We’re often asked for tips that will help people develop their UX practice into something more effective. Given that; this week we’re going to run a series of best practice tips for your UX work – 5 each and every day. So let’s get started at the beginning of the project:
Look Before You Leap
It’s very easy for us to jump straight into working on details but before you start your project; you need to be very clear as to what it is that the team intends to deliver. That means working with your stakeholders to develop a common vision – something that should be clear in everyone’s minds as they work. You may need to revise that vision but that should be done during the next iteration of the product; don’t get side tracked. Focus on the big picture and work towards it.
Hold Regular Reviews Against That Vision
I hate meetings, they can end up becoming an endless time sink that distracts you from real work. Having said that – meetings are important when you have clear objectives to meet. You need to sit down as a team and examine how you’re going to deliver your objectives at the start of the project and then you need to meet regularly and review progress. There’s a good project management rule of thumb to employ here – DO NOT allow people to claim x% progress against a task – things are either done or they aren’t. This will save the whole team from going crazy when it turns out that 99% complete means another 13 weeks work from one part of the team.
Help People Combine Goals and Objectives
Yes, the project vision is important but so are the objectives of the team. You need to ensure that it’s not just the vision that’s clear in people’s minds – it’s how that vision will enable the user and the business to achieve their objectives too. This is a really useful piece of preparation because it allows you to identify any conflicts between those two groups and resolve them before you start work.
Get Stakeholders Together Early in Your Projects
If you want everyone singing from the same hymn sheet – they have to have seen the lyrics. That means you want to start your project with a kick off meeting and then hold regular meetings as you deliver major milestones; this ensures everyone knows what’s happening and lets you catch any minor issues before they become major sticking points.
Make Meetings Meaningful
Sounds like a lot of meetings right? Maybe but you want to try and keep those meetings to a minimum and keep them focused. Ensure you have an agenda and an objective for each meeting you hold. Make certain you only invite relevant parties to meetings (this tends to keep them on track). Direct meetings and prevent side tracking. Don’t be afraid to add the occasional exercise to a long meeting to break up the monotony and develop your understanding of what people’s real concerns are.
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