At Noise, we work on all kinds of sport projects. Sometimes we help clients with a project from the ground and up. Other times we work on existing products. And sometimes we work as an extension of their design team on a short- or longer-term basis. We collaborate with companies in all shapes and sizes, from all around the world.
On every project our core is to solve real business problems and have great collaboration. Yes, sometimes we come of as a bit goofy with loco design but we are also hard-working, serious, passionate and dedicated people. And we believe that nothing in the world beats the feeling of doing design and talking sports, with clients and friends, from all around the world.
Remote collaboration gives us the opportunity to work where we are happiest, in our own way, which means we aren’t just doing work. We’re doing our best work. But how do we organize ourselves and how do we collaborate over continents and timezones? We design a game plan that works for us as a team, with shared responsibility, a culture of inclusion and belonging and a lot of clear, ongoing communication. With great processes and feedback loops to keep things moving seamlessly, we actually found that remote work makes for a better design process.
Here are our process and guidelines to ensure a magical and seamless remote collaboration:
1. Strategy & Discovery
We don't have a single approach when we start a new project. But before we craft or design anything, we start with a stage of strategy and discovery. We have meetings and perform research to nail down what you are all about - your business challenges and goals. Some questions we hope to answer might be: What are we trying to achieve? How will we know the project is a success? Who are we doing this for?
This stage is just as effective as an in-person brainstorm at generating quick ideas, establishing goals, and setting a general direction for the project, with the added bonus that we can go back and edit them later.
2. Project brief
We write a project brief to outline the project's goals, plans and collaboration methods to keep everybody on the same page. And we (do our best to) stick to it. If not, we update it as needed, so it always reflect the current state of the project. Some things we outline in the brief: Who's on the project team? What are our responsibilities? How will we receive and give feedback? What's the important dates and deadlines?
3. Inspiration moodboards
We are big fans of inspiration moodboards to show our vision of what a new brand or new site might look like. It is our way of aligning on design ideas and inspiration on style, typography, navigation, structure and design.
4. Mockups and prototypes
We sketch ideas and mockups in Sketch and InVision. We start developing interactive mockups early on in the wireframing process and share it with you throughout the project. We ask for a lot of feedback and opinions so we know what you are thinking as you interact with the mockups. Invision and Sketch are great because they are collaborative and allow other team members to contribute notes and comments directly in the programs. This way we gather design-specific feedback in InVision and keep general back-and-forth to slack and review meetings.
5. Project Management, Check-ins and Communication
At the start of a new project, we make sure the whole team know our communication process so we can keep things organized and running smoothly.
We use Hassl to keep projects organized. For us, it's the best place to have every item of a project organized and divided and, mainly, shareable with the rest of the team.
And we set clear rules and boundaries around where, when and how to communicate. We like our clients to know exactly where we are in the project, which is why we are big fans of weekly check-ins. We have a weekly scheduled video call to update everyone on what phase of the project we're in, we present our work, answer any questions, and share the design prototype for feedback. Day-to-day communication we keep over slack, chat or email.
6. Favorite tools
We also have some favorite tools that we use that help us strengthen our relationship, collaboration and increase productivity.
Slack: We love slack and most of our team communication go through slack. It's a great way to quickly write something or call someone up. Works flawlessly.
WorldTimeBuddy: For coordinating over various timezones.
Google Meet Video Conferencing: We use Google Meet to bring folks into our video or presentation based meetings so they can see, hear, and be present.
G Suite: This one's easy and really empowers remote collaboration. Google Drive and the whole G Suite solution is an awesome collaboration tool for sharing files and projects.
Toggl: Toggl is wonderful for time tracking and makes it easy to track what we are doing so we can get a good overview on exactly how much time we spend on each task.
After many years of working in remote teams, we have cherry-picked our approach, collaboration and design process. We focus on important elements that contribute to a thriving collaborating, a culture of inclusion and shared responsibility, and a lot of communication. We've actually found that our design process runs so well because it's remote. Being a remote team has driven us to become a better version of ourselves, pushed us to become more innovative and made us adopt a mentality to handle any challenges that come our way.
While mixing up our 6 rules for a great remote collaboration have worked for us, we have no rule against switching things up. We welcome new ideas because that’s how partnerships flourish and magic happens.
Noise Studio is a creative agency that specializes in digital strategy, branding and design for sport brands & sports tech. You can follow us on Instagram, Dribbble, Behance, Linkedin, Medium and Twitter. Like us today and we will love you forever.