How I am managing six design projects at the same time

How to be an effective shared UX resource

muditha batagoda

I know that you are thinking. Is this a possible thing? The answer that I have to give you is “Yes”. I have been working as a shared resource for some time and going through things which gave me an upper hand on understanding different domains, the different set of user groups and different personalities. Having to work on six different projects at the same time quite a “crazy” idea for many of you but I was and am in a situation where “I do not have a choice”. It is a difficult scenario indeed. Being a UX designer is not just to create beautiful designs but to be the calmest resource in the team with all the other qualities. The biggest concern in handling multiple projects are time to work on an individual project and the meeting the deadlines. There are few ways we can get this correct.

  1. Create your own process — The UX process is a quite lengthy process where you have to do multiple things to achieve an understandable and discoverable product. We try to push the whole process into the project expecting better results. The complete UX process takes a longer time to complete. We can select parts of the process orderly and create your own process according to the domain which we are going to give the solution to. The process can be defined according to the problem domain if the project is a startup project or not. If the project is not a startup project there is no point of re-doing the research and creating personas for the project. The best thing is to start from the journey map would help the designers to understand what went wrong in the application. For a startup, it is better to start from a lean canvas to point out the success or the fail of the product by going to the lean canvas.
  2. Set milestones to design delivery — Setting milestones on delivery is a key to understanding when to do the delivery of the designs. The client and you should be on the same page on delivery and then you can finalize when to give the designs when requested.
  3. Communicate with the client —The client is the portal to getting through to the problem domain. A good UX designer should always communicate with the client when necessary and have a good bond with him or her. The client might not know all the areas that have to be addressed by the problem domain. You should be able to guide the client in understanding the business potentials. They might not listen to you if you stay distanced from the people who are creating and the solution for the solution would be far off from what is requested or initially discussed.
  4. Communicate with the team —A designer should know and talk to every member of the team. A good relationship with the team means everyone is ready to help you in need. Communicate effectively means keeping all the requirements flowing and making sure that they are being developed. When you have several projects running and having a hell of a time working in all of them it’s quite difficult to keep track into 100% of what is happening. You have to rely on the team to help you and tell you how’re things going on what has changed.
  5. Be flexible — Working with multiple teams means that you have to face loads of different personalities and people. You will get more criticism and fewer appraisals even if you deliver the best as possible. Many members from different teams may come and talk to you telling “this does not look nice”, “This looks ugly”, “I think we should change this”. As a UX designer, you should listen to everyone. Many people who come to you finding a fault in the application design has years of experience in the business domain. You have to listen to them. If you act like you don’t care about what they have to say you will be taken as a person who does not listen to what others have to say. When you are flexible everyone would love to approach you and talk to you. It will reduce the gap between title issues in an organization because juniors typically don’t wish to approach seniors when come to giving new ideas. Being flexible helps the UX designer to be open to new ideas and discuss them with team members.
  6. Let them know how much of work you are doing — The idea of this is not to brag about your work but to inform the management of different projects that you are working on. Informing the managers of the projects allows you to create a work allocation properly. You can create your own schedule and inform the project management how you are working on each and every project. It will give you a breathing space for you to manage your work. Keep all schedules informed via mail so everyone is informed at the same time.
  7. Gain knowledge in emotional intelligence —This is the key factor to become a master UX designer. Working on multiple projects would put you under tremendous stress and it would fuel anger and lash out at a team member. Those are just a few of the negative impact of working under stress. Having knowledge in emotional intelligence will help you to understand the emotions of yourself and others and act empathetically. It will help you to keep the composure at hard times. The actual truth is people does not know what you are going through while working and everyone needs “their” work done. Keeping calm and confident will help you to become a better person in and out of job.
  8. Gain knowledge in the business — Understanding the business is a critical thing when come to design. It will help the UX designer to keep delivering designs with less rework. The client will get more close to you when he or she understands that this person is having an interest in the project and they will be open to more ideas too.

I am pretty sure coping with six projects is not a fun idea for anyone including me. The idea of handling multiple projects is a nightmare to any UX designer. It is really hard to switch context while working in the day. I have come up with the practices that I have mentioned over a small amount of time because I was facing a difficult challenge uphill. Then again these are the ways for me to manage multiple projects. I think you can use these techniques even if you are handling a single project.

Author: muditha batagoda

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