Citrix

Citrix's Workflow Cloud CX Team

What can others learn from the successes and failures of how your team was assembled and how it operates?: 

Our success as a design team is the result of our director David Holt’s careful curation. In growing this team, he’s made sure that we all share common values including:

  • a strong work ethic and sense of integrity for our work,
  • a humbleness that allows us to be open and willing to provide and receive feedback, and
  • a passion for design and creating great experiences for our customers.

While it can be easy to come across a highly-talented designer with a desirable portfolio, it’s not always guaranteed that they will be a natural fit on any team. To guarantee this, Holt ensures the team gets adequate time with potential hires by sitting in on show-and-tell sessions, participating in informal team member shadowing, or attending team lunches or dinners. Even though Holt is the director, he values and trusts the team’s opinions and will only feel comfortable hiring someone if we all feel comfortable bringing the potential hire onboard. This sense of trust and closeness our team shares is one of the things that makes us truly unique. With this trust established, we feel valued and subsequently enjoy coming into work and love the work we do!

What evidence supports your belief that your team is exceptionally effective?: 

We believe our team is exceptionally effective because we’ve accomplished some pretty big feats within our company in our short three-year history.

Our biggest feat is shifting the perception of design within our company. Before, design was seen as a bottleneck – that we were another level that people had to pass their work through, wait for designs to be done, user interactions to be figured out, and so on – adding more complexity to the schedule and time to the project. Since then we’ve worked hard to provide valuable solutions and great design work in a timely manner, which has shifted everyone’s perceptions. Now, other teams such as product management and engineering see our team as solution providers and understand the value of UX. People now actively seek out our opinions on ideas or ask us for assistance in brainstorming solutions or sketching out ideas for innovations.

Additionally, a recent redesign of our ShareFile iPhone app won the 2014 Best in Biz App of the Year award. The app included an innovation of swiping to select, which we officially patented.

What aspects of how your team is organized and/or how it operates have most influenced its success?: 

Our success as a team starts with our well-rounded skill set. Our skill sets are complementary to each other, which help ensure that we have the resources to figure out solutions for any type of problem – from micro-interactions to large-scale product strategy.

We’ve found success by collaborating on efforts as early and often as possible to work through problems and come up with solid solutions. We also include other cross-functional team members in brainstorming and collaboration sessions. This ensures that we all have the same understanding and we are creating a solution that is feasible for everyone involved.

There is also a practical aspect to our success, where, when appropriate, we create realistic prototypes and conduct usability testing on them. Functioning prototypes help us figure out any interaction details that might not have been apparent during sketching or wireframing. Testing these prototypes helps clarify our next steps – if we need to continue in the same direction or switch gears. Having the designers sit in on testing sessions helps us understand the issues with more insight, so we can create better solutions.

How does your team adapt to respond to changing requirements, projects, and stakeholders?: 

We manage our interactions with stakeholders and other cross-functional team members as early and as often as possible. For example, when a project starts we invite product managers and engineers to brainstorm or sketch out ideas with us.

When we’re all on the same page and being empathetic to each other’s needs, we’re often creating a solution that works for everyone involved. During the project we’ll have weekly meetings where we sync up on the project’s progress and review any code builds for the week.

Outside of actual project work, we’ll take the time to get to know the people on the other teams, which includes going out to lunch with them or grabbing a drink after work. We feel that when you gain that empathy and build that trust, it results in a better, stronger camaraderie. We believe when you build real relationships (as opposed to being empty acquaintances), the other stuff happens naturally. Collaboration is a side effect of lowering our guard and investing in other people.