Kickoff Meetings for Team Alignment Before Starting UX Projects

Working with the new team can take time to adjust to different working styles and preferences, most job titles are not all encompassing of roles and duties and can sometimes be misleading to people with the job title of U.S. designer may have that same title, but they perform completely different tasks in their day to day work. One may be more focused on usability, testing and interaction design, while another may specialize in visual design and workshop facilitation. Because of this, I like to have different kickoff meetings to get everyone on the same page whenever a new team starts a project or a new person joins an existing team.

These are the triggers to me that we should schedule a kickoff meeting. The New Year, the team, the more emphasis you should place on alignment. And this meeting isn’t just for users. Everyone on the team can benefit from knowing more about how their team members work. Schedule 30 minutes for the team to come together either as its own separate calendar invitation or piggybacked onto an existing meeting where the entire team is present. As part of this meeting, each person will talk about the following items first, how their role will impact the team, what skills and expertize are they adding to the team? What is their preferred communication style or are they paying attention to their chat program? Is email the best way or do they want you to come by their desk in person? What non role specific tasks can they help out with? These can be tasks that are typically associated to other roles on the team, like front end development or writing user stories. It’s nice for the team to understand what else they can come to you for beyond your role based tasks. And then finally, what tasks do they prefer to avoid if possible? For example, letting people know that you’re really great at creating wire frames and low fidelity prototypes. But visual design is not your strong suit. This meeting helps eliminate confusion among roles on a team, especially when there are so many definitions of what makes up a designer versus a product owner versus a developer. We throw around words like full stack versus front end versus back end. But what are those really mean when it comes down to the day to day tasks? And each person’s definition of what those words mean can vary.

Take the time to better understand your team and its capabilities, which will in turn help you all communicate in more efficient ways.

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