Open Decision Making

eXtension recently went through a redesign of As  project manager, I found it a great experience, not only to work with our engineers, but to observe the design process and how our web developer navigated through the project.

I learned a lot from this project: the importance of being agile and maintaining precise focus on the goals. But one of the most powerful takeaways was a simple lesson that applies to way more than a redesign project. Sometimes called “working out loud, it was to–at all times–record your ideas and decisions in an open platform for all stakeholders to see and provide input.Atlanta recordsin

Recording allows you to consistently capture value from a team’s conversation. For example, at every meeting we had with stakeholders, our agenda and notes were shared (eXtension Google Apps) and deliverables and decisions were accessible to everyone within the organization (Slack).

When you record every important concept and decision, you’ll discover that you will reduce and even eliminate repetitive discussions. During the redesign, if we sensed we already discussed the topic, our records captured past decisions and allowed the team to pause and look back at the decisions we already made. If we already made a decision, we could immediately acknowledge it and move forward.

By the end of the redesign, we had generated a vast collection of shared notes that we could easily access and that we had all seen before. When we assessed the collection afterwards, it illuminated how much work was done and confirmed the decisions the team acted on. Our redesign kick-started the  process that will be the underpinning for all future design work. 

The nice part about ‘working out loud’ is it easily applies to all meetings, not just a redesign project.