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A generalist’s guide on how to work with specialists

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Many entrepreneurs struggle to work with designers, developers, and content writers in getting things done. It is because they think the brief they gave initially is fine till the end. It doesn’t work like that. 

I’m working with multiple remote specialists teams for varied projects in digital services. These learnings help me to extract performance from the chaos.

The projects take a new shape, contextual changes can occur, new team members’ feedback can come in, and also understanding of what the business exactly needs would have been realized during the process. 

This creates a gap of expectation. Skilled professionals find a gap of expectation as a big turn off and they start working on projects that give them clarity, timely feedback, and appreciation for good work. 

9 super specific HOW.

1. First of all, understand the sweet spot of every specialist you are working with – do not generalize anyone. A designer who is specialized in social media can’t possibly do web UI for an internet product.

2. Giving too much broad scope won’t help – tell them how the outcome can be like – by sharing benchmarks that are relatable / and mutually agree on it. Being super-specific can help in getting the job done sharply. In the age of specialists, generalists need to understand their language of working super-functionally. 

3. Ask them to create a sample / the first draft with minimal efforts to see if it matches your vision. Getting the direction of their thought process needs to be done in the first instance and alignment needs to be brought instantly – waiting for most of the work to be done to give feedback may create frustration. 

4. If you feel confident that with minor tweaks, they can arrive there, give them specific suggestions. Instead of being flippant or impatient, it is better to invest time to make them understand what you are trying to accomplish. Attention is the best thing specialists can give you to build quality output. They give attention to ‘worthy and futuristic’ things that can help them to learn and grow. Share the vision, tell stories, make the project likeable. 

5. Use tools like Loom, Figma, Google Meet Screen-sharing to share feedback clearly. Giving feedback visually can make a huge difference. 

6. Always talk slowly, and less aggressively – as working remotely needs its own pleasantries and courtesy as how you meet in person – even if it is a war-time project. After all, we love working with courteous and professional people. 

7. Once the project is progressing as per your vision, tell them that ‘we are making progress’. Any professional loves the progress and meaning of their work. 

8. Do not assume anything, clearly write / or give Loom video instructions to specify the ‘corrections, changes, or new outlook’ required in the project. 

9. Give examples, specific examples – and help them align to what you want – making vague comments, sounding impatient, raising voice or sarcastic comments will not help the process at all.