Too often designers pass the blame on work that isn't successful. And while it's not always publicly expressed, those feelings of frustration on a project can be hidden away. I've been there as a designer and learned that sulking about a project won't push you to become better at your craft.
As a business design leader it's my responsibility to look after our team and accept responsibility for things not going right. Here's a quick technique for taking control of that misfortune. **Ask why fives times.** Here's an example:
Q: Why did the website design fall apart and the project get delayed?
A: Our process fell apart, the team lost sight of the goals and momentum was lost.
Q: Why did the team lose sight of the goals?
A: The goals were written down, but the design lead didn't make adjustments when the direction changed.
Q: Why did the design lead not understand how shifting the direction would cause a delay? (Here's the part where I could pass the blame)
A: The design lead failed to inform the entire team of all the adjustments and the designers didn't highlight the complexities of the additional work.
Q: Why did the team lead not seek out the opinions of the design team?
A: The design lead hadn't run into this situation before and was unaware of the issues that come up when the direction of a project shifts.
Q: Why did the design lead allow the project direction to shift?
A: The design lead let the project direction shift to help the client, but didn't understand the impact on the rest of the design team and project.
When you ask yourself why five times it will reveal problems that may not have been obvious. In this particular example it would be easy to pass blame to the design lead, but in the end he was just trying to make the client more successful. I could have improved communication with the design lead and documented this type of situation so that he would be more prepared.
Leading the charge at ZURB since 1998