Working in Multidisciplinary Teams
UXSG Meetup #37 + AgileSG + #ProductBeer was held on Thursday, 13 December 2016 from 7–9.30PM at Google Singapore.
Last year, we took a small step towards #CollaborationThroughDiversity and #Transformation in our communities by hosting one giant meetup with Agile Singapore and #ProductBeer communities to learn and share topics across multiple disciplines.
Thanks to an introduction by Siva @ ProductCamp Singapore, we were introduced to Tomoe Kawagoe @ Google Singapore who had been making efforts to get to know the various community builders in Singapore. This opened up a second opportunity to host our second combined meetup.
When we first met with Tomoe: Raven, Steven & myself discussed the landscape of learning in the communities today and various pathways for new entrants to experienced professionals to learn more about Agility, User Experience & Product Management. While there are many meetups to cater for the diverse learning needs, we expressed hope to collaborate better with both private and public sectors to further improve how we interact as communities.
The theme “Working in Multidisciplinary Teams” seemed most appropriate for the second event.
The second combined meetup was a wonderful journey with many people from the #AgileSG + #UXSG + #ProductBeer communities. Thanks to Tomoe Kawagoe + Google security and setup team, Raven Chai, Steven Koh, Stanly Lau, Soh Ping Ting, Nadia Ja’afar, Sarah, Mandi Jieying & Esther Fan for helping out in the evening setup. With a 150 pax signup and close to 300 waitlist, it was hard turning people away!
Thanks also to the amazing folks who responded to panel discussion Silvia Thom, Zaizhi Cheng, Alvin Zhang, Ann Nguyen, Adam Rodriguez, Laura Narbutaite, Lucila De Pasquale, Nina Geometrieva & Sergey Shishkin who stepped into the circle.
For open space, we also tested out having facilitators for each theme and got good feedback about what works & does not. Thanks to Yew Kwok Chung, Rosslyn Chay, Bryant Tang, Bryan Long, Sharan Mangalore & Leow Yuan Kai for volunteering their time for the evening.
Having beer with everyone who stayed behind just made for a bonus end to the long day 🙂
Going to be looking forward to working towards December and thinking about how to involve Malaysia, Indonesia & Philippines communities into this conversation.
#CollaborationThroughDiversity, #ImpactThroughDesign & #Transformation Society, Communities, Products & Self
Introducing the event
Michael opened the event with a introduction to the 3 communities present (We had a good ratio of 55:55:30 (agile:ux:product) in the room). Since Dec’16, we had also participated in various events in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Indonesia (Jakarta & Bandung) & Philippines (Manila). This provided a great opportunity for people to meet and ideas/learning to flow across the different groups.
Panel Discussion (30min)
We used a Fishbowl conversation setup together with Pigeonhole to gather questions from the audience to help drive the conversations. Since it was a large group, we also opened up the panel session to allow audience participation if they wanted to share an opinion on the topic.
Panel Speakers :
- Adam Rodriguez, Senior Product Manager of Allo
- Ann Nguyen, Senior UX Designer @ Pivotal
- Alvin Zhang, Co-Founder @ Red Airship
- Nina Geometrieva, Interaction Designer @ Google, Next Billion Users team
- Kwok Chung, Director , Software Services @ Ebsco
- Lucila De Pasquale, Interaction Designer @ Google, Next Billion Users team
- Sergey Shishkin, Delivery Manager @ Standard Chartered Bank
- Silvia Thom, Head of Product, Zalora
- Zach Cheng, Co-Founder @ Referral Candy
Panel discussion :
- What are your challenges in product and how do you overcome them ?
- As teams grow, there is a tendency towards specialisation in roles. Is there still a place for generalists in a larger team?
- What is the primary measure of progress in your team ?
- What are the best mechanisms for conflict resolution in a multi-disciplinary team?
- What challenges working on products in SEA
Thoughts from the audience
- Raymond Kwan made a good observation that “empathy, shared vision and respect” was a common thread among the panelists on conflict resolution.
- Choo Zhi Min shared “PI-shape people, besides T-shape, becoming common but not yet in Singapore #futureofwork “
Open Space (modified for evening with topics pre-submitted and grouped into 6 spaces) :
Facilitating Conversations in Multidisciplinary teams (Facilitator : Yew Kwok Chung)
Team Collaboration, Agility & Roles in Multidisciplinary teams (Facilitator : Sharan Mangalore)
Meaningful Work for Team Impact (Facilitator : Rosslyn Chay)
Hiring, Career Progression & Training (Facilitator : Bryant Tang)
Practices (Success & Fail Stories) (Facilitator : Leow Yuan Kai)
Culture, Remote Work & Considerations for Multidisciplinary teams (Facilitator :Bryan Long)
For a number of the volunteers, the communities we are involved in take up a large part of our time and considerable effort goes into planning and organising the monthly events to annual conferences. An observation we’ve made is that as new members get on-boarded, the veterans and “elders” find that they either have lesser contributions or that the topics are harder to engage with.
#ProductBeer conducted a series of workshops in Oct’16 to Jan’17 to better understand the core learning loops for community members and this resulted in the collaboration between Agile Singapore, UX Singapore & #ProductBeer on our first combined meetup in Dec’16. With a second one done, we are looking towards engaging other community builders in different disciplines like Tech & Marketing + other countries on how might we design for positive impact in the communities we are involved in.
A roadmap for the work was shared and also planning towards a December unconference day for the group.
Initial Feedback from participants about what went well (to be updated with latest survey results)
- The participants
- Breadth of expertise in participants
- That my question was answered by the panel!
- The programme for the night and how topics are curated before hand.
- The flow of the programme for the night. A theme for the night and curated topics.
- Its a place where we can meet the community and catch up with struggles or interesting issues
And a closing thought for planning towards December 2017
“An extremely informative and useful workshop with the Agile SG x UXSG x #ProductBeer people on “working in multidisciplinary teams”. 1 of 2 marketing person in the room – it was refreshing to hear different perspective, surrounded by designers, UI, UX, product managers. I love it! Can we include a marketing chapter please?” – Lisa Matthews
Bonus : Beer
As usual, a small group of us stayed on for beer and continued on the discussions!
Feedback from organisers & notes from our debrief
– panel discussion format was well received with most people new to it
– open space was good
– people enjoyed the format
– facilitation was useful but ..
– nxt venue for December offered ! planning for a Saturday unconference session which allows more discussion time
can be improved
– food .. (this was Tomoe’s personal effort to coordinate so we didn’t get food sponsor via Google Singapore)
– panel questions need more prep (need to send our pigeonhole earlier for voting and suggestions)
– get panel firm up earlier ! (a few panel speakers dropped out so thanks to the people who stepped in at last minute)
– panel could take longer time (could see some folks who wanted to step in at later part of the dialogue)
– panel energy was low at start as theme was a little abstract for people
– open space topics – having the proper format of topic hosts step up is better as the grouping from pre-submitted topics wasn’t helpful for some
– facilitators were mixed. some had easier time due to experience.
– wrap up time needed more. we had to rush out due to security so people didn’t get to see the summaries.
– summarise event on uxsg site with writeup & photos – michael by 31/7
– include survey – michael
– send to community – steven, raven & michael