New Adventures 2019 - Jessica White's The Future is Cross-Functional

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One of the underlying themes at New Adventures 2019 was the idea of multi-disciplinary teams and designing for everyone. Jessica White gave a brilliant talk about the importance of being cross-functional and gave many examples of how to foster it within a team. One idea I especially liked was for teams that are co-located you can simply move desk. It is one of the benefits of hot-desking, one day you could sit next to a designer then next you could sit next to someone in Finance. It doesn't matter how exactly you do it, as long as you are able to get the different perspectives and understand that everyone's opinion matters. Below are some notes I took while watching Jessica talk about working together in better ways.

  • The Future is Cross-Functional
  • Developer, drew slides
  • Neuroscientist for 6 1/2 years, played with orangutans
  • Persuaded to go computer route already used python and mat lab
  • Masters in Computer Science
  • Started Women in Tech before completing degree
  • Visited industry meet-ups to see whether to join industry or not, assumption everyone in basements
  • Running a conference Developer Developer Developer East Midlands
  • “The story of the culture changer”
  • Worked at small company, designers and developers worked separately
  • Waterfall process went round in circles
  • Change happened
  • Ideas presented early
  • Wireframes with explanation, accessibility
  • Mobile first
  • Most importantly listened and asked for feedback
  • Discussion about things read
  • Moved desk so designers and developers worked next to each other
  • Can we make that work better when remotely?
  • Got spec first then design test and dev at same time
  • Testing up front made it easier to input into design decisions and understand it
  • More things got to live
  • More enjoyable
  • What did I learn?
  • Backend developer, sit with testers first
  • Know what is important to a company if you see what testers are checking
  • Timing and transparency is important
  • Hatred for acronyms, all mean different things in different contexts
  • Cohesive language, offer alternatives to how you express yourself
  • “We are all technologists we just chose to specialise in different subjects”
  • “People have spent the time to learn what they are interested in, listen to their opinions”
  • “Everyone are equals and they are experts in their own fields”
  • Always measure the effect “proof is in the pudding”
  • If you have someone on the team who is ignoring the facts, maybe it’s just not for them
  • Less cross functional
  • More multi disciplined
  • It’s a culture change, which is the hardest possible change to make
  • Process is not culture
  • “We are T-shaped developers, we do testing and development... No it’s just my job”
  • Tiny acts of rebellion
  • “Go out, talk to the person next to you even if you’re in a different field

Feel free to read the rest of my notes from New Adventures.