What prevents design projects from being completed on time?
Well, a few things. Firstly, barriers often exist between departments, creating a less-than-egalitarian work environment for designers and their coworkers. Other times, designers may feel that they can’t voice their thoughts on what a client has asked for. And amid this lack of collaboration, workflows between designers and their project team members become less efficient over time.
Efficient collaboration on design projects isn’t always easy to achieve, but there are a few ways team members can work better together.
1. Break down barriers with cross-departmental collaboration
How can designers break down artificial barriers that exist between departments and hierarchies? Here are two ways.
Establish an egalitarian work environment
An egalitarian work environment gives designers more opportunities to talk about the processes they follow, in order to get other team members to think in similar ways.
But how do you create such an environment? More cross-departmental collaboration can help, especially if decision-making is distributed among different teams. This can instill a greater level of trust in design teams working on a project. In turn, designers will feel more comfortable with sharing their creative ideas and suggesting ways to make collaboration more efficient.
Utilize the right platforms
Cloud-based design platforms like Adobe XD, Adobe After Effects and Figma let designers remotely share files or wireframes for websites, mobile app designs, social media posts, blogs, microsites and graphics with everyone involved in a project – including clients. Digital office tools such as Miro complement these platforms well since they let designers share and save their creative ideas with others in a single location.
And if you happen to work in (or with) a motion design team, you’ll want to check out the LottieFiles platform. Conventionally, working on motion design as a team can be hard, as there isn’t a shared space to organize your files or give and receive feedback. But LottieFiles aims to solve that – our platform lets you collaborate on Lottie animations, with features for organizing, editing, optimizing and commenting on motion design projects.
Design teams can also begin breaking down barriers with cross-departmental collaboration by approaching managers in other departments more often, as well as using tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets or Skype calls to schedule regular calls with representatives from each participating project team.
2. Build a culture of trust
Designers should feel confident in voicing their ideas to other teams. But design teams can’t perform to their utmost potential, if other team members don’t feel confident enough to share their ideas for a project.
Progress on projects can slow down and even come to a standstill when project members aren't confident enough to voice their concerns or suggestions to designers and other project team members, or wait till the last minute to suggest changes as they were afraid to voice them out earlier on.
But by building a culture of trust, people may feel more encouraged to speak up during project meetings – this reduces the risk of miscommunication when it comes to project timelines, goals, and client needs.
As individuals, here are a couple of things we could do to foster better trust at work:
- Communicate often - We’re only human – we tend to like people more when we’re more familiar with them. Find ways to communicate with your team, on both work and non-work matters, especially if you work remotely.
- Be honest - Honesty is the best policy, even if it could get awkward. Be transparent about your mistakes, and give honest, constructive feedback to team members (while being considerate of their feelings, of course).
- Listen - Give others the space to share their opinions and concerns. Genuinely listen and try to understand where they’re coming from.
- Be empathetic - Consider the feelings, motivations and concerns of others. Not only does this help them feel cared for, but understanding what drives your team members helps you work better together.
3. Create efficient workflows
Inefficient workflows are common culprits behind slow progress on design projects. A simple case of inefficiency can lead to designers building separate assets for individual projects, writers making separate pieces of boilerplate content for individual projects, and managers having no insight into why and when things are being created.
One easy way to improve workflow among design teams is to create libraries of reusable assets. So instead of building assets from scratch every time a new project comes along, you can reuse or repurpose designs from your library.
If you’d rather not build your own library, you can get access to millions of design assets available at LottieFiles or IconScout, which are accessible via your favorite design tools through various integrations.
With your bounty of new reusable assets, designers can start to make improvements to workflow efficiency and quickly agree with other team members on which assets to use for any given project. You’ll want to make sure that your project’s designated manager signs off on your new-and-improved workflow and agrees to follow it for all future projects.
It’s time to collaborate better
Creating a quality product and turning it around within a client’s timeframe can be tough. No matter how talented your design team and other project team members are, there are a few hurdles in your way that can prevent optimal collaboration. But we hope these tips help make collaboration easier – and dare we say it, even enjoyable.
On LottieFiles, you'll find new collaboration features for motion design teams, or teams who work with motion designers:
- Team or company workspace - team workspaces with dedicated admins, team members and permission settings for every project and role.
- Personal workspace - your personal space to house private projects, until you’re ready to share them with others.
- Version history - track changes made by anyone on your team, and restore older versions anytime.
- Animation status - assign status updates such as approved, needs review or in progress so that everyone on team has visibility on a project.
- Commenting - make collaboration easier by giving and receiving feedback on an animation.
We hope these features make it easier to work with your team, save you time and remove inefficiencies in your workflow – so go on and try them out!