Digital Design is made outside the designer bubble

Apr 26, 2018, 8:48 AM

Have you ever wondered how an agile design team works? We’ll take a peek behind the scenes of Nitor’s team of designers. At the same time, we debunk some myths: the best designers are not lone wolves but excellent team players, who produce their best work in multidisciplinary teams in close collaboration.

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At Nitor, when we interview a designer candidate whose background is not in consulting, one of the main pain points usually involves working at client’s premises.

“Wait, don’t you feel like an outsider there?” or “Don’t you miss feedback from your designer colleagues?”

Working at the client’s premises with a team of developers was something I had to get used to as well. Agile ways of working weren’t in practice in the agency world I came from. For me, Lean Design meant letting go the artistic hoopla in favor of actually releasing more and better designs.

Multidisciplinary teams improve your work

Sometimes working in a multidisciplinary team means that there are no other designers nearby. The inherent differences between engineers and designers are a hot topic but it can also be a blessing in disguise. Having engineers and other solution driven people around encourages you to prototype frequently.

The assumption that everyone thinks like you do is very problematic. User-centered design benefits from a multidisciplinary team. Designers can spread design thinking to development teams while developers can benefit from direct communication and clearer problem definitions.

You are more agile

Working together with the Product Owner and developers diminish waste when pixel perfect layouts and elaborate documentation becomes irrelevant. Instead of polishing an idea only to have it scrapped during the presentation, you’ll be able to adjust your design accordingly when communicating daily.

You have great access to work with customers

Close collaboration with the Product Owner gives valuable knowledge about the client and their customers. Usually, being at the client’s premises enables also easier access to work with their customers. Frequent feedback keeps the design on track and can even elevate it to match needs that were unperceived in the beginning of the project. Perhaps obviously, a successful presence will most likely produce many more collaborations with your client in the future.

Your time with other designers is more focused

Outside client work Nitor’s designers get together bi-weekly and attend conferences and trainings together. Every Nitorian can spend 10% of their work time on personal projects which is a great way of collaborating with other workmates.

Our Design team has to have enough depth to provide support in a variety of design domains. At the moment, we are ten people with a broad range of skill sets, from interaction and visual design to service design and design systems. If you’re interested in strengthening our team, send us your portfolio here.

AUTHOR

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Annina Kivikari is a Designer with skills ranging from digital design and moving image to marketing. She is also part of Nitor's award-winning Kulttuuritoimitus.