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March 13, 2024

Nate Wearin

39 Clients, 117 Stakeholders, 351 Figma files

When we took the leap to start our own studio, we didn’t know what to expect in the types of clients and projects we would work on.

When my co-founder Alex and I took the leap to start our own studio called Fuego UX, we didn’t know what to expect in terms of the types of clients, stakeholders, and projects we would work on. Over the years we have worked closely with a number of cross-functional product teams, from startups building new products to established companies looking to improve existing ones. This journey has equipped us with a breadth of experience navigating complex projects. We have had to learn how to facilitate collaboration and deliver great design when working with numerous stakeholders and a web of requirements across varying organizational levels of design maturity. With three years in the rear-view, we have found 3 key principles we feel will help most designers on any team or project: collaboration, flexibility, and organization.

Collaboration

First, collaboration is essential. Being communicative, open, and kind with teammates and stakeholders ensures alignment. Consistent check-ins are crucial to make sure everyone is on the same page. Agreeing on and properly utilizing collaborative tools enables efficient teamwork. Inviting development and other cross-departmental team members into conversations allows for diverse perspectives. There is tremendous value in having everyone’s ideas heard, and getting others involved and invested in the outcomes of the UX process.

Flexibility

Second, flexibility is a must. Requirements change all the time, and it’s helpful to be able to adapt and pivot frequently. Treat documentation as living and breathing artifacts that evolve over time. Not every team knows what they’ll be working on in 3-6 months, so we have to be able to adapt to new strategies and changing business priorities. We’re not rigid, we understand every team has a different level of design maturity, and there are many ways to approach product research and design. By being flexible we can adapt to different teams’ working styles and levels of experience.

Organization

Finally, organization is your friend. Having organized systems in place is critical when juggling many moving parts. Make information easily accessible. Document questions and decisions thoroughly. We often encounter teams with scattered Figma files, so we try to make sure our work is well-labeled, easy to navigate, and shareable. If you make it easy to give feedback and guide stakeholders through the work, you are more likely to get clear direction on the next steps. By embracing collaboration, flexibility, and organization, any team can navigate even the most complex and chaotic projects successfully. The work we do as UX professionals is challenging but rewarding. With the right mindset and tools, we can handle anything clients and stakeholders throw our way!

Nate Wearin is the co-founder and Head of Research & Design at fuegoux.com

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