Not everyone has the same viewpoint
Working cross functionally has made me realize that everyone has a different understanding of a project based on their role, and the nature of their day to day work. A PM will have a different understanding of design in comparison to an engineer. I believe everyone has a responsibility to bridge their understanding with other parts of product in order for everyone to be aligned. This is why scheduling a something like a kickoff meeting or sync up, where you get everyone (design, pm, eng) in the same room to listen to different inputs in order to establish an unified output/direction to move forward.
Not everyone has the same level of information
This is why we might try to back up our thoughts with data and not assume the people we talk to know about our perspective until we inform them. Part of understanding is clarifying and making sure everyone understands each other. At Google, sometimes coming to an understanding will require both sides to review, debate and disagree with each other.
People come in with different experience/different levels of information. Typically people are trying to convey to their understanding of a topic, not necessarily trying to get in the way of work. With a diverse group of people working together, facilitating a culture that supports and respects people to have healthy arguments will allow ideas to flow organically. This comes with the understanding that we have different ways of conveying our point of view while trying to keep the discussion as objective as possible.
Not everyone has the same communication style
At work, the way I interact with people varies. I make sure to tailor my conversations to what everyone understands the most and gets the most value in order to to move forward on their end.
For example, with designers, I will go into the details of a design and the customer journey. With PMs, I will talk about the design, but maybe not in as much detail as I would with a designer. I would try to talk about design in context to the product vision and requirements scoped out while ensuring that we deliver an optimal user experience. With engineers, I might talk about the design based on what’s feasible and specific measurements/capabilities of design components with the technology.
I realized that sometimes feedback contradicts itself based on everyone having a slightly different understanding of what can/can’t be done or what would be the best experience for the user.
The conversations I have with everyone varies, so I will also get varied feedback. It is my job to prioritize and synthesize that feedback in a way that I can move forward with a design. With designers, the focus is often based on the design itself and finding ways to explore different parts of the experience. With PMs, the focus is on understanding how the design meets objectives and whether or not it aligns with the product vision. With engineers, the focus is how the design will work with the backend and whether or not it will be complicated to build moving forward.
When having discussions with anyone at work, remember these points:
- Not everyone has the same viewpoint
- Don’t take disagreements personally
- Consensus is hard
2. Not everyone may have the same level of information
- Data > Experience > Role/level
3. Not everyone has the same communication style
- Treat people as you would like to be treated
- Assume people are reasonable and well intentioned