With developers and designers commingling, the skills of each beginning to blend with the other, it makes perfect sense that the two might find themselves in a bit of a merging situation. (Anyone see the parallel with CM Access's creative staffing merging with IT?) It might be that the IT and creative departments are combining, or maybe a smaller company is just reorganizing the office layout. Businesses are investing more in digital initiatives, where technical know-how and creative skills are a necessary collaboration.
Whatever the reason, there's a good chance that you, a designer or developer, haven't been sitting near anyone doing different work than you. Designers sit near creatives, developers are next to coders; it's like lunchtime in school all over again, except probably not by choice.
So, say cubicles have shifted or desk assignments have moved and hey! You've got a new desk neighbor. There are some things you should know so that you can both coexist in peace and thrive in your collaboration.
(image credit: IDEO)
The main purpose of the two of you sitting near each other is to foster creativity and keep communication lines open, casual, and frequent. Your communal projects will only benefit from this new office arrangement if you take advantage of the close proximity and check in about your projects as often as possible. The best result of the recent spike in tech and creative collaboration is the shared knowledge of capabilities and limitations. As an example- in the past, a designer would work with a client to develop a design that fits within a client's budget, and then pass it along to a developer, now the developer can assist with cost-saving measures and keep the design reasonable. There's no better way to ensure your projects are on the right path than to have some established time to talk about them. Which brings us to our next point...
Different types of jobs work very differently. While you're used to working in small chunks of time, your new neighbor might have a different system of their own in place. Just because you're close doesn't mean you can lean over and ask them a question whenever you feel like it. Nobody likes the office pest! Send a quick email or chat asking them to let you know when they have a few minutes, or at the beginning of the day set up a time to check in. Establishing a time in the near or semi-distant future establishes a relationship of respect, which is key to your success as a team.