Team Conflict: Four Ways to Deflate the Discord that’s Killing Your Team

Interpersonal relationships and team dynamics can be tricky. We often eschew the values of team work and working together, but balancing relationships when everyone has a good idea is tough. Jessica Hall shares some thoughts on how to navigate those tricky spots so your team can start communicating and get back to what they do best.

The Mindfulness of a Manual Performance Audit

Sometimes we need to go through the clothes in our closet item by item to separate the chaff, cruft, and impulse buys from what we truly need. An occasional performance audit done by hand, argues Chip Cullen, gives us a detailed picture of our work, increases our awareness of what we ask of our users, and allows us to shape our findings in ways that make sense to stakeholders.

Web Maintainability Industry Survey: How Do We Maintain?

Maintenance is an ever-present aspect of web development, but there simply isn’t much data about what we do industry-wide. To uncover what developers consider best practices and great resources, we’re all taking the (very short!) Great Web Maintainability Survey from Jens Oliver Meiert.

Focus on What You Do Best and Outsource the Rest

There’s all this other “stuff” that has to get done in support of what you actually do for a living. It slows you down and takes away from overall productivity in your specialty, yet you think you have to do it yourself no matter how hard it is for you. Suzanne Scacca says it may be a good investment to offload and outsource some of the tasks that aren’t in your wheelhouse. It just might free up your time to do more of what you do best.

Practical Design Discovery

When we can’t trace low-level decisions back to a specific objective or problem statement, we lose sight of what we should and shouldn’t do on a project. Dan Brown shows us how to create assertions that keep design direction from unraveling.

Guerrilla Innovation

If you don’t work at a place like Google or 3M—companies celebrated for rewarding innovation—don’t despair. You can still push new ideas through, see them gain traction, and watch your company evolve for the better. You just need to be smart about your tactics. Janice Gervais has some advice on how to practice effective guerrilla innovation.

The Imbalance of Culture Fit

Part of getting to a better place in the new year is recognizing where we have sway, and going past our own discomfort to create positive change in ourselves and in the world. Those of us who have a role in the hiring process can do better by thinking critically about culture fit. Matt Griffin challenges us to consider whether it actually creates the kind of team that’s the best for the enterprise, or mostly serves to make us comfortable by surrounding us with people largely like ourselves in ways that aren’t relevant to the business.

Managing Ego

Any of us can be that irrational colleague who makes for an interesting day at work. All it takes is low confidence and high anxiety—and that comes with the territory. Brandon Gregory shows us how we can bolster and validate our coworkers and strengthen our own emotional resilience so we can avoid unnecessary drama and produce happier relationships.

Insisting on Core Development Principles

The expectations for our work have matured significantly over the last couple of decades. If this overwhelms those of us who build the web day in and day out, imagine how our clients must feel. And yet time and again, we fail our clients by offloading too much responsibility for the development process onto them. We need to build best practices into our workflows from the start, Kendra Skeene reminds us—not wait for our clients to request specific core practices.

Liminal Thinking

People act in ways that make sense to them; if it doesn’t make sense to you, then you’re missing something. Recognizing our belief bubbles is the first step to holding our assumptions loosely, getting out of our own way, and improving communication with others, as we see in this excerpt from Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray.