CEO at Econsultancy
24 November 2000 15:20pm
Someone pointed me in the direction of the interactionarchitect.com site and in particular the article there on "The battle of the disciplines in designing interactive systems". There are many articles there on usability issues which are very good and thought provoking.
This particular article I think should be of particular interest to web project managers and producers. The articles sets out saying:
"...interactive system design companies have started to sell the advantages of multidisciplinary development teams. They use metaphors suggesting a harmonious group of people with different backgrounds working together towards the common goal of making a great product.
The reality is that these multidisciplinary teams invest a lot of their time and energy in a non-productive battle for power and influence in project decisions, in disagreeing about procedures and methods, in misunderstanding each other's contribution, in working besides or even against each other, etc."
Ring any bells? I would imagine so. And does it not often feel like it is you, the project manager or producer, who ultimately has to sort this out because otherwise nothing will ever happen? That can be very emotionally draining.
Fortunately the article does go on to suggest some ways to overcome the challenges which I would certainly agree with:
"The starting point to overcome the battle of the disciplines could be a Zen-like understanding that no discipline on its own can win the battle without losing the design war.
To create successful interactive systems we need creative design AND intelligent programming AND optimal usability AND sound business justification AND proper project management etc. One competence dominating the development process compromises reaching that goal. Even project managers can no longer fully control the process of developing interactive systems. They face a difficult transition from a controling and directive role to a coaching, facilitating and moderating role.
Here are some ideas that can help to create successful multidisciplinary teams:
- Create a multidisciplinary team at the definition stage of projects
- Create project teams that allow different disciplines to work together on a daily basis
- Focus on a common overall goal that is made explicit to the team
- Organize the development process around shared work products and milestones, e.g. use cases, object models, content architectures, target group definitions, domain models
- Select communicative team players with a multidisciplinary frame of mind, not blind experts "
The full article can be found at http://www.interactionarchitect.com/testimonies/testimony20000425shd.htm
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