Why make design reviews a habit?

Rucha Humnabadkar
May 28, 2018 · 3 min read

Managing UX in a complex organization with multiple work streams can be challenging. As a Design Manager at QuickBooks, Intuit, my colleagues and I encounter this on a regular basis. This article talks about how our design team uses the daily stand-up format to manage this complexity.

Start your day with the team

Our team, which is responsible for designing the core accounting experience for QuickBooks Online U.S., has settled on the “Daily 30” — 30 minutes each day for each track of work. We have large tracks of work which need dedicated time, so we chose this method.

This format works well for us because our design group leads large initiatives with dependencies across business segments in the ecosystem. Designers present work in progress and get feedback. For teams that require additional review time we set-up one hour slots on a weekly or bi-weekly basis (can be recurring).

Use design artifacts to set context

The team presenting quickly sets context and guardrails for the type of feedback they’re looking for, then deep dives into sharing design artifacts — physical printouts on large foam core boards, paper sketches, early wireframes, digital Mural boards, research findings or a presentation deck. This shared design language further builds rigor around design process, which ultimately delivers the best customer experience.

Why this format works for us?

As managers, our goal is to enable teams to deliver high quality work and remove obstacles, and the Daily 30 achieves both. QuickBooks Online is a complex accounting tool and teams have to solve for interdependencies with other business segments to create delightful end-to-end experiences.

For e.g. when the Banking team shared a complex workflow that had a dependency on the Financial Data Platform team, we were able to quickly identify the right people the team should partner with. In other instances, we are providing detailed feedback on the visual and interaction designs being considered for A/B testing. Throughout the review, team members also provide directed feedback and push the team’s thinking to ensure its viability and ultimate user experience.

Be sure to look for those who may not be as verbose in public critique, they definitely have value to add, so be sure to ask for their opinion.

Most importantly, it helps teams gain confidence with storytelling for their projects and builds trust among teammates as they learn from each other. In turn, they are better prepared for reviews with leadership.

Benefits of Daily 30

The Daily 30 brings efficiency in sharing out work on a regular basis to keep the group updated. Designers are best positioned to deliver a seamless experience when they have a shared understanding of the full scope of the product, and not just focus on their area of work.

It’s a great forum to show continuous progress and generates diverse thinking and debate, which helps strengthen design rationale.

Key takeaways

  • The regularity helps build a safe environment for feedback and critique.
  • Team members learn that feedback is input and to take what’s beneficial and leave the rest.
  • It helps validate the team’s skills and critiquing ability, by adding value to someone else’s work.
  • As a leader this provides a platform to engage those who are not comfortable giving feedback in larger settings.
  • Good place for junior designers to learn how to give and receive feedback.
  • Be patient, it won’t be successful right away. Get some small wins — get a majority of your team to show up. It’s hard to find a time every day that works for all.

What works for your team?

Co-authored with Cole Miller, Design Manager, Quickbooks Online, Intuit

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