On Tuesday 13th January 2015, some of the Webstars team headed over to the Facebook offices for the return of Design+Banter, a meet up for people working in the design industry.
They kicked off the new year with talks from Facebook, Gov UK and Utku Can, as well as a debate; Agency is Dead. One of our favourite quotes of the night was from Charlotte Clancy, User Researcher at gov.uk, who said ‘The unit of delivery is the team’ - and we couldn’t agree more! As an agency that covers Design, Development, Marketing and Strategy, with teams in London and Romania, working as a team is critical to the successful delivery of our projects.
Utku Can pointed out, ‘The difficulty comes when you can no longer fit your entire company around the table for lunch’. You have to begin consciously thinking about how your team communicates. Can’s solution, while working at Mint Digital, was to break the team down into smaller, multi-disciplinary groups but we think there are a number of ways you can maintain communication across a larger team. Here are three of the techniques/tools we recommend:
Slack and google hangouts
We have been using Slack for about a year and it has transformed communication in the office, especially with the team in Romania. It is easy to create groups where an instant discussion can be had and quick answers can be gained. We have also started using Google Hangouts (we are slightly obsessed) for briefings and meetings, they are especially useful for a quick chat on the go.
Weekly team meetings
We have found weekly team meetings to be a very useful tool. In addition to running through each of your live projects, try holding an in-depth discussion on a couple of projects each week. We find this brings plenty of fresh ideas, as well as some healthy debate. As much as you try to work collaboratively on each project it is not practical for everyone to be involved all of the time. Bringing everyone together in this way means you get fresh eyes on the work you have been doing.
Basecamp and Trello
We use Basecamp in conjunction with Trello to organise our work load. These tools are great for assigning to-dos in a way that is transparent to the whole team. Each project is tracked through these platforms, creating a trail of everything that has been done, so it can be picked up by anyone at any time. We can even include the client, eliminating the need to go back and forth by email on more complex, ongoing projects.
If you have any questions about this article and the collaborative tools we use or if would like to talk to us about a project please get in touch.