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The business world is constantly evolving, and only those who manage to keep the pace up with it are able to succeed. One of the most important things to understand about all industries right now is that creating products isn’t the same as it was a decade ago.

It’s all about bridging the gap between the design and development of the product and only if you get everything right, can you expect your products to perform well. However, finding the perfect product design isn’t as easy as it may seem, with delays, redesigns and strategic overhauls being a common thing. No matter what size your business is, you can’t tackle any part of product creation yourself, including product design.

The only way to do it is to find people you can trust and build a product design team. This may sound easy, but building a truly effective product design team comes with its own challenges. If you’re wondering how to do it, make sure you read on.

Figuring out the potential issues 

If you’ve been operating for some time, chances are you already have employees in charge of product creation. This means that what you need to do is find ways to make them more productive or bring in people who can help you come up with the best product design. To actually make it work, the first thing to do is to take a look at the product design in your company at the moment and see what’s not working well.

The better you define issues in your product in your team, the easier it is to fix them. Maybe your team is missing certain skills and bringing in another expert could help. Or maybe they’re skilled in all areas, but the communication within your team is something that needs to be addressed. Design is a discipline that can be defined as ‘pervasive intelligence’, as this bachelor of arts degree in product design teaches, one that invites us to find fresh solutions and meanings and educate people to generate true value for the world around them. 

As soon as you figure out what the problem is, it’s time work solving it. For example, if the issue lies in the communication between product designers and engineers, it means it’s your job to help everyone get on the same page. Experts often advise product designers to frame their thoughts as they work, especially when they start working on a new product. The more information there is to distribute among your team, the easier they’ll find it to cooperate.

Defining expectations

Mystery sounds fun and some people in the business world enjoy it, but when it comes to product design, unpredictability is just a time-waster. If your team has ever got stuck in the process of designing a new product, chances are unpredictability is to blame. We now live in a fast-paced world and your team may not be able to spend days setting expectations for their work, but they still need to do it before they jump into a project. This is especially the case if you have employees from different departments collaborating.

The best way to make the process of designing your product as effective as possible is to make sure everyone knows exactly what their job is and what they can expect from the rest of the team. This is where the DACI method can come in quite handy. The DACI framework has been designed specifically to make teams collaborate more efficiently. The concept includes identifying the Driver, Approver, Contributors, and Informed team members in order to provide a real structure when it comes to decision-making. This should help improve the collaborative rhythm and result in the best product designs.

Proceeding with a purposeful process

There’s no need to say that product creation can be a messy process. This is the case with all tasks that require creativity but creative chaos can only take you that far. If you want your team to design the best products, there needs to be frameworks and infrastructures that help them stay productive and complete the process over and over again.

Workflow gives their work a structure and creates the environment for designing a quality product. However, it seems that collaboration is now a skill in and of itself, and thoughtful design systems are becoming a must.

Only teams with clearly-defined systems can get the job done and not let the creative chaos harm the final product. For instance, infographics by Infostarters are created by employing a tested four-step system for delivering the best quality to their clients: gathering the required data, coming up with ideas, revising them, before eventually providing the client with exactly what they need.

Working with the genuine pros

As mentioned earlier, the complexities of designing a product are too much for one person to tackle. In fact, sometimes, even the entire team might struggle to get the job done. Sometimes, it happens because there are just so many things that have to be dealt with.  Another common problem is that the team doesn’t have the skills it takes to complete the task.

Luckily, working with seasoned pros is always an option and it’s common for businesses to include experts in the product design phase. The benefits of working with the real pros go beyond just adding skill to your team as it also provides you with a new view of your product. They also bring an unbiased and often eye-opening opinions that can do wonders for your next product.

You can even think about collaborating with “taste testers” just to see what non-experts think about the product. They might be able to suggest ideas that can help you turn a problem on its head. Moreover, increasing visibility and transparency also increases the number of people who can come up with ways changes you can make in your approach to make the process easier or less costly.

Eliminating surprises

You may get away with throwing a surprise birthday party but when it comes to product design, there’s no place for surprises. It’s just that there are so many aspects of designing a new product and it takes a lot of human effort to keep all of them together. The surprise factor usually comes up due to ill-timed communication or the lack of it.

The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to come up with a system for sharing work. If everyone in your team does it often enough, everyone will be on the same page each time an important decision is supposed to be made. In other words, it makes your team more agile, which is extremely important in product creation.

Luckily, technology continues to advance and documenting your processes is now easier than ever. This means it’s your job to provide your product design team with all the tools they need for effective collaboration and make sure they’re able to use it to the fullest.

The bottom line

Creating new products is by no means easy and new issues will keep coming up. If you want your team to get the job done right, the only way to succeed is to keep discovering what works for your team and look for new ways to implement it in your product design phase. Start documenting your processes, don’t be afraid to bring in experts, rely on technology as much as you can and there should be nothing stopping your team from delivering quality.

Jennifer Hahn Masterson
Jennifer Hahn Masterson
Jennifer Hahn Masterson is a Senior Content Strategist, holding an MA degree in business communication. She is always doing her best to help her clients find their place in the ever so competitive business arena, insisting on long-term sustainability rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast scheme.
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