Key Advantages of Cross-Team Collaboration for Design Agencies
If you’re on-boarding design agencies for a big web project – you’re going to want to map out your cross-team collaboration to streamline this process.
Cross-team collaboration is an approach many web design agencies are embracing to supercharge their design workflows. Essentially, it’s when a group of people with different roles and areas of expertise work together towards a common goal.
At your company, is there a toxic disconnect between sales reps, account managers, designers, coders and clients?
Through cross-team collaboration, design agencies are able to cultivate more innovative solutions, improve their design processes, encourage a cohesive working culture and turn around projects more efficiently.
Every business generating more than $1 Million in revenue needs to make integrating in-house experts and design agency experts a TOP priority.
With this in mind, in this article, we’ll explore some of the ways web design agencies can benefit from cross-team collaboration. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a better understanding of why maximizing cross-team collaboration is worth your while.
1. It Forms High-Performing Design Thinking Teams
When you’re aiming for streamlined collaborations between developers, writers, designers, marketers, and other project stakeholders, you have to start off by creating a team charter. The team charter should outline the goals of the project and what role each member has. Ideally, design thinking teams will always be cross-functional, consisting of members with a mix of specializations.
For instance, if you were to follow the waterfall design methodology, you might consider collaborating with both developers and clients on the design thinking phase and arrive at a solid prototype from the get-go.
Tools like InVision provide a cross-team collaboration platform to web design professionals that they can use to keep their design thinking teams and project workflows organized. In addition to this, it comes with a built-in version control system that allows you to manage your projects better. What this means is that you can ensure all team members are able to contribute to the project without getting in each other’s way.
Doing so allows the entire design thinking team to see in real-time how much progress has been made and where changes are necessary. What’s more, you’re able to keep track of every file, comment, and input a team member leaves.
According to a survey by Clear Company, 97% of employees and executives believe that lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project.
2. It Builds a Strong Foundation for Scalable Design
Aside from automating your workflow, it’s important that you’re using tools that allow your team to scale designs without compromising on quality. If you’re using a website building platform to design websites, you might consider picking one that allows you to save layouts and templates in a built-in library.
Duda is a website builder for web design agencies that facilitates cross-team collaboration and enables designers to make their processes more scalable. The tool leverages shared libraries that team members can use to create, save, and share different (individual) components of websites. Even more, users are able to build templates and layouts that they can reuse in future projects.
Finally, Duda allows users to build their own widgets and integrate third-party tools into their website designs. The best part is that you have to put everything together once, and you can reuse it for other projects later on – without having to code anything.
By collaborating with developers, you can add third-party integrations into your websites and save them to a central library. This way, you’re able to establish a strong foundation for your designs and scale them later on for future projects.
3. It Elicits More Diverse Design Ideas
One of the biggest problems designers run into is working with a single idea throughout the design process.
Typically, it goes something like this:
The web design professional works with client-side business stakeholders to determine project requirements and comes up with an idea. That one idea is developed iteratively at various stages of the design process. And once the website is ready, a significant amount of effort is spend on testing and refining it around that initial idea.
However, design agencies that work in cross-functional teams are able to come up with several different ideas early on in the design process. Instead of spending extra effort in making one idea work, they converge the best aspects of multiple ideas into a single design.
4. It Creates Better Design Systems
Collaborating on projects with team members puts you in a position to get an overall picture of the design workflow. Once you know which tasks have room for improvement, you can put a workflow management system in place that helps your team manage their work better and enhances performance.
For instance, you might want to build pattern libraries, style guides, and design systems that designers and developers can use to quickly put together prototypes and communicate ideas to clients. You can build your own custom component libraries and style guides using tools like Fractal.
Recently, web design professionals have been looking to implement DesignOps systems in order to bring design thinking to an operational level. The best part about these new systems is that they’re essentially tools that facilitate cross-team collaboration within a web design agency and help team leaders establish a framework for working efficiently and at pace.
According to Salesforce, SMB teams spend 53% of their workdays on manual processes.
By building rigorous design systems (like pattern libraries and DesignOps), you’re able to take the friction out of cross-team collaboration. This way, even if your client asks you to add new features to the website (or make large-scale modifications) at the eleventh hour, both the designers and developers on the team will be able to cater to their request.
5. It Minimizes Potential Blind Spots
Regardless of whether you’re an interaction designer, a UX designer, or a UI designer, chances are you’re detail-oriented. And while that’s certainly a sought-after quality in the web design industry, you have the tendency to focus on details and miss the bigger picture.
Let’s look at an example. A UI designer works on a prototype, iteratively refining it until it delivers a great experience to every scenario the designer can think of. When he presents the prototype to the project stakeholders, the project manager points out a rookie mistake.
Collaborating on design ideas with a team that possesses a diverse set of skills can help prevent blunders like these. Through cross-team collaboration, design teams are able to remove potential blind spots. This decreases the overall time spent on completing, testing, and refining a web design project.
Through cross-team collaboration, you’re able to increase performance while maintaining strong relationships and clear communication with your entire team.
Let’s quickly recap the key benefits of cross-team collaboration for web design professionals:
- Let’s you build a high-performing design thinking team.
- Enables you to build a strong foundation for scalable design.
- Elicits idea generation and makes the design process smooth and straightforward.
- Encourages you to build rigorous design systems.
- Sharing design ideas with cross-functional teams minimizes blind spots and reduces the workload.
What are some of the ways your team collaborates on design projects? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know by commenting below.