, you need a tailored system that suits your role and responsibilities. Rather than drowning in a flood of messages, prioritize channels based on relevance and depth. For instance, as a software engineer leading a new project, staying closely connected to the project’s communication channel is crucial. On the other hand, peripheral updates can wait until a designated check-in time, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.

Realign for Efficiency

As the digital world bombards us with emails, Slack notifications, and tasks, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Take a moment each month to declutter your information sources. If your inbox resembles a mountain of unread emails, consider unsubscribing from irrelevant threads. Similarly, evaluate your Slack channels to determine which ones truly add value and which ones serve as distractions. By streamlining your information intake, you pave the way for enhanced productivity and clarity.

Engage with Purpose

Communication is a two-way street. When a colleague shares a project update, seize the opportunity to engage and ask questions. Your active participation not only fosters a culture of collaboration but also ensures that the information shared is meaningful and impactful.

Take a look at the slack channels you’re in, and how many are places where status updates get posted with no response (or a few slackmojis). That is a great opportunity for you to dig in to the information shared and ask questions in a public forum and gives a signal to the sharer that what they’ve done is useful.

Build Strong Partnerships

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful information exchange. By clearly articulating your information needs and preferred communication methods, you set the stage for productive collaborations.

Consider establishing communication contracts with other teams to streamline information flow and build trust across departments. I frequently approach other teams to let them know what information I think I need, and how I’d prefer to get it to work best with my workflow. Sometimes the other team will come back with different data and explain how my original request wasn’t feasible, or not have tracking for the information I want which means it’ll need to be built. Either way, we’re still building a two way communication between our teams.

Listen with Intent

In a world buzzing with information, active listening is a superpower. Sometimes, the way information is delivered may not align with your preferences (and may not be nice!), but there’s value in every message. Take the time to absorb and understand the underlying insights, even if they come in unexpected packages.