But in no ways my last.
This is a breakdown of the process of our last 13 weeks and how the development of this practice app went. I’ll cover different events, the process that we use and how to improve on other that may not have hit the mark. Plus some self-reflection of my own practices and my design intents that were drastically shaped by the busy past 13 weeks.
What went well and what could be better?
Client Communication and Delivery.
As this is a new type of project for us and a very different way of gathering the information to make the deliverable. We were able to structure our workflow and productivity around staggered info drops and meetings. As our implementation was a week to week prioritisation of task and important game element. When there were times we were spinning our wheels we were able to them work on less important elements so by the time we hit the next meeting we would have other things that had been worked on and consider. Despite several setbacks from both the client and on our end, we still were able to change up what we were doing over the project to still deliver the desired product that was something that adhered to the clients needs and expectations. We could have had more if all went smoothly, but is wasn’t like these events derailed us completely and meant that the project could not go head.
The amount of design and iteration over the course of the project.
With a small team of designers working different areas we were all able to focus on our work knowing that other elements of the project were being worked on. When we came together to present what we had worked on each of us could offer a genuine view of feedback as a clean pair of eyes to that content. I found that if you had involvement in the creation process, you would maybe not give a genuine opinion. Our team of designers don’t beat around how they feel about each other’s work, brutal honesty is something we have between each other and helps us stay grounded in our creative practice.
Work to changing work schedules and Ability to work around unforeseen interruption.
As mention above in “Client communication and delivery” the uncertain schedule and changing circumstances, be it client, team members, or severe weather in our case. Natural these events did impact on the flow and outcome of certain weeks during development, however, all members of our whole team were able to fill the needs and still have our project and process not suffer too heavily.
Team members all having a role to play.
Something that we did at the start of our project was assigning team members a role and sticking to this structure. This was something that was good for the team as a whole and to individual team members. Working in a group knowing you have other people relying on you to produce work is a great way to motivate work and members of a team. This means that you are not only letting yourself down but has a larger weighting on the impact of not doing the work need.
Miscommunication between sections in the team.
With this project, we split our designers and programmers so they can work on the different areas individually with regular communication with a member of the design team. This was a good thing for us designer so that we could collect all the information that we wanted from them, with it being related by one person to make sure that all our stories of information are the same. This was a great thing and worked well, however, it was not without its issues. As this was the only information coming from our department if there were any issues or misunderstandings with this information there was no way of double checking if this was the correct info until finding out it isn’t too late. Only once the programmers handed it back to us were we able to find it is wrong.
Being new to a work for a client.
Having to work to a client’s needs and expectations isn’t what is the issue, this and actually a great element of this project. I find that working with a client and the clients themselves both very good and an interesting experience. This meant however that we had to drastically change up our chain of events when working over the course of the project as the element of factoring in meeting with clients, adding in a different structure to test the app, and a different team dynamic as the team was a lot larger and broken into different areas, plus collaboration was something that worked very differently as well. Juggling all of these things normally can have its issues, but then having to take the clients info and relay this to all the others that were involved, add another layer or internal team communication than normal. Having a defined structure of command and flow or communication is the way to make sure that this is something that will not break down during a project.
Working in a small team of designers and all having a role to play was a good approach to our structure of sharing the design workload. Taking on the role of project manager was something to test my capabilities and to fill a role I believe other would rather not take. This had both its pros and con, the team was happy with me taking the role and our relationship between the team was solid. This wasn’t an issue for communication and interaction, but as I haven’t worked in this role intensively there was a lot of learning of how everyone works and what process will work for our need as we went along. Time of uncertainty may have been avoided if I were a bit more prepared for the situation having planned based on researched practices, instead of trying to do this research during the course of the project.
This was a project that I was able to focus on the design practices more than other elements, in what we worked on. This also allowed me to see and understand how my fellow developers work as well, as project manager this was a great help to better understand and know how to work with them to achieve a great working mindset with each other.
Working with so closely with the other designers made communication second nature and not something that we were aware of and just something that we did. At most points during the project at least 2 of our team of four known info about the third. This way others could speak for each other if they were unable to.
Over the course of the project, we worked to small work and iterate time frame, with week or two week time periods before milestones. This is something that in the future i will stay on top of and use for other projects as it is a great way to pick up on work that might not be heading in the right direction and allows for team members to stay busy and not feel like they are in too much of a down period before the next round of work.
On a personal standpoint, this is something that has made me focus more on the high priority tasks and designs so I could structure the project as a whole by thinking of the most important thing that everything relies on first and step down from that with tasks and task priorities.
Areas I have improved on this trimester and practices that I have begun to understand better are the of project management and the overall structure and flow of a project and how to better this in the future. The simple fact of this is repetition, working on more projects is something that will improve the method in which we produce a project whatever size it is. After this trimester I will be working on my Final Project unit but for me, it will be projects. I will be a designer on two of the projects being worked on. In these teams, I will be taking part in the project management and on the design of content and systems. This will allow for me to experience these roles and interactions.
Moving forward from this project I have learned a lot in regards to my process and ways I like to designs and help other during the course of a project, something I want to do more of on future projects. I hope to apply what I have taken away from this project to better my outcome and overall work practices.
Thanks for reading.