A little over a year into my job at Etsy, we had made a lot of changes to the design team and how we operated. We’d hired a bunch of amazing product designers. We had weekly, round-robin design critiques with the entire team and had instituted separate, smaller design critiques for the designers in each product group. We were also religiously using Basecamp to document the entire process transparently and openly with not only the entire design team, but also our teammates in product and engineering.
To be honest, we design managers on the team were feeling pretty damn good about ourselves and our progress! The design team had never felt closer and collaboration and cross-group feedback was at an all-time high. We’d really made something great together.
And yet, something didn’t feel quite right.
From time to time, we’d hit a snag in our design process and find ourselves unaligned -
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