I was freelancing at a healthcare company where I worked with a small product team who were focused on growth in the business.
One of the pain points when I joined was around some team members feeling like their voices weren’t heard when it came to design decisions and testing new features.
I wanted to eradicate this concern early on, so I set up weekly workshops where we would do few design exercises together. In this session I would put forward the personas that were relevant to the issue we were addressing for that sprint, and explain what user needs we needed to consider. Then I would set a 5 minute timer, with everyone sketching their solutions. Thus allowing developers, doctors, CRO and researchers to approach the problem from their perspective.
After the time was up, each member could present their solutions, explain their thinking around this problem and give insight into how their area of expertise influences user solutions.
I always explained that though we may not go with their exact ideas, it was valuable to get an understanding of how each expertise imagines the service and how we can reach a sweet spot between the stakeholders, the business goals and the end users.
I would then use these sketches to inform my wireframes and eventual designs for testing.
One of the benefits of this collaboration is that it allows a platform to voice a variety of ideas around a challenge the team faces. The discussion that follows can be useful for both the designer and the team to recognise areas to explore and concepts that are unlikely to work for logistic, technical or other reason.
From my experience the best work created by small product teams comes when the team is able to reach consensus rather than submit to hierarchy or fall in line to more opinionated persons on the team. Creating activities where everyone can contribute and share ideas keeps each member of the team close to the thinking and strategising of the final product.