How to Create an Effective Design Team

A bunch of people working together is not necessarily a team. To be an effective design team, each person has to be willing to collaborate with everyone else. Otherwise, you will have a lot of conflicts, which is not conducive to a smooth design process. Whether you work in software design, graphic design, or electrical engineering, here are some principles that hold weight when creating an effective design team.

Hire the Right People

A successful design team is a collection of uniquely talented individuals who are capable of working together in a harmonious way for the greater good. What you don’t want is a collection of Prima Donnas who all want to be front and center, and who find it impossible to cede control of the project to someone else.

Hire your team members wisely. Make sure that not only do they have the technical skills your team needs but that they are also team players. They also need to be on-board with the company’s goals. Self-serving people whose only goal is to further their own career don’t make good team members.

Avoid toxic individuals like the plague. Always check a person’s reputation with their peers before hiring. If there are any hints of toxic behavior patterns, move on to another candidate.

Assign Responsibilities

Everyone in the team needs to know their role and how it impacts on the rest of the team. Some of the team will be creatives and designers; others may be project managers and experts in a key subject. It is common for there to be some overlap between different areas. For example, an experienced designer may act as a project manager or a junior designer may take on the role of a research assistant for a senior team member.

What is important is that everyone understands their individual role in the team. It is ok for members of the team to wear more than one hat, but make sure they don’t take on too many responsibilities, or it will dilute their contribution to the team’s work.

Provide the Right Tools for the Team to Do Their Work Effectively

Designers need the right tools. You wouldn’t expect a surgeon to operate without a scalpel, so don’t ask your designers to come up with innovative PCB schematics without giving them access to equitable professional PCB software.

Ask your team what tools they need. If they need specific software tools, provide them. If they need a room where they can brainstorm ideas and collaborate on projects, make sure they have one.

Think outside the box and let your team do what they need to do to get the creative juices flowing. If they decide to get out of the office for a day, let them. A change of scenery might remove a stubborn roadblock in the team’s thought processes. People who have fun tend to be more creative.

Meet with your design team regularly. It’s your job to provide clarity to the project and ensure it stays on track. That way, you’ll have a successful design team, not a disastrous project that sank without a trace. 


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