The Secrets of Distributed Design

How to maintain the creativity of your design team while working remotely

Communication

Remote work requires some flexibility from everyone. This means being flexible with your communication style, and understanding that other members of your team will likely work very differently from you. Understand that this is normal, but make sure you have agreed-upon communication tools and frameworks. Favor asynchronous tools as far as possible, such as Slack or email.

Design Tools

Recent years have seen massive growth in the variety of design tools on offer. You’re probably already using a few, but now is your opportunity to really learn what these tools offer in terms of collaboration. Miro is a great tool for collaborative whiteboarding, and can take the place of your usual post-it notes sessions, and you can work simultaneously with your teammates on Abstract, Figma, and Zeplin. If there’s a tool here that you’re not familiar with, why not try learning it over the next few weeks?

An example of how our design teams work with Miro

Coordination

If you’re not already using a ticket-based project management system, keep it simple for now — just use a Google Sheet or another collaborative document. Coordination is critical, but now is not the time to set up a complex project management system and risk confusing everyone.

Learning lessons

Although the circumstances are difficult, now is the time to optimize our remote capabilities as designers and get them in shape for the future. The world of work is becoming more distributed, and this crisis will no doubt speed that up. So learn the lessons now for when the crisis passes: You’ll be grateful (and more productive!) when you return to the office.

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BCG Digital Ventures, part of BCG X, builds and scales innovative businesses with the world’s most influential companies.