Articulate your design decisions. Keep your sanity. Deliver your best.
If you have been in this industry for some time, then like many designers and UX architects, you might have nightmares about getting your designs approved. What should be an enjoyable process might look like an arbiter of an art direction or an end of creative and dynamic working relationship.
OK. So maybe I went a little overboard with that. But lets face it- at some point or the other we have had a fear of approval process shaped up from previous experiences. And its high time we let go of that fear.
By collaborating with stakeholders. Or getting everyone involved at an early stage.
By definition a stakeholder can be an individual, organisation or a team who may affect, be affected by or perceive to be affected by a decision, activity or outcome of a project
When you involve your stakeholder team from an early stage, not only do you benefit from getting to know their usability and user concerns; but you and your team gets better at problem solving or preventing problems at the first place. Lets take a look at how this form of collaboration makes everyone’s life easier.
You Become A Part Of A Cross Functional Team
Every stakeholder is involved in the project for a different reason. Your role for instance, is to carve out niche user experiences that benefits the product and enthral your audience. Likewise each stakeholder is reviewing your work under a unique lens based on his expertise. Their decision is driven by the way they perceive and respond to your work. When you start understanding the logic behind their feedback, you not only another layer of expertise to your designs but also step out of your comfort zone and become a part of a cross functional team.
Not All That Feedback Is Gold
One of the most fundamental benefits of going cross functional is that your brain now enables critical thinking. With time, you start judging your own designs from various angles and not just visual compositing and user experience. At this point you start getting more and more better at defending your design decisions; separating glitter from gold.
I have been a part of various cross functional teams and I personally find this an enriching experience. When involved in a one to one feedback session, I was able to point the exact reason on why a certain feedback from the stakeholder will not work well with our current scenario. And when there was a logic to my reasoning, my stakeholders started trusting more and more in my decision making.
Work Now Feels Emotionally Satisfying
Once you feel that your stakeholders trust your decision making, it adds a layer of emotional satisfaction or security to the work you do. You start understanding each other’s temperament and can walk in a different pair of shoes. Believe me when I say it is this job satisfaction that is a key component that drives us to reach for better results, perform our best and strategise all our future moves.
It Encourages You To Experiment Or Take Risks
When you are a part of a successful collaboration spree with your stakeholders, you tend to feel psychologically safe. You now know that if you step out of the box and experiment with something new, there is a high chances of getting it approved. You can easily get your agenda on the table without the fear of rejection. Though Its not mandatory that every time your next big idea gets an approval nod, but there are high chances of getting involved in a constructive feedback session that might turn your bigger idea better.
Remember collaboration is just another tool in your designer toolbox. It gives you just the right push to negotiate creative content and strategic decision making when pitted against institutional roadblocks or personal conflicts.
What do you think of early collaboration? Have you been a part of a successful collaboration with stakeholders or people from different fields or is it something relatively new to you. Leave your comments below and I would love to respond.