"It's good to learn from your mistakes. It's better to learn from other people's mistakes."
3 tips to supercharge your UX design sprint teamwork experience.
Today marks the end of my first UX design sprint and here are three tips I learned that would facilitate a great collaborative experience. In this case, I was working on a team of three people within the context of an online UX Bootcamp at BrainStation. [Nov 13, 2021 - 5 minute read; black background chosen to ease eye-strain]
#1 Encourage people to "Unmute" on Zoom
After two Zoom meetings, I realized the morale of the team was a little low, perhaps due to the pressure of impending deadlines, or the recent bootcamp commencement, which could be emotionally draining for some. For example, we were hesitant to "unmute" ourselves and deliver an opinion, which led to awkward pauses and unusual breaks in conversations.
This palpable silence had a negative effect on the team as seemingly minute tasks took longer than it should. Once I suggested that we unmute ourselves throughout the entire Zoom meeting, our conversation became less rigid and more organic. Instead of clicking to unmute ourselves before we had something to say, we could respond with witty remarks, genuine smiles, and spontaneous laughter, all of which are social lubricants that subsequently boosted our team morale to work cohesively and execute more decisively.
#2 Mind your "teammate's" business
As a UX designer, I learned that my colleagues could come from different parts of the world with completely different time zones, schedules, and routines. Even though my amazing teammates belonged in the same time zones, they still had drastically different rhythms to their day.
For example, Sarah (I shall name her so in this blog) was less responsive on Slack after 6PM. However, she could be observed working on our shared Figma or Google Doc files early in the morning, a period of time she feels most energetic and creative to tackle complex, design problems, perhaps from sleeping a little earlier.
Despite being the polar opposite of Sarah, I decided to match her "rhythm" and meet her at her best by also working in the morning. That way, we could avoid logistical friction (i.e. schedule Zoom meetings) arising from competing, personal schedules. Also, we could push our team's progress and settle major decisions together, which was worth the personal sacrifice of losing sleep.
#3 Recognize and celebrate your teammate's work
During the entire process of collaboration, if you notice that your teammate went above and beyond to complete what was assigned and expected, be sure to recognize your teammate's effort and acknowledge the difficulty of the task. Even though this may sound arbitrary and borderline cheesy, an extra dose of appreciation and gratitude could go a long way to promote team harmony.
By celebrating your teammate's accomplishments, be they big or small, and documenting what a difference it made to the success of the project, it will correspondingly encourage similar acts of excellence from other teammates. On the other hand, when hard work is consistently overlooked and goes unnoticed, your teammates may be less willing to deliver exceptional work in the future.
-- While there are infinite ways to supercharge your collaborative experience, the key I find the most useful is to focus on the project and set aside personal differences. Do you have any tips that can improve and elevate a group's collaborative experience? As always, I'm happy to connect! - M
"Speak your mind. even if your voice shakes."
Becoming a brand new "UX Designer" from a traditional Asian family
A picture of me gathering my thoughts after a great day with all my patients. They can be brand new to the world at 3 days old to seniors with endless stories and infinite words of wisdom. Yes, I am nothing without my coffee. =P [Oct 28, 2021 - 1 minute read]
Growing up in a traditional Asian family, I am encouraged to excel in Sciences and Mathematics with no apparent reason or clear direction, except maybe one grounded rationale: I am high in empathy, which is perfect for providing patient care.
When I tried to break free from this unspoken, familial expectation of becoming a Registered Nurse or a Medical Doctor, I am instantly met with overt disappointment, violent disagreement, and absolute disbelief from integral pillars of my life.
Despite the aforementioned, I am following my heart to pursue a career in UX Design with no regrets. Currently, I am one week away from starting a three month UX Boot Camp at BrainStation and I am positively giddy to plunge into the exciting world of design!
Words truly cannot explain how happy I am to even “call” myself a UX Designer. Not to mention, I'll be able to change the world with ideas that come to my mind and see how people live with my work.
Often forgotten, but communication is the backbone of a strong design team. Product development is nearly impossible if members are unwilling to disclose and present their work in a timely manner. Also, feedback that is needed for product iterations would be insufficient if products are not on display for critique.