I did some designing stuff this week, and it was brilliant! Leading this team into a new era of design and development working together has been such a joy, and I cant wait for more design gatherings.
Also happening this week, was a day of taking stock and realising that I cant carry on with two teams, so officially left a team and have concentrated my attention on one team with design backlog bigger than you could ever dream of (they haven’t had a designer since January).
The challenge is huge, but im happy to be knee-deep in work, deciding with the team which pieces to work on, showing value, getting everyone to design and the doing, the talking and the showing of work.

Monday
Early discussions with the P.O. about where a project is heading, we both agreed that we should get it to a level of being able to let it go, this then started another discussion on planning “online user life improvements” - so tasked myself with checking for broken design patterns, acting on UR feedback and any feedback which is daily given to our P.O/BAs.

Two designers from Manchester came to Leeds, great to catch up with other team members and see whats happening else where, most catch ups are not always about sharing work but ways-of-working that interests me the most. Plenty of chats about how to deal with personalities, issues on sharing work and finding your voice within the team. Lots of sharing and learning!

Tuesday
Backlog meeting - need to plan out future U.R with one, idea is to use a UR as a consultant as waiting time is too short as the project is winding down. Will use U.R. to line up possible, will run through previous UR.

I ran a design gathering, the first the team has ever had in the open - it was an honest, round table discussion with good.. no GREAT solutions and it felt totally normal and comfortable. This really felt like we’ve turned a corner and design getting the seat at the table it needed.

P.O. also provided feedback afterwards to me, he found it brilliant, proactive and enjoyed having a solid output/actions list.

Wednesday
Morning retro of the retro - a session to discuss team happiness around hot desking / lack of chairs. I’m unsure how I feel about this retro, part of me felt really awkward and hesitant to talk, other part of me also realised that there isn’t enough seats in the area and this causes expected friction - everyone likes to have a “home” in an office. Unsure the fix, and I’m unsure everyone came out of it happier than when they went in - but time will tell.

Caught up with my line manager Juliana, amazing to run through how much has changed in 3 months, from discussing lightly about design to leading a design gathering around a tv and getting others to design verbally. Speaking of the design gathering.. rest of the day prototyping!

Thursday

The day was taken up with updating the prototype, working out a system to take the prototype forward. In short: I want to split the prototype up a little tidier, per sprint instead of doing a list of “tasks”, this way we keep focus on sections and journeys rather than the developers expecting a fully functioning prototype (that we all know will be broken!). Lowering and re-educating expectations and reasons for the prototype, whilst working at speed.

Started also working through the existing platform, for a design run-through - with the lack of knowledge of how the user is working with the system, I am just checking the design patterns used are suitable for the task.

Friday
Friday is NUX day!

Today was ace, caught up with loads of ex-colleagues from Sky Bet, and current work buddies from DWP. In regards to the talks - I really really enjoyed Vimla Appadoo talk on “It’s Time to Redesign Design”, its right up my street and I love her approach and talk on showing and talking about the value of design away from the pretty stuff. Also worth a shout was Amy Hupe’s talk - funny, enlightening and totally interesting on “Inclusive Documentation”. My content designer pals were going crazy with notes and pictures!

Always forget though how long NUX is - early and late finish, but i’ll do it all again next year.


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