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How to get more visibility on work?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [E3] at Meta2 years ago

I'm learning it's important not just to do good work but also to make your work visible to your team and sometimes wider circle. This is common feedback given to junior engineers at Meta. What are some ways to get more visibility on my work and what are some rules of thumb (e.g. structure of posts, cadence of posts, when to share progress in team meetings)?

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  • 27
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 years ago

    When a manager tells you something like, "You should try to get more visibility on your work," it almost always translates to, "I want you to write more Workplace posts." Meta is a very open and social company, and without strong communication and technical writing skills, it is very difficult to survive.

    Before we jump into Workplace posts more, here's some other ways to let people know what you're working on:

    1. Team meetings - Generally a weekly or bi-weekly but some teams do standup. There is generally a time for people to share project updates, so you can chime in then. If you really want to make sure you aren't "butting in", you can seed the written meeting agenda beforehand with your project update, and if you want to make it really clear, go to the meeting lead (a TL or manager) and tell them, "As a heads up, I want to talk about XYZ in the meeting, so if you can carve out some time for me to do that, that would be great!"
    2. Work Chat groups - This isn't permanent, so I don't like it as much. The purpose is more for smaller wins on the scale of a few hours or days of problem solving. Some groups on Work Chat though can get pretty large though, so presence here is definitely also important.
    3. Project Planning Docs - Whenever I took on any major project, I would write a project spec Quip for it (your team may use Google Docs). Not only does this make your project execution smoother, it's also a nice visibility mechanism as you can (and should) use it to cc a bunch of stakeholders.
    4. Demos - People love demos! This is less of a medium and more of something to share in general. In particular, if there's some sort of recurring demo event in your org, try to get signed up for that whenever you build a major win!

    Workplace Posts

    The "bread and butter" Workplace post is the project status update. I think with any major project (something taking >1.5 months), you can post a status update biweekly if not weekly. These will generally go into some working group space within Workplace for your org, generally between 25 and 100 members. These posts will make up the majority of your visibility-building posts, and it was a huge mechanism for me to grow from E4 MA to E4 EE back when I started at Meta.

    That being said, here's the structure I used for a good project update post:

    1. tldr - Keep it to 1-2 sentences and really try to link a demo if you can (which will then be nicely embedded into the post).
    2. What was accomplished - Use bullet points for this
    3. What's coming up next - Use bullet points for this and call out any blockers/challenges here
    4. Thanks (if applicable) - If you do #thanks [@person], it should generate Thanks Bot for them
    5. cc stakeholders - Be aggressive here: If anyone is remotely connected, just cc them. People at Meta understand that overcommunication is the norm. And by definition, the more people you cc, the more visibility you have

    If you really want to make things clear, you can look me up in Workplace and go through my old posts, haha. You can also look at more senior engineers in your team and see what their posts look like.

    I think the main hurdle to overcome is fear around the perception of your post. My advice is to make peace with the fact that your initial posts will be messy, and just put yourself out there. People know who's more junior in the org, and if you're in a good org, people will be super happy the E3 is making posts now and they will give you feedback. You should also let your manager know you're doing this more, so they can be on the lookout (you should also just cc them) and give you feedback.

    Something I did with my mentees is I offered them "Workplace Post Editor Service". So they would write a draft of their post, and I would proofread it. If you really want that sense of security, you can pursue that. Ask your manager if they're willing to do that and/or your engineering mentors on the team.

  • 9
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    6 months ago

    I discussed this in the [Case Study] Effective Communication: Leading A Multi-Org Re-architecture At Meta, so I'd highly recommend going through that.

    I'd create a regular cadence of workplace posts based on the main project/feature you're working on (this generally works better than "personal updates" which are just about everything you did). Start with bi-weekly, but adjust to weekly if there are enough changes that happen, or if the project is < 2 months long.

    Here's the structure I employed:

    • tl;dr at the top with the most important information. No more than 2-3 bullet points.
    • An extended summary, which almost always includes acknowledging the work of others (this gives you an excuse to tag them in the post)
    • End with next steps or potential issues. Being clear about what will happen next (and what you're concerned about) will invite feedback that will help you.

    Make sure you post in the right forum where enough people can actually see the update.

    A common objection is that the updates may seem too self-promotional. This is the wrong attitude to have -- if your work is important enough, your regular updates will be welcome because people actually care about what you're doing!

Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns 3 of top 4 social networks in the world: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. More than 3.5 billion people use at least one of the company's core products every month.
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