When I took on a new role, it was in addition to running a product design team. In order to do both jobs well, I decided to take a good look at what I was currently doing on my product design team. Turns out, there were things that had crept into my routine that were not truly necessary.
While being in a managerial role comes with some admin and process-related tasks, I’ve seen it overtake people’s job to the point where they start think and then act as if its their primary job. And this can leak through to the team. Process becomes the proxy for productivity.
I decided I needed to be pretty ruthless with how I approached my days in order to carve out the space to do my new job really well. So, if it didn’t directly effect the quality of my designer’s output, I cut it out of my job description. Some things I delegated the things that still needed to get done to the Design Directors below me, and others I stopped doing all together.
I sort of came to the realization that: at the end of the day, the final output is all our customers sees; they aren’t there for the planning, the research, the iterations; they only see and use what we ship. While everything leading up to it is imperative and directly effects the final output, I didn’t want the process of it to become my main focus. I hired and built an awesome team, so I trust my design directors and designers (along with their project teams) to do that! I decided to focus in on the design output and giving feedback on each design iteration until it was something I knew we would be proud to ship to our customers.
I did trimming down and refocusing exercise because of a major change and role shift, but I think I would benefit from doing this more regularly, even without such a big event. Things creep in and can really add up over time if you don’t take the time to look and reassess.