The bigger picture
Every project starts with a goal. The first step is to understand the project's goal or outcome. This helps me to scope out the work & figure out a path to achieve the goal. This path is usually not a straight line. I start from one place, take multiple turns & eventually reach the goal.
During this journey, I tend to forget the goal with which I started. I forget the bigger picture & start obsessing over unimportant things. In retrospect, it was majorly because of 3 reasons:
- Getting lost in the process
- The trap of political correctness
- Designing for the medium
Let me dive deeper into each of these points.
Getting lost in the process
The goal is evident when I start working on a project. But as time progresses, I begin to obsess over more minor details. While doing so, it becomes tough to zoom out, and my process becomes the goal.
This especially happens in a large project. Large projects take longer; thus, I start to look for smaller wins (which are not necessarily bad if done right), which usually leads me to the wrong path. The process becomes more important because I set these smaller, achievable wins along my way, which don't align with my larger goal.
The trap of political correctness
I have a manager who usually assigns me work in a professional setting. The work will have clear goals to satisfy the customer of our product, but as an employee, my goal will be reduced to meet my manager's requirements.
This is the Principal-agent problem. Where my manager becomes the principal & I become the agent. I tend to fall under this trap when I have deadlines to complete my work. I do fake work & I make sure I have answers to all the questions my manager would ask. I try to be 'politically correct without worrying about the end outcome of the work.
Designing for the medium
Medium shapes the message. And while designing the message, it's easy to forget the end medium in which the message will be consumed. Again, I'm guilty of doing this multiple times.
When designing a website, a post or a YouTube thumbnail, I forget the medium and happily start to design in a clean Figma file. I judge a YouTube thumbnail by viewing it from Figma while the audience consumes it in a super crowded & chaotic YouTube feed.
Being aware of these mistakes has helped me tremendously in avoiding them. I consciously think about these mistakes while working & reflecting upon a project. If you have ever faced any of these issues, feel free to ping me on Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; happy to share some personal stories about these.