Working among different teams can pose a problem without the right guidance on how to improve team workflows. Considering the eclectic nature of personalities, deliverables and processes, it is easy to see how mishaps can occur. This can Working among different teams with various workflows can pose a problem without the right guidance. Considering the eclectic nature of personalities, deliverables and processes, it is easy to see how mishaps can occur. This can happen within both an internal as well as a remote environment where the goal is to deliver a functional and quality product. Once you are able to understand and navigate the variety of personal colleague activities, you have the ability to make more improvements that bring cohesion to the team.

 

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Understand Team Member Workflows

Most product teams are built around several individual contributors that come from all walks of life and experience levels. Some have set routines in the way that they work and perform particular tasks. There are others who are more reactive and thrive off of inherent creativity which can be triggered by inspiration and harnessed through head-down execution. Conversely, others need to gather every piece of information before acting upon a task in an effort to cover all the bases up front.

The common theme here has everything to do with the random workflows that people have adopted to help them complete their part. This poses both a challenge and a great opportunity.

The approach you should take initially is learning and understanding the various workflows of your team members to help you unlock the energy of collaborative work. Observe how your project management team researches systems to better understand how rich requirements are formed. Shadowing an engineering lead to witness what drives their code base can be valuable in grasping how your work influences his/her action steps. The goal here is not to change the process but to observe them so that you can identify where your deliverables fit in and compliment the team’s momentum.

 

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Determine Where To Store Files

It is one thing to complete a task and handoff to another team member to act upon in order to continually make progress on a project. Things become a bit cumbersome when you cannot locate the right file, for said project. Not to mention, there is not a standard for naming convention, asset filing or references to name a few.

With the growing number of items that could take place and hinder the function of the team, there are a few approaches you can take to curb this issue. One thing to do is understand how your team members actually use your delivery items. As mentioned above in the workflow identification phase, you can gather insights as to how others utilize your work. Would you prefer to store your work in a shared online file storage tool like Dropbox or Google Drive? Do you prefer a secured internal tool like an encrypted server, FTP access or simply a password protected storage space? The options will depend on how your team will actively use and administer assets you individually contribute to. This can help with linking the appropriate deliverable to the designated feature or project request and maintain the tracking of your compositions.

 

 

Standardize A Process

Tackling the workflow of your peers can be a huge obstacle, which can become a job on its own. Coupling that with the desire to figure out a set location to store files can be daunting for anyone looking to optimize a collaborative process. Having the knowledge to know what to look for, is just as important as putting a plan in place that will standardize the approach. Many will find this to be a difficult undertaking when looking at things from a bird’s eye view even with most of the hard work completed.

Executing on these bits of insight will need to be structured in a way that others can follow. That requires a standardization to the process. By aligning with your team, you can figure out how to name your files for easy recall. You can determine that a peer review or technical sign-off can be part of the workflow that makes scope creep easier to manage. It does not matter to what degree and/or project you encounter that these rules may apply. Develop a simple plan of action for these types of tasks and team milestones then gather feedback from the team regarding its possibilities. What makes this approach more valuable is the efficiency of the process; generating a repeatable exercise that can harness desirable quality standards.

 

 

The goal is not to change the process but to observe them so that you can identify where your deliverables fit in and compliment the team’s momentum.

As you gain more experience and continue tackling high level projects that will require more oversight, systems need to be put into place to ensure improvements. In any project undertaking, there will be modifications and unforeseen revisions that will attempt to derail the entirety of the project. By implementing an easy framework that the team has agreed to and is a part of will save you some headache in the long run. Cheers to your journey as you celebrate the small wins of greatness along the way.

Your life has color, so design it that way!

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PS: Check out the full video for a visual reference of these tips and tricks that will help you Improve Team Workflows.

Anticio Duke

Anticio Duke

Anticio Duke is a serial entrepreneur, inventor and product designer based in Chicago, IL. Known as Duke, he transitioned from a successful product engineering background to digital product software design. Bringing a wealth of knowledge to the digital space, he serves as a product design strategist for agencies and Fortune 100/500 companies; bridging the gap between consumer hardware and digital products. Currently, he leads as Chief Product Strategist at WDI Studios, an innovative creative agency focused on product delivery and education for mobile application design, gamification and voice user interfaces.

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