How to get people on the same page about your work

I find myself working with a lot of people on a project: other developers, other designers, content strategists, project managers, and stakeholders.

I can keep people in the loop through meetings and through status updates on the work that I'm doing, but what I've found useful—especially when working with a remote team—is being able to divide my work into phases and communicating those phases to my coworkers.

So this is not a new idea, but setting up a process and having people agree to it has been a game changer for me. I just want to mention that this is a trick that I learned from my coworkers Mike and Abe.

So right now I have the following process for my design and dev work:

Designing Web Dev
Scope out the problem Scope out the problem
Gather all data Gather tools needed
Make sketches Implement on smaller widths
Create content Make web page responsive
Wireframes Refactor and add comments
High-fidelity designs Test for accessibility
Add unit / integration tests

So the process that you list out will change between different projects because it will depend on your working style and the priorities of the company. It's also important to make sure that this is something that's visible to your coworkers because that's when the magic happens.

By having this list available to other people, you'll find that it's easier for them to figure out what you're working on at a glance.

A to-do list showing three out of four phases being checked off

Aside from having an easy way to get coworkers on the same page, I've found other benefits as well:

  • I feel like I'm making progress because each phase is a milestone that I've accomplished.
  • I feel less overwhelemed about the task because I've divided the work and I can work on it one by one.
  • It sets expectations to the rest of the team that these are the specific things that I'm working on.
  • It gives me some accountability. I'm not tempted to skip any step in the process.

How you can start using this

Different teams work in different ways. I happen to work remotely and the company that I work for uses a tool called Asana. If your to-do list supports sections, you can separate out the different processes using that.

An example to do list with the phases as headers

If you'd rather work on a timeline, that works too! It might be an even better visualization because a lot of times you'll find that work isn't linear. There will be overlaps and sometimes you'll find yourself going back to a previous phase. I learned that that's definitely the case with dev and design.

An example of a project with different phases on a time scale

If you work at an office, maybe having things on Post-It notes would work better! Figure out what works for you and your team and go with that.

A drawing of post it notes

I hope you can use this to help you with your work. If not, that's totally fine—we all work in different ways. If you do end up using it or if you have ideas on how to make it better, feel free to hit me up!

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