Our 2020: The Mistakes We’ve Made, What We’ve Learned From Them, and Our Year In One Picture
What went wrong and how we’ve learned from it
Before all the much-needed celebration at the end of this year, we need to evaluate what happened. We greatly value transparency, and we’re crystal clear in all our processes. The end of the year is a time for reflection, and now we’re ready to talk about our missteps, and how we’ve learned from them.
Mistake 1: Self-regulated Work From Home
The first week of working in quarantine was chaos. Despite plenty of our processes already set through online, we had to fundamentally reconstruct our workflow. Yet the first week, everyone was expected to manage their own time and their tasks, which led to miscommunications and too much time spent on calls, and it led to overworking. We’ve quickly course-corrected by starting each day with a company-wide call, where everyone can catch up. You can read more about how we’ve structured our work from home here.
Mistake 2: Work On Corporate Identity Without Positioning
Sometimes, we didn’t completely clarify the goals for the design from the client. Sometimes, we just went by their preference rather than solving goals. This, unfortunately, led to the design for design’s sake. We’ve expected everyone to know their positioning, which plenty don’t. Especially, if it’s a brand new product that’s only recently on the market, or not even on the market yet. We’ve solved this problem by now also working on positioning.
Mistake 3: Not Working With Branding Before
But we took too long to arrive there. Over the past two years, we’ve completed over a hundred projects where we had to make the corporate style from scratch, or heavily modify the existing one. Yet we didn’t work with branding before this year. We’ve only added a brand-strategist to our team last month. In retrospect, this is an obvious mistake. Better late than never.
Mistake 4: Creating Unreasonable Expectations For Our Speed
We’re fast. We’re extremely fast. Our unique process is set up so that we can deliver a complete project in 2-4 five day sprints. Our own positioning used to be that we could create a great website in five days. We can, and we did plenty of those (over thirty), yet our projects grew in complexity while we still brandished that line, “in only five days”. We can design a complete website in only five days, but now we also work on corporate identity, and the websites we make grew in complexity. It would take just one day to fully develop and put online a complete website design if it’s about five unique pages. Now we make more involved websites, with 15-20 unique pages, and that just can’t take a single day.
Mistake 5: Weak Onboarding
The project manager is the key person in our process. We used to have the same onboarding as everyone does everywhere: the new manager would shadow a senior project manager, watch and learn, help out with simpler tasks. On one side, this is a common practice for a reason: it works. But in our team, the project manager needs to be able to make big decisions quickly without any fallbacks. This mentorship doesn’t mesh with the ideas of responsibility and being goal-oriented. Now we have an intense week-long onboarding, where a new project manager goes through all the tasks based on abstract projects, and also the projects we’ve previously had. They have to think quickly and see the same tasks through all kinds of different lenses and in varying circumstances. By the end of just one week, they are ready to lead. Of course, with a senior manager ready to help at first, but unlike shadowing, the new project manager is already in charge, is already responsible.
Mistake 6: Expecting Everyone to Fit In
Our workflow is unique. It’s not for everyone. We’ve hired designers before who had good portfolios and good skills, but who simply couldn’t get used to how we do things. These designers are competent and have impressive portfolios, and they approach their work thoughtfully. They take their time. But our process is very different. We need people who aren’t just good, we need people quick on their feet. Yet, our onboarding for designers is rather standard. We’re now solving this problem by putting efforts into coming up with a workable trial period. And to not become insular with our workflow, to not get stuck in our tunnel vision, we often invite outside art directors for our projects.
Mistake 7: Not Enough Socializing
We all miss each other. Now that we don’t daily see each other in the office, it’s become a problem. If we don’t keep up, people turn from people into notifications on Slack. To stay understanding, compassionate, and simply human, we now try to meet up regularly and have started a Discord server for any talk that is not work-related.
Our Year In One Picture
It’s been a tough year for everyone. But despite all, we’ve managed to accomplish a lot. In this year we’ve made mistakes, and we’ve learned important lessons from them. We’ve done a lot of projects that we’re proud of, that you could check out on our Behance. And our team grew over twice the size. But now it’s time to rest, grab a steaming cup of something hot, and watch the snow fall. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, and everything else. Enjoy the season.