Our UX team ceremonies

Get to know the ceremonies we perform regularly

One of the first things I did when I started to be the interim UX Lead of our team was to introduce and reintroduce team ceremonies to get us back on track since we have been disjointed for months because of working separately on different projects and engagements.

For context, our team is a central-embedded hybrid where the UX designers and front-end developers are embedded in different cross-functional teams, but go back to the central UX team at the end of the day in the context of Agile and Lean UX. We also use Design Thinking in our everyday work.

We aim for these ceremonies to become our habits that will shape our culture or practices.

Monday Catch-up

Once a week for 30–45mins.

Hello again, Monday! *yawn* We shake off that weekend hangover by coming together and look at we would face the current week.

www.opendoodles.com

Goals:

  1. Visibility and alignment of what everyone is working on.
  2. Flag blockers and/or impediments.
  3. How we could help each other out.

How we do it:

  1. The team lead will recap what happened last week and paint the picture of how the current week could look like and how should we tackle it as a team.
  2. The team lead will give organization announcements and/or reminders if any.
  3. A team member will facilitate going through the team’s work board (we simply use Kanban in Trello), and the facilitator role will be rotated amongst the team so that everyone will get to experience facilitating.

To improve:

  1. Making it fun! No need for formality.
  2. Making it concise and sweet.

Design Critiques and Reviews

Once a week for 1–1.5 hrs.

One of the best ways to improve the quality of our work is to get valuable critiques and reviews from people with diverse skills and expertise.

www.opendoodles.com

Goals:

  1. Spot what is good and what needs improvement.
  2. Improve on giving and getting feedback.
  3. Build a healthy culture of constant feedback and collaboration.

How we do it:

  1. It does not matter how small or big the idea is! If a member needs feedback, they can present to the team outlining the context, objectives, approaches, and the specific areas that need feedback.
  2. The team outlines what is good and creates actionable recommendations.
  3. The team lead facilitates the whole discussion.

To improve:

  1. The facilitator role should be rotated so that everyone experiences it.
  2. Make a structure or template so that we cover all aspects—from usability, accessibility, inclusivity, etc.
  3. Invite other people outside the team for diverse and wider perspectives.

Knowledge Sharing

Once or twice a month for 1–1.5 hrs.

We value sharing what we know and, in turn, learn from others as well.

www.opendoodles.com

Goals:

  1. Learn and relearn.
  2. Improve teaching or coaching.
  3. Shared understanding.

How we do it:

  1. A member chooses a topic of choice that is relevant and valuable, then presents it—could be like a brown bag, case study, webinar, etc.
  2. Allowing the audience to participate is highly encouraged, and there must always be ample time for Q&A or discussion.
  3. The presenter must share his or her own understanding of the topic, not merely echoing popular interpretations and meanings from industry experts, etc.
  4. The presenter must tie the discussion to our current work or context to concretize the ideas—not purely theoretical.

To improve:

  1. Make the discussion fun and interactive.
  2. Rehearse and gather feedback before the presentation.
  3. Post-presentation feedback and lessons learned.

Retrospective

Once a month for 1hr.

What is working well? What is holding us back? What do we need to start/stop doing?

www.opendoodles.com

Goals:

  1. Internalize what happened the previous month.
  2. Awareness of what is good and create actional steps to challenges.
  3. Build team rapport by healthy sharing of ideas, feelings, and emotions—like accepting mistakes and moving forward.

How we do it:

  1. Workshop style. View the slides here: Retro Exercise

To improve:

  1. Make it more intimate, informal, safe, and focused.
  2. Revisit the workshop exercises to optimize the time and quality of outcomes.

1:1s

Once a month for 1hr.

My favorite part! Because 1:1s are a great opportunity to know and be closer to my reports and help them achieve their goals and aspirations, and also know what I need to improve as a leader.

www.opendoodles.com

Goals:

  1. Help achieve goals and aspirations.
  2. 360° feedback—i.e. to help create the best environment to grow.
  3. Be more honest and open to each other.

How we do it:

  1. I take them out for coffee or snacks, away from the “work” setting.
  2. Purely conversational—honest and open. No laptops and other distractions.
  3. Deviate from mainly talking about work, but more of the things outside it— hobbies, initiatives, anything.

To improve:

  1. Frequency. Maybe twice a month.

Thank you for reading! ❤️ We are keen to know what we could add (or even remove) from our ceremonies, so if you have any ideas, feel free to leave a comment below.

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Cedric Lee

Cedric Lee

UXR @ Paymongo (YC S19), UX Mentor @ UX+ University, and prev. UX Team Lead @ Cambridge University Press

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