;

Management.

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Welcome to the eighth article of this series that focuses on designers in the team of one. After opening up the networking, the natural progression would be to aim to manage that network correctly and grow it into a comprehensive user base. This article aims to enable every enterprise or individual to thrive in their own environment. At the forefront of any technology stay the human. 

Before Managing Others

The wealth of resources were written about management or self-management. Before managing others and demanding their time or attention, become the master of your own calendar/schedule. I’m not saying this lightly; mastering your own time makes you a better person overall and helps you to thrive in a time of change. Once you master yourself, you can then apply it to others.

Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge.

Robert Greeny

Time Management

From a personal routine perspective, you need to eat and sleep; I do not have to tell you that. Yet many people overwork themselves for the prosperity of others. Sleeping at the same time and waking up at the same time gives you a healthy routine to start a day. Once these basics are ironed, we start focusing on a growth path. How often do you read, practice a skill and share your learning curve? Do you read with an intention or just to kill the time? 

Everything with intention will have a great impact on your journey. After all, time is the most valuable thing in our lives. Let’s not waste it; let's become its master of it. Especially for a designer in a team of one, this is an important trade to have. 

Quality Management

Have you ever read a book but paid attention to a passing car or listened to a podcast and skipped through the uninteresting part? Have you cut corners here and there?
Everybody does, but you should not do it on your homework because this will be perceived as a negligence of your knowledge, experience or input to your course. Robin Sharma describes that well in his book “The Leader Who Had No Title”. Grab yourself a digital copy, and let a better you stand out for a greater tomorrow. Reflecting your qualities, opinions and vision through your actions generates quality outputs that lead to more remarkable outcomes.

Stakeholder Management

The quality inevitably addresses stakeholder management. Even if you are one designer in pyjamas, you have a boss. Someone you supply your work, a partner agency or just a client. You’ll be surprised how much the quality of your work plays a role in stakeholder management.
Managing clients, let alone stakeholders becomes easier once you are on their radar. To be on their radar, you need a schedule. Weekly review, daily standups, RAG reports, whatever cuts it. That way, they know what to expect and when. It also gives you a time box to deliver what you promised and reach your desired impact. If, for whatever reason, there is a roadblock, it is easier to communicate it with the schedule/time in mind. That way, you save everyone time. And being on time reduces the first nuance or risk.

Risk Management

Why managing risk is important at all?
We live in a society that delivers value to others in time and space. If the value, service or product is not delivered, it creates a risk that needs to be mitigated. Whether you are serving coffee in Starbucks, driving an Uber or creating the user experience for your client, you are managing risk. Understanding what risk category you are in and what impact it makes if it breaks is always good too.
Let’s say you are delivering the coffee app. For whatever reason, you are a week late with your delivery, which reflects on the development time. This will negatively impact the delivery and increase the cost on both ends. Being late with the delivery, the Coffe App loses its advantage before Christmas to gain more customers, which results in lower adoption upon which the startup/the client based their investment. In summary, one single designer can change the course of business in one day. To prevent that “mitigate the risk”, you need to be part of any discussion that leads to successful delivery.   

Managing Others

A great sense of power comes from managing others. Yet, only some understand that managing others comes with greater responsibility for others than for oneself. All the above leads to the point of managing transparency. 

A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity. Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organisation, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication – the currency of modern leadership is transparency.

Managing Up

Being part of the team allows you to connect with like-minded people – your tribe. If you are in a bigger organisation, you’ll need to consider how to connect above, too, which is eventually the earliest way to success. Harvard Business Review has released several books on the topic, including “HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across.” The book combines several models and scenarios of what to do and how to communicate the need to connect with the top management without losing the context or face. Managing up is and essentially the technique that keeps you in the game with the bosses and relevant to the team. This comes with the Design team of One, Ten and One Hundred.   

Managing Down

You have grown and gained the responsibilities in the company. You either manage the function, delivery or let alone the team. Managing down is one of the most exciting parts of your venture, and so many people, mainly designers, misunderstand it.
Principals and Lead designers usually manage the delivery of products or services. Managing designers in not making design more precise is making the design to fit business objectives. And all the above comes with it. To be good at managing down, you inevitably create your own leadership legacy, leading your colleagues to a particular point in their careers. Plan, discuss, tailor, and measure your reach's impact. Even as a designer on a team of one, you can change the corporation if you manage it right.  

Manage yourself 

All the above comes from being great at only one thing – managing yourself. Having a vision of your own direction and submitting to it. Having clarity of ambition and design philosophy allows you to handle all sorts of difficult situations and scenarios that do not derail you from your path. Which supports the cause of the company you are working with. 

A clash of beliefs is inevitable. 

Yet, in Product Design Delivery, transparency could be the driving force to resolve all unnecessary tensions. One day, the design effort will impact the team and real customers' responses, followed by the integrated strategy and storytelling supported by visual narratives. 

That leads to zero time wasted, and everything we/you produce impacts the end customer. The engineering team has zero to no refactoring, and the week sprint is celebrated by actual releasable increment. 

Write Your Own Story
Write Your Own Story

Please join me for the series Design at Scale Academy for more stories that build new you.

Tagged: agile · coaching · collaboration · cx · dastm · design · designatscale · designer2designer · framework · madebyhuman · management · mentoring · Method · organisations · process · scale · sme · startup · ux · ways_of_working
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