Back to Work

P&G Alchemy Design Team

Design Culture & OperationsFacilitator & Team Lead

Alchemy design team overview

While working on the P&G Alchemy design team, we observed pain points in our collective team experience. I led bringing our team together in a series of workshops to evaluate our experiences, identify pain points, and work over several quarters to improve our operations processes, internal buy-in and improve the experience of being a designer on our team.

1Organization Objectives

Our Alchemy team was comprised of several cross-functional roles: product leadership, product management, product design and engineering. Our design team began to observe we had issues in our internal perception, ways of working and subsequent ability to influence, impact and drive our work. We set out find ways that we could ultimately improve the experience of being a designer on our team and create more impact in our product work.

2Initial Team Retro

I facilitated an initial retrospective-style workshop to discuss successes, pain points, ideas and allow the team to share questions. We took time to individually add our thoughts and then shared them as a group, affinity mapping to identify larger themes and patterns. After covering each topic, we spent time dot voting as a team to help see if we had any collective areas of interest and/or priority as a team.

The outcomes we gained through this process were:

  • Create a trusted team environment to share honest feedback and opinions
  • Allow our team to individually record and collectively gain visibility of shared feedback
  • Visibility to team-identified strengths and pain points as well as sharing of ideas and questions
  • Actionable items through dot voting and committing as a team to working on items

3Quarterly Efforts & Check-Ins

As a team member leading this effort, I set time for us to check in as a team on our initially committed action items throughout the team-established deadline of one quarter. We would discuss what we were working to move forward, how it was going, and challenges and/or obstacles we were encountering to help one another continue working on improving our experience.

Fun fact: As a part of this process, we ran a team mini-design hackathon to find our chosen team tool out of a suite of options (a fun, heated debate!).

4Second Team Retro

At our team-set deadline, we got back together and I ran another retrospective-style workshop with the same topics as the one before (in hopes of allowing us to potentially measure progress as able).

The outcomes we gained with this step in the process were:

  • Continued support creating a trusted environment to share team feedback
  • Identified consistencies in various aspects of our experiences
  • Shifts in subjective feedback and progress
  • New opportunity areas and actionable items for our team

5Report Summary

To help our design team recognize hard work and celebrate accomplishments, as well as to give visibility to our organizational leadership of our self-organized process and subsequent efforts, I synthesized our retro findings to creative a visualized report that could help share our current journey.

I had 3 main points to this report:

  1. Give an overview of what we had done thus far and our goal(s)
  2. Give a more detailed visualization of various individual accomplishments and progress
  3. Speak to the larger impacts that these efforts and actions had on our design team and larger organization

A few challenges I encountered in this team effort included:

  • Leadership, while aware of various efforts, had mixed reactions to learning our subjective team feedback
  • Time and bandwidth constraints across our team (individually and collectively) created challenges in several progress areas
  • Prioritization for this side-of-desk effort was hard to make compared to other business objectives and priorities
For myself, this was a humbling effort where I was able to expand my own facilitation and leadership skills, work to manage a team effort towards larger goals, and get to work with insanely talented, creative and hard-working design team members that I will forever be grateful to have had (miss you, Alchemy design team!).