GDD730 – Module 2: Week 11: Adjourning

Define the term ‘Personal Brand’

“A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large” (Definition – What is a Personal Brand? | PersonalBrand.com, 2021).

Regarding thinking about my Personal Brand I have chosen to reflect on this experience concerning regarding my competencies.

The goals that I set myself as a UX Practitioner in the previous module were to learn User Interface Design and basic coding, improve my presentation style through experience, and learn about Critical Thinking and Research. This module has helped me progress towards my goals.

I would have liked to do more on the User Interface Design, however there was a highly skilled Graphic Designer in the team and as we had limited development time it made sense to utilise their skill set in this area. I was heavily involved in the Research, Pitch and Pitch planning. aspects of the task.  This was a strategic shift as Jonson’s S curve of learning illustrates. Those at the early stage of the curve find the work more difficult and what output they manage the little result of great effort. As someone moves along the curve towards Master the tasks become easier (Johnson, 2018).

Figure 1:  The S Curve of learning (Johnson, 2018)

I learnt a great deal from my team mates about creating Brand Guidelines and Design Systems which are fundamental to User Interface and User Experience Design. Klein states that a Design System can support conflict resolution and cooperative design (Klein, 1991). I also learnt that there are Design Systems templates that can be leveraged which I believe will be beneficial in future projects. I intend to invest time upfront to develop the Design System to expedite the design process and ensure consistency. I will continue to pursue my goal to develop UI design skills and basic coding. I have identified a coding course and Interaction design courses on linked in learning, I also intend to take some of the Adobe accredited courses through Falmouth University.

I put myself forward to present our pitch as this is a skill that I am very keen to develop and it is out of my comfort zone. I delivered elements of the pitch using audio recordings. I found that once I started to present there was deviation from the script to make the language more natural. Next time I write a pitch script I will have a bulleted list and refine the script as I practice to reduce rework. I also found that the physical act of standing up helped me to project my voice. I definitely felt less nervous recording then I think I may have done presenting live. I will continue to put myself forward to present through the course and at work.

Through this module I have conducted primary and secondary research. As a team we gathered quantitative and qualitative data. I created a questionnaire and analysed findings. I have learnt that as a researcher you should always think about your motivation and the questions you are trying to address. Bell and Waters state that research is a three step process posing a question, collecting the data to answer the question and presenting the answer (Bell and Waters, 2018). When I next write a questionnaire I will endeavour to make the questions broader and less bias towards my hypnosis.

Adjourning the final stage defined by Tuckman: 

Figure 2: Stages of team development (Tuckman, 2010)

The final stage Adjourning was added to the Tuckman model based on empirical studies that illustrated a need for a termination stage ( Tuckman, and Jensen, 2010).

The course content states that the termination phase is an opportunity to self evaluate. Reflect on success of the project evaluate team performance to understand and re-enforce best practice in future ventures. It presents an opportunity for me as a practitioner to create goals for self improvement.

I have used the framework outlined in the course content to reflect on my experience working in a development team.

Was there clear communication amongst all members? 

I think that like the Truman Team model there was a similar curve in terms of communication. Communication channels, and meetings were agreed at the outset, the team flexed this model for break out meetings that supported the development phase as we found that it was challenging to fit al of the content and discussion in to one meeting a week.

I have found it more challenging to build relationships when only meeting people virtually. I am encountering the same challenges at work as I am home based.  It is something that may be a common problem in a post Covid world and one i will deal with by encouraging more social activities and ice breaking when part of a remote team.

Were there regular brainstorming sessions?

Initially the team spent lots of time brain storming and discussing ideas. As we moved through the project, brainstorming happened more asynchronously in our communication channels, and discussed in our meetings. I think this approach was quite successful as the team were engaged. Michinov and Primois conducted a study in improving productivity and creativity in online groups. They found that brainstorming tasks depended on individual effort rather than cooperation, so if all the team are motivated you will still get the desired results. Michinov and Primois recommended using social comparison to encourage motivation so it is clear who has contributed what (Michinov and Primois, 2005). I think this is an intresting finding as I can see the benefit of showing ownership of ideas and I will use this approach in my next team brain storming session.

How would you rate the commitment of each team member? 

I felt that the team were very committed. Each team member made a significant contribution to our artefacts. As well as contributing to the body of all members contributed there experience to support the group’s learning. There were ebbs and follows as people made contributions at different times during the course of the module. In our retrospective at week 6 we identified a challenge regarding clarity of our goal but took action to resolve. In my future practice I will ensure that I understand the goal and that the team I am working with also understands the goal. Miscommunication is all too easy especially in a remote nature. Taking the time to ensure everyone is working to the same focus is key to success.

Was work submitted frequently, and consistently? 

Work was submitted and reviewed on a semi frequent basis. The team would have benefited from more planning at the outset so there was more clarity about deliverables and deadlines. In the next module I will take a few hours to develop a plan and a weekly deliverable.

Was the working relationship with your peers positive and supportive? 

The team were wonderful everyone worked hard to be supportive and inclusive. The team were all open and happy to share knowldge. It was great to feel like I was delivering something collectively. As the final concept was not the one I voted for at times, I felt disengaged, but my team mates’ passion helped me turn around those feelings and become passionate myself. Having said that I found this module very challenging as I find it hard to let go of my ideas and relinquish control.

As we were placed in a team where there was not much time for meetings and discussions. I have learnt to improve my decision making and to drop non critical issues. I hope to carry this forward in my practice as in the past I had a tendency to over analyse.

The Design System 

With the Brand Guidelines nearly finalised it became apparent in our team meeting that we would benefit from having a design system. Design systems have been created to enable organisations to streamline design work. ” A design system is a complete set of standards intended to manage design at scale using reusable components and patterns” (Fessenden, 2021)

Filsan took the lead on this task as she had developed a Design System before. She took the time to show me and my colleague Matt how to develop the Design System. Figma has a library of design systems that you can access and then adjust. Similarly to the Brand Guidelines now I have a framework that I can reuse in my next project. The Design System will be even more valuable than the Brand Guidelines as it will enable multiple team members to work on the design knowing that all design elements used will be consistent. One of the benefits of working with a team there is shared knowldge and opportunities to learn.

Revisiting the Pitch 

This week I have worked with Filsan on revisiting the research elements of the pitch. This is in order to address some of the feedback we received in the draft pitch. I decided to take the approach of reframing the information rather than conducting a large amount of additional research.

I have reviewed the slides and consider what to keep, what requires rework and what to drop. I think that challenge we may face is having too much content and needed to condense it down. As I will be delivering elements of the pitch I will also need to create a revised script and ensure there is enough time for me to complete the recording.

Sources:

Tuckman, B.W. and Jensen, M.A.C., 2010. Stages of small-group development revisited. Group Facilitation: A Research & Applications Journal10, pp.43-48.

Klein, M., 1991. Supporting conflict resolution in cooperative design systems. IEEE Transactions on systems, man, and cybernetics21(6), pp.1379-1390.

Definition of a Personal Brand Vs. Personal Branding (2020). Available at: https://personalbrand.com/definition/ (Links to an external site.) [accessed 15 Aug 2021]

(BBell, J. and Waters, S., 2018. EBOOK: DOING YOUR RESEARCH PROJECT: A GUIDE FOR FIRST-TIME RESEARCHERS. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Johnson, W., 2018.  Johnson, W., 2018. Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve. Harvard Business Press. [online] Available at: <https://www.thegeniusworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Johnson_A-Team_excerpt.pdf&gt; [Accessed 22 August 2021].

Michinov, N. and Primois, C., 2005. Improving productivity and creativity in online groups through social comparison process: New evidence for asynchronous electronic brainstorming. Computers in human behavior21(1), pp.11-28.

Marina Paych. n.d. 5 stages of team development every leader should know. [online] Available at: <https://medium.com/swlh/team-development-stages-51df5606c0a2&gt; [Accessed 24 August 2021].

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