Thursday, July 06, 2006

Puzzles and Pieces: The Review

So, I turned in the venue effects spec I made, and it went over well. I sat down with the project's creative director, and we discussed areas where we might simplify it, and noted some bits that could be added, or that I'd just missed outright. A few minutes of edits and the spec was ready for a forthcoming meeting where a larger group gets to kibitz on it. That will likely result in more changes.

This is pretty much par for the course; when writing a design spec like this, I'm not expecting to nail everything down perfectly. The practical goal for the first draft of a spec is to produce a "straw man" version of the design, so that other team members can review it and suggest changes.

This suits me fine. With a good team, you'll get better ideas from open collaboration than if you throw specs "over the wall" to be implemented as written. (Though it does boost my ego whenever one of "my" ideas survives all the way through implementation.)

Here's one way to think of it: only part of the goal of writing a design document is to answer questions. The other part is to define the questions more clearly, so that others can help find even better answers.

It requires a certain lack of ego -- or "aggressive humility," as I've called it before -- but seems to result in better designs. And it doesn't just apply to working as a designer working under a creative lead. Even if I was leading a project, I'd still be listening closely to my team for ideas that can improve the concepts I originally brought to the table.


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