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Calling for Seasoned Designers! What is a Proper Designer to Developer Handoff?

How do you define design to development handoff? What are some successful ways to collaborate with development?

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    Preston McCauley

    That's a great question. I'm often asked this by students and clients alike. The short answer is it's best if there is no hand-off and the team is working together all the way through the product life cycle, beyond launch, and into daily operation. Now not every group will work like this or is set up to work like in this fashion In this case, you need to first communicate the expectations of designer and developer role across your organization.

    As a Product Manager, UX Manager, Director, CEO, Scrum Master, etc... You need to help your team understand how each role should work. The more open the collaboration, the better!

    Once you have outlined clear goals as to how the teams should function across the project ecosystem. It's important to prototype the functions of the teams (treat the process like a UX research / prototyping / service design problem)

    - Determine if you have an existing process (what's working / what's not).
    - Identify the strengths of the team
    - Identify time constraints and limitations if problems emerge
    - Isolate risks that could cause conflicts
    - Determine if you can take on full development and UX integration in your business
    - Talk to team members to understand their pain points.

    These are just a few things that I look at personally when restructuring a team to work more efficiently.

    I have found through practice that isolating development teams from UX will mean you have to have incredibly detailed documentation. As expected this often leads to a lot of frustration as development doesn't feel they are getting what they need.

    This is why it's crucial to have important discussions about what success looks like for your product, and the day to day operations of the teams. As UX designers we are great at empathy for users, but we need to apply this say empathetic learning and model to our inner working teams to develop those relationships. In the end, it won't feel like a hand-off but a group connected series of effort.

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    Kayden Knauss

    Preston hits the nail on the head here. In my experience, the development and design teams have been fairly separate which does indeed cause for frustration. One company ran waterfall and it lead to the creative team feeling very segregated after the official handoff. We felt as if our contribution was over, when in fact, it's an ongoing effort with both groups. More communication around duties in addition to clear understanding of roles allows for all parties to gain a better view of what is going on where. I think the more we merge the collaboration between designers and developers the more we'll feel in sync. 

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    Robert Whiting

    In regard to;

          What are some successful ways to collaborate with development?

    I've always found the InVision 🔄  Slack integration to be really useful across teams I've worked with. Allowing easy viewing of updates in the app used for team communication day-to-day removes the additional step of people having to manually check directly in InVision for updates and allows great visibility across projects.

    The key tip I give people using this is to ensure that you only include the notification you need to show on a per channel basis. Slack can get very busy and people soon start to block out notifications if they come in too often. It's possible to set various useful Activity Preferences for the InVision 🔄  Slack integration;

    but try to ensure you only include the ones that your team needs to see for a quick overview. I look to ask our various project teams which notifications they would find most useful and only include these on each project channel. If they then do require more info, they can easily use the links from Slack to view the InVision project directly. ツ

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