How to enable your design team to succeed

Learnings from building, failing & launching internet products over the last 8 years

Do you face a constant struggle with your design team? Are you looking to be better at communicating feedback? If yes, read more for learnings from building products over the last 8 years. Web products, chat products, music apps, personal finance to now building a new credit card product.

Design is an integral part of building products. There’s often a debate on the perfect process to build products & the role design & product teams play in the journey. I’m elaborating a few of the mistakes I’ve made to help you do better.

Here are some of the mistakes I’ve made over time.

1. Providing insufficient context

This is a mistake I’ve made multiple times. As someone who has more exposure to a certain problem, we tend to underestimate the complexity when someone new looks at the problem. Providing sufficient context into the problems being solved, the importance of each problem to business, to metrics is crucial to the design process. Write a note, explain the note, emphasise on the customer use-cases, collect feedback & present it to your team. Do everything to give as much context & understanding to enable them to build the best possible design & solve the problem.

2. Trying to solve the design problem yourself

Or as you can call it ‘The Elon Musk’ syndrome. Jumping in to solve the problem is probably the worst thing you can do. And a symptom of not providing sufficient context to your team. Solve for 1 and you’ll quickly see this problem go away. I’ve made this mistake a lot too.

A product manager’s role is to define the right problems & at times guide the team to the correct solution. However building the solution, figuring out & debating the problems is as much a design task as product.

3. Not setting correct processes to discuss design & product

The correct process is dependant on the stage of the company, the impact of each change, the approach to problem solving & the size of the team. However some process is essential to building great products. Do you do regular design reviews? Do you have a set process to pass feedback? Do you’ll collect feedback on designs or product concepts from users? Do you take feedback on prototypes? These simple processes can help you design better products.

4. Not communicating the feedback in the right manner

Giving constructive feedback is an art. There’s a world of difference between ‘can you make that button bigger?’ and ‘We want the conversion rate on this step to be higher, can you look for ways to do that?’

I’m still learning to give feedback in a more constructive manner. If you have suggestions, i’ll love to learn.

5. Trying to solve conflict with logic only instead of principles.

As engineers, we love to solve problems with logic. But there are times when logic fails as good design is a lot about taste. A better way to approach this problem is to build principles for your design. And let them guide you.

Let principles guide you.

That’s it for now.

If you’re interested in building better products, I definitely recommend reading Joulie Zhou’s writing.

If you found the article useful, please feel free to hit the green ‘RECOMMEND’ button. Tell us about a post that made a big impact to your understanding of growing products in the comments. You can follow me on Twitter or Linkedin.

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