Collaboration not unicorns

The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy. I’ve hardly been in the office due to the bank holidays, visiting clients and attending a UX workshop. That’s made it pretty tough to keep up with all the things I need to do in my new role. Now with the next bank holiday I’m looking forward to some well earnt time off.

Getting on top the work

As the newly appointed lead I’m responsible for all projects. So it falls to me to manage these projects and the team. But as a manager I’m conscious of not falling into the drive-by-management trap and a boss mentality.

I’ve had my fair share of these managers and to say it sucks is an understatement. In fact it was one of the main reasons I left a company was because of this behaviour.

So I made it my first task to setup regular check-ins with the team to discuss projects and their workload.

I had worried that the team might be struggling; we have a history of delivering projects late. But I was surprised by how organised individuals were. Even those who declared themselves as not very organised.

Experimenting with different types of prototypes

This week I created both an image based prototype and a code prototype for a discovery project.

My initial thoughts still lean towards code prototypes as a superior tool. I found the code prototype lead to more useful conversations both with the team and client.

It might be a bias or familiarity thing, but I have long found mockups to be limited.

Fixing problems together

From the check-in the team raised a longstanding development issue they had on a client project. We set aside time for myself and the senior developer to tackle the problem in the week.

I’m keen to encourage this type of collaboration as I think it makes everyone a better problem solver. When working together you have to externalise your thinking. It forces you to really think about the decisions you made. Not only with something you have already done, but also with how you might change or fix it.

It proved effective as we resolved most issues we could and determined the ones we couldn’t.

— Alexander Blackman