5 Ways to Improve Teamwork With Design
Taking a project from start to finish is just like putting a large puzzle together with a group; a lot of pieces need to come together and the more hands that are involved the trickier it can be sometimes to get everything to fit right. A productive team is made up of productive individuals, but everyone has an off-day here or there. Here are our five favorite ways to design productivity and good vibes for any team.
Work With Measurable Goals
Approaching projects with the design mentality of focusing on small, measured segments of work leads to action, which leads to deadlines being met. This also makes it easier to keep an eye on progress and have a visual of what’s been done and what needs to be done. Since design is a creative process, and creativity is subjective, time gets slippery and deadlines can be missed. By setting realistic goals, developers and engineers can have an idea of when their work will begin and the whole team is provided with a desperately needed rhythm.
While email is great and all, it has a narrow purpose in the workplace. By utilizing chat apps like Skype or WhatsApp, your team is provided with lightning-fast communication that’s a lot less formal than email. Filling group chats with jokes, GIFs, and a fun tone can be supremely helpful for morale. These apps are also great for getting work done. File transfers over skype, and targeted voice notes over WhatsApp can ensure that tasks are done on time and that small updates can be tackled in the moment. In the long run, using these apps rather than relying on email makes it quicker to gather feedback, which multiplies action items and ensures that everyone gets on the same page much, much faster.
Software and design continues to solve new problems every day, paving way for a new problem: how to work in areas we know nothing about. For example, you may start work on an insurance app for a client. Within the first hour of working, you have a stunning realization: you’ve never really thought about how your insurance actually works, let alone the industry as a whole. All areas of the team learn bits and pieces about the project industry from whatever they are working on. A team lunch can bring everyone together to learn a bit about what’s going on with the project, as well as the tough decisions everyone is facing. The more you learn about these problems, the more you can help out when they arise in the future, and the less you’ll bother each other over small things. This gain of confidence in previously foreign industries will show in your work and the decisions you make in the future.
Team Social Accounts
An awesome development that has been taking place is the rise of team accounts on creative social networks like Dribbble and Tumblr. This provides a way for people working on the same thing to share as a group, and show the faces behind the agency should you decide to make the account public. This showcasing of the company culture provides insight to your goals and identity as an agency more than any marketing copy ever could, plus, its super fun! Having an agency Pinterest account with boards dedicated to different projects can really mix things up and make take the finished product to whole new levels.
At the end of the day, a good designer shouldn’t be an island. It’s important to gather feedback from team members, and should serve as the backbone of your design process. Though it’s painful to have your design picked apart, it eventually leads to great things. However you want to conduct it– calling everyone into the conference room, starting a group chat on WhatsApp or Skype, or emailing everyone– the important part is sharing the design and providing input. One solid way to do this is to create a prototype and invite the team to leave comments all over it. Seeing this feedback in context makes things a lot easier, plus tracking comment threads is a lot easier than sifting through endless emails. A great side effect of this is that non-design members of the team can see their contributions take shape, which gets the whole team excited about a process previously unknown to them.
Wrapping up, the moral of the story here is to open up your design process and let others follow. To disappear into a hole and emerge with a solution isn’t teamwork. To open up your process to anyone interested not only results in a better product, but it results in a better team. As this team grows and pieces are added to the puzzle, who better than the designer to make sure all of the pieces fit just right!