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Managing a Remote Design Team – feat. RBS

We caught up with Paul Tudor, Associate Director of UX at RBS to gather his thoughts around the most effective ways of running and managing user experience and design teams remotely.

With the series on ‘Managing UX and Design Teams Remotely we wanted to share the insight of a number of industry leaders on how they’re tackling this challenge.

Sam @ADLIB: Firstly, is remote working new to the team?

Paul: Before all this started, we all worked remotely at least once a week, so the whole team quickly adapted. We have a great technical infrastructure here at NatWest, a robust single sign-on and digital tools that allow everyone to operate easily, so the transition was pretty seamless, from that perspective. The Bank has responded very well to the new way of working.

Sam @ ADLIB: In a nutshell, what character trait do you think is most important when getting the most out of UX and design projects remotely?

Paul: The ability to continue as you were, before the remote nature of our current situation. You still have to think about each individual team member’s development, goals and ambitions. Still have to make the difficult, unpopular decisions sometimes, whilst trying to maintain morale across the team. In a nutshell, consistent behavior and values that the team are used to and can rely on.

ADLIB: If you had to pick one, what tool enables your team to work at its best when remote?

Paul: Without a doubt, tools that allow remote collaboration in one space tops the bill for me. We use tools like Mural and Miro for this, which creates our shared wall of ideas and thoughts normally available in our office. We’ve run workshops and retros, with a couple of tweaks, and they have all gone well. These coupled with video conferencing have made remote working possible.

ADLIB: What process, approach or methodology have you found to be most beneficial to remote working?

Paul: We have removed a lot of the meetings that get booked in and we just message “jump on zoom for a few minutes” to have a quick chat. It’s the equivalent of popping by someone’s desk and we’ve found this more informal approach to be very productive and highly efficient. As we operate in an agile way here at NatWest this approach has helped us maintain that approach.

ADLIB: And finally, what would your one key piece of advice be for those looking to help remote teams function to their optimum?

Paul: Contact – lots of it, but ad hoc and inclusive. I have many more catch ups now, but they are fluid and help me keep up to speed with the crucial parts and progress of the complex projects we work on. Especially with the recent COVID-19 response we as a Bank and a team have worked on. The pace has been fast as we help our customers make sense of the government schemes, gain access to the finance they need and provide as much information we can. Outside of that, it’s great catching up with people informally too. Just a chat to see how things are going. I probably spend more time now talking to the team informally than ever before.

Thanks so much for sharing!