[Reference] The Power of Autonomous Teams

This page displays take away information I have saved from articles read focused on productivity and teams. I use this information as a reference point for research in the design industry.

Take Away:

Atlassian’s Design Team Structure

The design organization covers five disciplines:

Information experience:
Crafting the product content, interface copy, technical documentation

User research:
Researching and validating user needs

Product design:
Product improvements and new product development

Creative team:
Creating interactive marketing projects

Design operations:
Putting in place the right tools, processes, and vision to make design teams successful

“You need healthy tension in the triad for solving engineering, business, and customer problems,” says Alastair. “If product performance suffers because of technical debt, it doesn’t matter how polished the features might feel. The triad is ultimately responsible for the whole experience.”


Atlassian’s Agile Design Process

  • Creating context and alignment
  • Collaborating on ideation and creation
  • Measuring the impact
  • Shipping carefully and measuring regularly

1. Who has the problem, and have we validated the problem exists?
2. What is the problem? What data or research supports our assumptions?
3. Why is the problem worth solving? What is the customer and business impact?
4. Where does this problem occur?

Competitor analysis:
Writing a press release for the idea (like Amazon’s work-backwards tactic)
User interviews, contextual inquiry, surveys, and other ethnographic research
Baselining experiences
Project canvas
Experience canvas
Job stories
Persona cards and role cards

Standups (daily):
The triad reviews a “highlight reel” of updates, challenges, and to-do items for their projects.

Team sparring (weekly) – A designer will explain the context and reasoning behind the designs, then ask peers in the triad for feedback. Each person marks up feedback individually, then the group debates the feedback. The designer then explains what feedback will be incorporated in the next version, and what won’t.

Design detention (biweekly) – Designers across all product teams gather together (3 hours to the full day) to tackle challenges individually or in pairs, with sparring sessions happening afterwards. Email, chat, and meetings are all put on hold.

Design blitzes (monthly) – Like a compressed design sprint, the triad collaborates across several hours on a complex challenge.  

Time on task
Ease of use
Success rate/ task completion
Expectation measures
Happy path clicks
BERT (to measure emotional response).