Guiding Principles: Collaboration is Key


Andrew Verboncouer
Guiding Principles: Collaboration is Key

Collaboration is key from both the people that seek to hire our product or service to do a job for them, and also the entire team executing on the product.

col·lab·o·ra·tion

noun the action of working with someone to produce or create something.

At Headway, when it comes to collaboration; we value inclusion, transparency, and empowering autonomous progress within our projects. This means we have to nail down communication, process, expectations, and organization so that everyone can make progress on their specific tasks and duties each sprint.

Our workshops are made up of cross-functional teams that include client stakeholders, developers, project managers, designers, and sometimes even special domain guests. The workshops we run focus on creating consensus about which assumptions and hypothesis to prioritize. Prior to defining out our assumptions, we first take a look at our goals, and if it’s a living breathing application already, we compare that to the current metrics and explore how we believe we can succeed through design by creating positive changes in the behavior of our users.

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Collaboration, rather than top-down command, is essential to building products that achieve a successful product-market fit. It allows the team to develop a shared understanding of the problem, the goal, and truly empathize with our customer’s emotions, thoughts, and challenges. Through greater understanding, we’re able to create MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) that mitigate risk by testing our riskiest assumptions first. If we’re going to fail, we fail fast. Every failure is a step forward and another lesson that we move our product forward with.

“It’s not a true validation effort if the team and the stakeholder aren't willing to kill the idea.” - Jono Mallanyk

Both in design (not pixels, but understanding problems and people), and in marketing, we need to make sure that everyone shares the same understanding so that we can move toward the same goal autonomously.

Collaboration is an art and we all have to employ awareness and mindfulness whenever we collaborate. When collaborating and critiquing, we do it without egos or pulling punches. Having the entire project team in the same mindset and understanding of the same goals, we’re able to prioritize and say NO respectfully without getting emotions in the way, creating a more focused and effective end product.

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