1.Break down the silos – Reach out to your colleagues in the other disciplines — developers, marketers, product managers, content creators and strategists, even QA — bring them into the product conception process. You’d be amazed at how much insight your colleagues can provide on a variety of topics.
2. Sketch. A lot. Together – Ideas are useless when they live only in your head. As a designer you’re used to having your ideas visually articulated. Extend this tool to the rest of your team. Get their ideas, hopes and dreams for the product out of their heads and on to paper or a whiteboard.
3. Focus on outcomes, not outputs – Give your team a feature to implement and you tap their execution skills. Give them a problem to solve — with clearly stated success metrics — and you tap their creative and innovation skills. Teams that feel trusted to come up with their own solution are far more motivated to create successful products
4. Conduct research together, as a team (yes, even the developers) – Ever played a game of telephone? When the last couple of people get the phrase whispered in their ear it’s usually a ridiculous far cry from where it began (“I love you” becomes “elephant shoe” and so on). When a team outsources its research (even to an internal research team) a game of telephone ensues.The researchers speak with customers. They then write up their findings along with their own biases (regardless of whether appropriate or not for them to do). Their report is read by the UX team who then translates it for the rest of the product team. By the time the rest of the team hears the results of the testing the core messages have been watered-down, embellished, and editorialized.
5. Build, maintain and use a (live) style guide – Running quick experiments to find the best solution to your business problem requires a ready-made set of building blocks that enable the team to approximate new experiences and workflows quickly. Style guides provide just this. If it’s made of pixels it goes into the style guide. Define every element of your interface that currently exists — down to the drop-down menus and button corner radius. Get this done and out of the way. Create a repository of design and code assets available (and up to date) to anyone on the team. Have the team use these assets to create prototypes that can then be quickly tested.
Comment from Tony G:
See my notes from Book Report on Applied Project Management, Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene (Oreilly) on similarities of the themes exposed in the above. To summarize, the authors write the following concerning managing teams:
1. Tell everyone the truth all the time
2. Trust your Team
3.Review everything, Test Everything
4.*All Software Engineers are created Equal
5.Doing the Project Right Most Efficiently and Effectively.