Virtual meetings are here to stay.
What does this mean when product design engineers are trying to get design inputs from the cross-functional team?
It means we need to adapt and to show that we're consistent and that we can be trusted to facilitate the meeting within time and with goals achieved.
Virtual meetings are here to stay. So what does that mean when product design engineers are trying to talk with and work with their cross-functional team for design inputs? Well, it means we need to adapt. Let's talk more about it after the brief introduction.
Hello and welcome to Quality During Design, the place to use quality thinking to create products, others love for less. Each week we talk about ways to use quality during design, engineering, and product development. I'm Dianna Deeney. I'm a senior level quality professional and engineer with over 20 years of experience in manufacturing and design. Listen in and then join us. Visit quality during design.com.
Virtual meetings are not going away. Our teammates are scattered in different locations and the virtual meeting tools are becoming more commonplace and more useful. Different integrations, I mean, virtual meetings are just here to stay. By virtual meetings, I mean things like Zoom meetings where we're getting online, showing our faces on camera and talking.
A lot of people in the engineering community complain about virtual meetings and actually it's not just the engineering community. There's a lot of people that complain about virtual meetings that they're not as good as in-person meetings and sometimes there is something to say about that. There are other dynamics when you have an in-person meeting, and especially when it's a working meeting, when you're all working together toward a goal to discover new or make, make a decision about something. And when we can and it makes sense, we should definitely be able to have in-person meetings, but the chances that it makes sense and will be able to do it is becoming less and less.
A big part of Quality during Design is being able to work with our cross-functional teammates to get design inputs about our new product development. And a lot of that is centered around some structured working meetings, structured brainstorming meetings where we know we want to have this particular goal and we have a certain roadmap that we're going to take in order to get there. One of the tools or strategies that I found with virtual meetings that is very helpful is having that kind of structure.
I have facilitated a lot of cross-functional meetings in order to make decisions about products, whether it was a risk-based decision or something happened in the test lab that we needed to discuss, find a root cause and determine next steps. So I have managed quite a few virtual working meetings with cross-functional teammates. There are some hiccups, but there's a lot of things that we can do to make them successful.
And one of those things honestly, is to become known for being consistent, staying on time, and facilitating the meeting so that things happen. When you're able to consistently do this with your cross-functional team, they are more ready to join you in a working meeting and be able to participate to meet the goals because they understand that something's going to happen. Especially if you're a product design engineer, wanting to get information from them, them knowing and trusting that you have a plan and you're going to facilitate this meeting and stay within the timeframe is going to be a big benefit for you to be able to get design inputs.
So how do you demonstrate that consistency and gain that trust with your cross-functional team with virtual meetings? Well, I guess consistency is the key. You want to have a goal. You want to be able to say, we are here now. I've done some preliminary analyses and I need to talk with my team about these specific things in order to reach this goal. So you're setting the goal and you're also setting the agenda. These are the things that we need to talk about.
You'll also decide how it is you're going to work together. Within the Quality during Design Journey, we use Miro, which is an online whiteboard application. There are other whiteboard applications that you may be using, which I'd be interested to hear which ones you are using. Are you using the whiteboard that's built into Zoom? Are you using lucid charts or are you using Microsoft teams whiteboard? Whatever online whiteboard application you're using, you just need to make sure that your team is familiar with how to use it or that it's very intuitive and easy for them to pick up.
This whiteboard application could be part of the consistency that you demonstrate to your team. We're going to have a virtual meeting about this topic. It's going to be a working meeting, and we'll be using this online whiteboarding tool again to do it. That can also help with some of the consistency to also add to the trust and consistency.
Part of having virtual meetings with your cross-functional team is setting some ground rules. There were some meetings where there were some participants that felt that they were too busy, they wanted to participate, they wanted to have their opinions weighed into the decisions that were made, but they would take the call on their cell phone outside on a busy street while they were waiting for an Uber driver. If you're having a virtual working meeting and you are relying on your teammates to be able to see the screen and to interact with it, or to be able to just see what it is you're presenting so that they can understand the kind of decisions they're making, having one of the teammates an important one on a cell phone on the street wasn't a very good thing.
In fact, it really gummed up the whole working meeting philosophy. And these ground rules don't have to be for all the meetings that you hold all the time, but for these specific working meetings, you may need to set up some ground rules that everybody agrees with, that they will be able to view the screen that's being presented and that they will be in a place where they can use a mouse, type and interact with the online whiteboard application. That they've logged in ahead of time and checked out the whiteboard application. Maybe you would want to set aside a separate introductory meeting to be available just to show them how to use it and be prepared to be able to participate with both discussion and listening and also viewing and reading the texts that is on the virtual whiteboard. These kind of ground rules and an understanding of how you're expecting your teammates to be able to show up and interact during these meetings can go a long way to having a successful one.
So what's today's insight? Virtual meetings are here. We should really pick out a virtual whiteboard or an online team meeting application that we are going to get comfortable using that our company supports and that the rest of our team will be able to use and have a little bit of fun with.
When we have to rely on virtual team meetings to have working meetings in order to get design inputs from our cross-functional team, us showing up in a way that is consistent and structured and has them trusting in us to facilitate the meeting goes a long way toward successful working meetings. So it is worthwhile getting ourselves ready to be able to guide our team through a virtual working meeting that works for everyone.
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When we have to rely on virtual team meetings to have working meetings in order to get design inputs from our cross-functional team, us showing up in a way that is consistent and structured and has our team trusting in us to facilitate the meeting goes a long way toward successful working meetings.
It is worthwhile getting ourselves ready to be able to guide our team through a virtual working meeting that works for everyone.