The beginning of the year has been about workshops and presentations for our team. Usually product development requires a lot of face-to-face contact with people and physical presence with products. Below we will explain through two examples of how we have made it work during the era of remote work.
PD6, short for “Product development in six hours”, is a traditional workshop arranged by the PdP staff. The goal of the workshop is to bring the team and the sponsor into an intensive workshop that will guide the product development to the right direction.
We had part of the team participating remotely and part of the team at Aalto Design Factory with masks and social distancing. We aligned our targets for the day based on the context of the participants: the ones onsite focused on automation and the physical product, while the remote team conducted market research on customer needs. The teams updated each other based on a set schedule. While we all agreed that we can improve our remote workshopping skills, the workshop helped us guide our efforts for the rest of the spring.
The halfway show is a way to present to other course members, staff and sponsors the project progress so far. Normally, the whole team would be present, but this time the participation was limited. Only two people from each team could take part, again with masks and social distancing. The show was later shared as a video so that the whole team could get inspired of other teams’ successes and learn from their obstacles.
All in all, while developing a physical product requires some presence, the teamwork can be successfully conducted online. Developing these skills is increasingly important, as product development teams have employees all over the world and remote work in general will most likely become a norm. On the bright side of things, the pandemic probably only increases the demand for our product due to outdoor activities gaining popularity, so learning remote working practices makes sense to us.