Group sketching, yes! Groupthink, no!

jono_sketchingI am a big believer in the necessity of sketching for good product design and product-team interaction. So, I was nodding my head vehemently when it came to Joshua Porter’s latest post, “The importance of sketching in product design“.

Group sketching allows a team to get on the same page very quickly. In addition to preventing confusion or conflict, group sketching can circumvent the need for more time-consuming documentation or higher-fidelity design assets, which means faster time-to-market for product improvements.

I have found it to be very useful to have not just the product manager and UX designer together for a group whiteboarding session, but also the engineer(s) who will help implement it.

But one critical aspect of sketching is that it helps a product designer think more creatively. And let me be clear that I believe anyone and potentially everyone on the team can act like a product designer, regardless of function.

With sketching, you can quickly “try on” lots of different solution ideas without a big investment of time, including ideas that are zany or dumb at first glance, but which could lead to interesting breakthroughs.

If *all* you do is group sketching, your team can fall prey to groupthink and miss opportunities to think outside the box. For anything important, I recommend that you have each participant do some individual sketching before you come together as a team to find consensus.


* photo of Jono Mallanyk sketching out ideas.