Embracing Constraints

Prior to our current pandemic, I was leaning towards designing my next project to be optimized for a distributed rather than colocated team.  If there's a silver lining in everything that's happening, it's been the deluge of people openly sharing their experiences and best practices with being part of a remote team.

One aspect of that has been the management side–how do you design the systems, processes, rituals, and infrastructure to ensure a productive and high quality experience for the people whom you manage.

Another is the question of how you collaborate.  For that, I've been really impressed with how distributed Design teams operate.  Largely, what I've found is that the best processes and rituals have been ones that let go of the old paradigm.  They don't attempt to recreate an old experience, they enable a brand new one.  You start from scratch, embrace your constraints, and design and build processes from there.

A fundamental constraint is embracing what you can do by working asynchronously, and being really deliberate about when you do need synchronous interaction.