Following rules is not often seen as something positive in design. “Break the rules” and “Be different” are more common to be heard. And while it’s true that design should be different and break the rules to attract attention, it’s advisable that you establish a few rules if you want to get along with you co-workers.
We had in the last weeks a few meetings in our department where we tried to polish our teamwork and we established these 5 simple rules:
- Language - No tongue is discriminated and everyone can express thoughts, opinions and present in their mother tongue as long as all involved understand everything. If someone has problems to follow, everyone helps to avoid misunderstandings.
- Feedback - We follow the feedback-rules for positive and negative feedback.
- Information - We inform ALL members of the project team about changes, improvements, new ideas, conclusion and everything else concerning the project
- Competence - We respect the fields of competence of the co-workers and believe that they are willing to do their best for the project. It is though allowed to discuss about the solutions and bring new input.
- Reaction - We react promptly upon requests (from inside the department or from outside) by confirming that we have received it. We also give a statement on how we are going to proceed.
The first rule about the language is quite important for multi-lingual environments, in my case German/Italian. Sometimes firms tend to prefer one language over another, in most cases the smallest common ground, and cripple the interaction. You probably can express yourself best in your mother tongue and you may be even capable of transmitting your ideas in a simple way that foreign-language speaker can understand it. On the other hand if you are forced to use another language to express yourself you maybe miss the point without noticing it and misunderstandings are quite often.
Another good thing about allowing more than one language is that you can avoid the “YOU have to speak my language in order for me to understand you”. Everyone knows that he has to understand the other languages of the department – the more the better.