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Facilitate Team Progress to Overcome Roadblocks


Set a date for them to send a follow up on their progress again!Working towards social impact is what DFA is all about. Keeping track of a team’s progress and timeline as a studio helps everyone have a shared understanding of team’s goals and support each other to reach those goals and overcome roadblocks. It will also help connect teams to the right mentors and partners in the community to help create impact.

Output: Teams know the team goal they are striving for, which steps of the process they are at, and know next steps to overcome roadblocks.

Effective ways to facilitate team progress to overcome roadblocks:

  1. Get an overview of the team’s current status by reviewing the studio timeline and team’s past documentation. 
    • If you don’t know the team’s roadblocks already, check-in on where teams are at by asking:
      • What have you accomplished in the past 2 weeks? 
      • What is your/our goal for the next 2 weeks?
      • What are some roadblocks that might prevent your team from reaching your goals?
    • If you don’t have a studio documentation plan, check “Document and share work”. We recommend bi-weekly check-ins.
  2. Have teams think of 2-3 ways to overcome their roadblock.
    • Have them share their plans then leave some time to do #3.
  3. Give individual advice to teams!
    • Give a quick overview of where a team is in the design process and how it fits into helping teams think about best ways to move forward.
    • If a team has a roadblock that requires more time:
      • Connect them to a mentor.
      • Set up a meeting to discuss how the studio can help connect them with resources.
  4. Help teams create an individual action plan by setting a goal for next 2 weeks .
  5. Review as a whole studio.
    • Have each member say/write their “I like, I wish, I wonder”s.
    • See what common themes arise from the feedback you receive from the studio and determine whether a larger adjustment or action is needed.
  6. Make adjustments to studio timeline as needed.
    • Are teams on track? If so, great. Cheer on and help teams continue their momentum.
    • Are teams facing similar roadblocks? How could the adjustments help them overcome the roadblocks?
    • If a team has a roadblock(s) that may require more time to overcome, have a mentor or a studio lead meet with them to talk through ways to overcome in-depth. 
    • If many teams are struggling with the same part of the process, run a workshop to give them skills to improve forward. Check out "Hold design process & hard skills workshops with Mentors" for more information.
      • Slides from Leadership Studio are linked in the page! 
      • Running workshops with mentors is a great way to learn from experts and build your studio’s network in your community. 
  7. Set a date for them to send a follow up on their progress again!

Network Best Practices

Set up a studio structure to ensure regular studio-wide and individual update like DFA WashU

In Spring 2016, DFA WashU assigned mentors to each team to check-in with the team and follow the progress of the team to provide support if needed. These check-ins happen at their weekly studio meeting where the leads give a quick overview of the step of the design process the teams are tackling and have a work session for the majority of the time. The mentor system helped the studio keep track of team progress and help teams overcome roadblocks.

In the previous semesters, the studio held pin-ups every 3 weeks where teams presented their work to the entire studio and received feedback. The crits are low-key, teams only need to send a few representatives to share their work, and anyone can attend to give advice and learn more about being in DFA. The pin-ups helped everyone in the studio understand each other’s project well, developed studio member’s ability to give and take feedback, and allowed teams to develop deliverables to improve team documentation.

Give a quick overview of DFA human-centered design process using the 1-Pagers

Download copies of the Design Process 1-pagers to explain the goals of each step of the design process to team leads and members. Each step of the process comes with an overview of its purpose, key questions for teams to answer, suggested activities to complete and a DFA project example.