😳 Share your work-in-progress early and regularly
#20: How to do it right. It may feel embarrassing, though.
It can be challenging to feel comfortable sharing your work in progress early and regularly with others, as the fear of criticism can feel very real. Additionally, presenting still vague and half-baked ideas can make you powerless to convey your thoughts effectively, especially if what you have is scrappy sketches. However, those scrappy sketches can still push your ideas forward if communicated correctly, sometimes even more so than high-fidelity designs.
If you're on a new team, the challenge of sharing becomes even greater since you have limited knowledge about each team member during your initial interactions. Feeling anxious about how people will react to your ideas is natural. While you may have preconceived notions about how individuals in different roles will think and behave, it's important to remember that everyone is unique. You may encounter developers who have a genuine interest in design and those who do not.
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Build personal relationship
To successfully share your work in progress, your first step should be to get to know your team, understand what they value, and how they prefer to communicate. Having one-on-one interactions may be helpful in building rapport with each team member and getting to know them personally. Remember that they are also human beings, and developing relationships beyond work-related matters can positively impact the professional level.
Break the silo and align with others.
Break down the silos and align with others. Use your rough sketches to share your half-baked ideas, seek feedback, listen to other's input, and ultimately align your thoughts with the rest of your team. This process involves merging your ideas with everyone else's to establish a consensus. Lastly, you must leave your ego at the door and say, "This is not my idea, but ours.”
Prepare yourself and be intentional by following this checklist guide:
Clarify your intention. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your goal and why sharing your work will be necessary. Sharing progress is not merely a matter of providing updates; underlying objectives must be considered. Some common goals for sharing your work may include:
Checking feasibility with developers.
Sharing potential solutions and having more discussion before going into details.
Building alignment and hearing others' perspectives.
Know your audience before sharing your ideas. It's important to take the time to understand the individuals you'll be sharing your thoughts with, as everyone has distinct values and communication styles. You can tailor your approach to suit each individual by gaining insights into each person's preferences.
Choose the right moment to share your progress. Schedule specific times that work well for you and the person you share with. Avoid using daily check-ins to review every detail of your work. Instead, focus on sharing high-level updates during these check-ins. Remember, check-ins are meant for quick exchanges and not for in-depth conversations. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your progress updates are delivered efficiently and effectively.
Ultimately, sharing work in progress, including scrappy sketches and half-baked ideas, takes confidence. Don't worry; confidence is something that you can cultivate over time.
I'm writing two handbooks to guide designers with valuable insights, helping them thrive in their craft.
Frameworks for Thinking offers various frameworks and tools to help designers and creatives think critically, generate new ideas, and solve complex problems.
Deliberate Practice for Designers provides guides and insights to help you master your craft and become a lifelong learner through deliberate practice.