One of the most crucial steps in product design and development is the very handoff between the design and development teams. No matter how smoothly we want it to go, there are many obstacles that pop up along the process.
Take a look at what procedures and methods can assist you and your team got through this transition smoothly.
Defining Design Handoff
At one crucial moment, the Product Development Process (PDP) reaches the point where developers need to implement the design. For this to happen, developers and designers need to work well.
But, there is often little time to go back and forth on the details. So, you often see glaring differences between the mockup and the implemented design. A proper design handoff process includes translating the design to a more tech-oriented team. Why is it often hard to find a common language between designers and developers?
Best Tips for a Successful Design to Development Handoff
Let’s dive into the reasons and tips for a successful product design and development process.
Insist on Frequent Feedback and Communication
The first rule of better communication? More communication.
With frequent feedback, we can minimize problems and friction between the teams. As a product owner, you can encourage bringing developers into the process early to promote healthy discussions. This way, you get vital information from the devs, which can eliminate some back and forth with the designer later on. So don’t shy away from bringing the team closer together before the prototype is built.
Use the Same Language
You’re speaking to each other in vain if you cannot understand one another.
Having mediators is not enough for devs and designers to work well – they need to collaborate directly to achieve the best outcome for the customer. Sometimes, it’s better to take the third party out and just let the professionals find a middle ground between their expert jargon and get them to communicate in universally understandable terms.
Lower the Chance of Knowledge Gaps
Adding to the earlier point – minimizing knowledge gaps leads to better results.
By getting the designer and developer in the same room or same Zoom call, they can find out if the designer’s fun idea translates into complicated coding, or if the developer’s solution turns out to be a user-unfriendly design.
So, the sooner you, a product owner, get the two sides talking, the better.
Use Smart Ways to Include Developers Early On
We mentioned that it’s good to have the developers join the project even before the prototype is built. Here are several ways to do this:
- Include them on the calls with clients.
- Ask them how design elements would translate to a website or web app.
- Run some of the brainstormed design ideas past the devs to know if it makes sense to go on with the idea or halt it.
Instill Practical Communication Channels
Why do some team members get left out of the loop? The answer is sometimes simpler than you think – they aren’t communicating on the right channels.
As the pandemic surged, we collectively moved to a remote type of working environment. That brought numerous challenges for product managers and project managers. We all had to adapt to a more virtual way of communicating, which includes:
- Having dedicated channels on messaging apps, like Slack.
- Proposing communication guidelines (reading emails being obligated for every worker at least once a day, for instance), using “@” when sending messages on main channels found on Slack and similar apps.
- Using cloud storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or file sharing web apps like WeTransfer.
- Setting up daily meetings and sprints that involve everyone important for the project.
Provide the Necessary Assets to the Devs
Your dev team should get the full scope of the design files in all the formats they need. The responsibility of the designer is to gather all this data and files for their colleagues.
First, make sure that you’ve all agreed on how the files will be handled. Is it through Dropbox, Figma, Github, or something else? Get this information straight to avoid miscommunication and lost time. In this stage of the project, the scope of the tasks can get overwhelming, so streamlining the project can be done by using product design and development professionals.
At this point in the project, new issues can arise. For instance, the designer may find out that they have to optimize the design for a new kind of page or screen.
Whatever the problem is, you can mitigate some of these problems by screenshotting the design or prototype and adding notes. Not only are there many free extensions for browsers that let you screenshot your laptop screen, but the majority of the tools used in product design and development have some sort of commenting feature.
With screenshots and notes, things become more understandable to teams. It’s much better to communicate by showing a visual example than just via an audio Zoom meeting.
Set Up a Handoff Meeting
A handoff meeting is a crucial step in developing your product. Everyone is gathered around something that is set to become an MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
In this meeting, devs and designers can pose their questions, address burning issues, and also motivate one another.
As a product owner or project manager, you can mediate this meeting and help set precise timelines, and expectations, and delegate tasks to the developer team.
Finish Up and Build a Prototype
Help your company’s idea come to life via a prototype!
Interactive prototypes are great because they help the team comprehend what they are working on. It can also get everyone involved and additionally motivated because they can see something abstract evolve into something real (albeit digital when it comes to digital products).
The prototype can then be used for user feedback and to work out some intricacies. Are all the features added necessary? Did users satisfy their needs when using the prototype? What was the user experience like?
Jump through all of these hoops to get to the prototype to the result with your team finishing up on good terms!
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