Phil Williams
Senior UX Designer
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14th Mar 2017

5 min

After almost 2 years of working at PRWD, I’ve learnt so much.

 

As Senior UX Designer, it’s my responsibility to oversee the work that comes into the design and development team, as well as manage our more complex clients and create design solutions that help with user experience and conversion rate.

 

A week in the PRWD office feels like a month, and a month feels like a year! (in a good way). The rate at which the team work and how agile we are, takes my breath away. We are constantly learning and refining our processes.

 

The whole team are experts in their field and we have the shared goal of delivering the best for our clients and their users.

 

As the business has grown quickly over the last 2 years (I was employee number 8 when I joined, now we are 16 strong) and we’ve had to adapt quickly. Not only have we learnt how to manage our internal processes, but also how to accept new people into the fold.

 

It’s always been a goal of mine to work with a dedicated design and development team, like the one we have at PRWD. Open, Experimental, Expert.

 

Here are my biggest learnings from the past two years:

 

Letting go

 

 

I am a bit of a control freak. There, I said it. When I joined PRWD I owned the entire design and development process. It was just me. I dedicated all my time to pixel perfect designs and writing code using my own mark up standards.

 

Then Lisa joined, our dedicated Front End Developer.

 

Not only did I have to relinquish control of the code, but also mentor Lisa in building A/B tests and understanding the testing tools we use. Much like when you get the top of a roller coaster, some people grip on tight and think they can control the situation. However, I decided to let go. I pointed Lisa in the right direction and watched as she picked up our processes within just a few days. I was blown away with the skills Lisa possessed, and to top it off we got along as friends too!

 

It made me realise that we all truly work with purpose. We all want to do the best work we can. Not only for ourselves but for PRWD and our clients.

 

I trusted Lisa to do what she believed was right for herself, right for the client and right for the business.  18 months on, Lisa has built a fantastic development process, one that I could never have curated or designed.

 

Also, what a waste of my time, to micro-manage a process. Can you imagine if I had told Lisa to do exactly what I wanted when I wanted? I wouldn’t have had any time do to my own work, or develop my own area in the business.

 

Managing people is hard

 

Just like spinning plates, the more people you manage, the more time you have to spend keeping them going. So how do you keep these plates from falling? Simple… you don’t.

 

Don’t manage. Lead.  

 

People are self-motivated: they get up in the morning, go to the gym, get on a tram, go to work. Not because someone has told them to, but because they want to. They chose to work at PRWD, they chose this career, so let them continue to make their own choices.

 

But people can make bad choices, I hear you say. As a leader, you should not tell people what to do, but be the pioneer that spearheads the direction in which motivates people to follow you.

 

There is no greater motivator than ownership.

 

Relinquish control over to someone else. Let the roller coaster run, and enjoy the ride. There will be ups and downs, but it wouldn’t be very interesting if it was a flat roller coaster, would it?

 

These are not new ideas. Some businesses operate like this already. My inspiration came from Spotify, Patagonia and Valve.

 

If you’d like to learn more about this way of working take a look at the videos and link below:

 

Spotify’s engineering culture

 

TEDX talk  – The emerging work world in the participation age

Game developer Valve’s unusual company structure featured in the BBC

 

Leading the design and development team has its challenges, but my day to day job hasn’t changed that much. I’m designing experiences not only for my clients but for the people around me. I come up with crazy ideas and inspire my team to do the same. They trust me, that I have their best intentions at heart and I trust them to deliver what they promise.

After all, we are all on the same roller-coaster ride together, so let’s enjoy the ride!