UX of teamwork

Everyday there are questions to be asked

Back-end and front-end developers, PMs, UX and UI designers — we use and we make technology. This business inevitably experiences ebbs and flows giving us new highs and lows; as a result, we sometimes lose sight of the most important technology that will ever exist — teamwork. And the most important factor in teamwork is communication. To communicate is to speak, to listen, to ask questions and to take the responsibility of giving answers. To share.

I call teamwork technology because calling it culture sounds too obvious and might go unnoticed. But I want to focus on the same ideas — on invisible processes, ways of dealing with tasks, language used to describe stuff, real (not claimed) competencies. Moreover, I'd even call teamwork a software. For it is an abstract process that operates within physical objects of people in an office, in time. And every team member experiences it, by being part of it.

As we dive into teamwork UX, both as users and creators, we are given the possibility to develop a variety of methods for dealing with problems and finding solutions. Those who share the platonic concept of ideas might believe that to find a solution is to find the Truth. To know the Truth is to be right. But the art of being right can discourage discussion and falsification, while teamwork is the art of discussion. To discuss is to never be 100% certain. To find a solution is to ask questions that point towards all aspects of a problem. To stand in a position of being right is to be fixed and rigid, while to know how to ask questions is to be flexible and responsive. If people know that you are 100% right, they wait for orders and don't question them. Orders can be constructive if you work in a waterfall environment where tanks and infantry divisions are pushed towards the enemy; this approach might not work for an agile and driven bunch of IT individuals, however.

Good questions come from all team members. And finally (I believe), sooner or later, from good questions emerge good answers. To combine them you simply need to get up from your comfortable chair and go interact with those around you. And talk. Don't wait for answers to come to you. Be active and curious — move around, ask questions. Let the knowledge of problems spread. Wait, there is even something that the team leader can do! Good leadership fertilizes the culture of falsification. A little boost or moderation from time to time goes a long way; everybody is happy looking for answers and asking new questions. Because one certainty remains with questions — they never end.

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