HomeBlogConflicts in teams: rules that will help to manage them

Conflicts in teams: rules that will help to manage them

Different team members bring diverse perspectives and knowledge to our #codebridgeteam, improving problem-solving and performance. But sometimes, a difference can lead to conflict. And we know how to deal with it!

Let's get it straight first, why do the conflicts appear? The reason can be either objective and social-psychological or based on organizational-management factors. In most cases, the catalysts of conflict are always communicative conflict generators. It happens when one says what he/she thinks, and the other perceives it in his/her way. Among key conflict generators in relationships is non-acceptance of the behavioral moments, violation of ethics, and direct negative passages.

Who are usually the participants of conflict at the workplace? Undoubtedly, these are the primary opponents and the so-called supporting group (colleagues who can indirectly be involved in the conflict).

It is doubtful that the conflicting parties will not resolve their issue without involving a third party. As proven by practice, it is worth having a mediator to effectively manage and solve the conflict.

So, what can all conflict participants do to make the "way out safer"? The effective step-by-step plan for any person involved prescribes the following:

- determine your role

- if you are not a party to the conflict, listen to both sides

- try to understand the motives of the parties directly involved in a conflict

- reduce the degree of emotions (they usually increase the problem and distract from the actual subject of conflict)

- always keep in focus the actual subject of the conflict

It is essential also to keep in mind specific behavioral rules that may be applied during the conflict:

1. Resolving the conflict immediately means avoiding the temptation to ignore it and drive the situation deeper.

2. Be honest: if a problem arises, it must be exposed.

3. Practice straightforward communication - express thoughts and ideas.

4. Practice active listening – by applying paraphrasing, clarification, and the ability to ask questions.

5. Do not allow the conflict to become personal - explain that there should be no characters.

6. Focus on effective solutions - do not waste time and energy on things that cannot be changed.

7. Don't blame – encourage collaboration, feedback, and indirect criticism.

8. Do not tolerate conflict - no team members should know about possible problems. And primarily, no issue arises in social networks.

Hopefully, these approaches to identifying and resolving conflicts will help your teams to be more effective and keep the working relationships healthy and productive.

The superpower of the user journey map

One of a UX designer's critical responsibilities is understanding their user's needs, desires, and motivations. The best UX designers use every tool possible to engage their users and empathize with them so they can understand their experience relative to the product they're building.

One of the best tools to achieve this is a journey map.

User journey maps are visual aids that help outline a user's experience with a product, service, or feature. If you genuinely want to understand your users and enhance their experiences with your products, you need to use journey maps.

What is a user journey map?

A user journey map is a visual representation depicting a user's journey to achieve a goal.

Visually, a user journey map typically follows this pattern:

1. At the top, there's a specific persona or user along with the scenario and the goals the persona has for the scenario.

2. The middle includes the user's phases in the scenario and their thoughts and feelings.

3. And at the bottom are the insights and opportunities gleaned from the user journey map.

The user journey mapping process allows product teams to examine every step a user takes through a shared experience. It provides insights into what works and doesn't work from the user's perspective. It's one of the best tools for visualizing a user experience and uncovering pain points and moments of pleasure.

Looking closer at the details, user journey maps provide various qualitative benefits, such as:

· Increasing empathy for the user across teams

· Understanding differences between users as they move through their journeys

· Validating the user's expectations measures against their actual experiences

· Optimizing individual stages in the user journey

Our next station is types of user journey maps.

At their core, journey maps are about understanding the user experience. But because every business is different, the approach each takes to create its maps varies. These variations depend on what they're hoping to understand about their users. And those users' experiences as well as business goals.

Current state journey maps

When people familiar with UX think of journey maps, they probably think of current state maps. The most common kind of map they're all about the experience a user has in the present. They're the current state of a product or service being examined. But they're what users think and feel when they experience something in the here and now.

Current state maps are best for teams looking to improve on established experiences. They examine existing pain points and concerns your users have with your products and services, so they're perfect for identifying and understanding user pain points.

Day in the life journey maps

A day in the life map also focuses on existing experiences your users have, but it takes a more holistic approach. These maps consider the experiences a user has throughout their day — not just with your brand's offerings but with other products, services, and experiences in their daily life.

Future state journey maps

Future state maps concern how users think and feel about a future experience. Compared to other maps, they're more creative and innovative than data-driven and focused more on a user's hopes and desires. Their purpose is more about creating future experiences for the user and understanding how they'll think and feel about those experiences.

Blueprint journey maps

Blueprint maps, sometimes called service blueprints, are more abstract journey maps. They start with simplified versions of other maps and then build on them with systems, policies, processes, and other technologies that impact the user's experience.

Most of the time, they're built on current or future state maps. When built using current state maps, they can provide insights into the root causes of user pain points and concerns. With future maps, they can help you understand what kind of infrastructure of people and technology you'll need to facilitate the goal experience.

How to create a user journey map from scratch

Building a user journey map is different for every team and every situation, so there aren't any one-size-fits-all templates. But some elements common to all journey maps get the ball rolling when you set out to build your own.

You'll need to figure out

· User persona: Who's the focus of this journey map? A journey map should focus on just one perspective

· Scenario: What's the scenario you're looking at? Describe in detail the situation the user is experiencing

· Goals and Expectations: What are the user's goals and expectations? Describe their needs and motivations

Define the stages

You'll need to define each stage of the journey you'll map. An excellent way to do this is to flesh out the first and last stages of the experience and then start filling in the gaps.

Be sure each stage you add is meaningful.

Define the actions

Building off of each stage, you can start defining the actions your user takes during each one. Again, focus on meaningful actions. Hone in on your users' steps to progress from stage to stage.

Consider all touchpoints

Be sure to take note of every interaction the user has during their journey, including any people, products, services, or tools they encounter or use. This is important for understanding the user's mental state and identifying opportunities for improving the experience with additional or new offerings.

You'll also want to take note of the channels your users engage on. You can refer back to the user persona for insights on this.

Empathize and categorize

Next, hop into your user's shoes and ask yourself what they think and feel as they take action. You can uncover insights into how your users react during each stage of their experience by creating an empathy map.

At this point, you can begin categorizing different concepts, feelings, and ideas.

Create the map

Journey maps are creative documents. Some are straightforward, while others are more polished. If you need help figuring out where to start design-wise, the Interaction Design Foundation has some free templates to get you moving. So go ahead - register at their website and try them.

Typically though, a journey map has three areas:

· The top section of the map describes the persona and experience on which the map focuses.

· The middle area covers the actions and corresponding thoughts and feelings relevant to each stage of the experience.

· The bottom is reserved for recording insights for each stage of the journey and any other relevant ideas or discoveries

To cut a long story short. The superpower of the user journey map is the ability to understand users deeply and help create experiences that empower them.

UI/UX Design: Our Top 5 Design Tools for 2022 and Beyond

Lately, a lot has changed in the design. We've gone from simple wireframes and mockups to full-fledged prototypes that look like they're from a sci-fi movie. That being said, there are still some tried and true tools that can help you get your next project off the ground without breaking the bank or requiring a degree in coding just to run them.

Here at Codebridge, we've got a professional UI/UX design team we're proud of. For this article, they've shared their list of five favorite UI/UX design tools that streamline daily work.

Avocode

Avocode is a design tool that lets you export designs from Sketch, Photoshop, Adobe XD, and Adobe Illustrator. Avocode allows you to view your designs in their original context, making it easier to see how they look in a browser or on different devices. With this tool, you can also generate CSS code for any UI component, customizing the look and feel of your website or mobile app.

Sketch

For all Mac lovers out there, there's Sketch. It's a vector-based design tool for iOS, Android, and web design. Distinctive features of Sketch include a user-friendly interface and cross-platform compatibility, so it's an optimal choice for any UI/UX designer. It's also great for prototyping because you can quickly change your designs without redoing everything from scratch.

The best part of using Sketch is its simplicity; it doesn't require much training or knowledge of coding languages like HTML5 or CSS3 to use every feature appropriately.

Framer

Framer is a code-free design tool that allows you to create interactive prototypes. Made for designers, developers, and product teams in mind, Framer lets you quickly design and prototype your ideas in a simple and intuitive interface. Framer is used by the world's top design agencies and leading startups to create their products: from Airbnb's app to Slack desktop client.

With Framer's powerful interactions toolkit, you can build more than just clickable mockups – you can build prototypes that allow people to use your product as if it were real.

UXPin

UXPin is a UX design tool that helps you create and share interactive wireframes, prototypes, and mockups. It's easy to learn and use, and it comes with a large library of UX components. The tool has everything you need to design great products: from UI kits to full-featured wireframing tools.

The free version comes with limited features. It's enough to start, but more is needed for more advanced projects. You can unlock everything else for $12 per month or $99 per year: vector-based drawing tools and access to reusable design elements (including icons).

Figma

Last but not least is Figma, a design tool for collaborative design. It lets you work on the same project with a team, giving everyone access to the same files and assets so they can make changes whenever necessary. You can upload multiple project versions and comment on each element individually. The comments are also visible in real time, so you can see what people say as they work on their designs. This makes it easy to get feedback from others without having to send around documents or emails back and forth – which is especially useful when working with large groups of people or clients who aren't tech-savvy.

Figma is also great for designing and prototyping; it allows you to create prototypes that can be tested and iterated quickly based on user feedback.

How does the IT sector in Ukraine cope with the war

One of our previous blogs mentioned the advantages of working with development teams from Ukraine. But war is a decisive factor influencing the statement that IT outsourcing is one of Ukraine's strong suits.

Let's look at some points that will assure you that Ukraine is not only about bravery but a very adoptive country that can cope with all negative war influence and provide high-level IT services.

• The Ukrainian IT industry continues to work and grow stable. Despite the war and related risks, the volume of IT services increased up to 16% for the eight months in 2022.

• IT companies are ready for various scenarios and possible attacks on critical infrastructure objects. Updated Business Continuity Planning (BCP) provides several options for responding to risks in case of a lack of Internet, communication, or power supply.

• Companies have adapted their infrastructure to the realities of wartime. In particular, critical systems are installed in the "cloud," and a network of Internet providers was diversified. In particular, the global satellite system "Starlink" premises are equipped with generators for backup power supply. The offices are equipped with everything necessary to maintain teams' uninterrupted and productive work.

• Ukraine and its infrastructure facilities repeatedly suffered from massive attacks during the war. Each time, the Internet and cellular connection worked stably or were quickly restored. This is also because Ukraine's Internet is decentralized, has a horizontal structure, and does not have key access centers, the destruction of which can paralyze the entire system.

• To minimize risks, Ukrainian companies have relocated specialists to safer regions and countries and have diversified offices in Ukraine and abroad based on the principle of distributed teams and a hybrid work format. The key issue when planning the operational activities of companies is human safety.

• The Ukrainian IT sector continues to hold the economic front of the country. Companies continuously fulfill contracts and projects in time, attract investments and new customers, and actively enter the global market.

The Ukrainian labor market continues to generate high-quality IT specialists, who save competitive advantages on the international market, have high-level expertise, broad specialization, and offer complex creative decisions.

All mentioned aspects debunked myths about working with Ukrainian IT outsourcers during the war. Ukraine is not about searching for help. We are about giving value and high-quality services. If you feel like launching a project with a reliable software development team from Ukraine, drop us a line, and we'll get back to you promptly.

How to be an effective software engineer

Becoming a more productive software engineer can be challenging, especially when new to the field. Learning many things takes time, but being a great developer takes much more effort than just writing code. Here are some simple tips and tricks to becoming a productive developer.

1. Minimize multitasking

Multitasking is a myth; our brains can't focus on two things simultaneously. Studies have shown that people who believe they are good at multitasking perform worse than those who acknowledge their lack of skill and practice focus instead. Generally, switching working contexts is terrible for productivity because it takes time to get back into a task after you've been interrupted.

Try to break down your work into larger chunks and work on each small task, gradually finishing the job. Small positive results will keep you going towards new studies and small wins. Or, use the Pomodoro technique, where you work for 25 minutes straight without interruption and then take five minutes off, like watching an episode of your favorite show or taking a break.

2. Set smart goals

Set SMART goals to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These simple tips will help you plan your tasks efficiently:

• Stop over-committing.

• Don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself and your colleagues.

• Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given time frame, and ask for help when you need it – you might be surprised at how many people are willing to lend a hand or an ear when asked.

3. Communicate with the team

As a software engineer, you're not just building something by yourself; you're working with others to make something together. You need to be a team player to boost your productivity.

It's essential for everyone on your team – not just engineers – to feel comfortable offering feedback on each other's ideas and approaches during development. That way, your entire team will understand exactly where things are going wrong so that no one gets caught off guard by significant changes later on down the line (or worse: wasted effort).

If your colleague has an idea for improvements or upgrades, don't dismiss them without considering them first. Put the quality of your work ahead of your ambitions to be able to accept constructive feedback, even if it means redoing everything again from scratch.

4. Create to-do lists

With a to-do list, you always know your priorities. Having a clear list of tasks prevents you from getting distracted. Don't make up long lists that look infinite. Instead, make daily or weekly lists to see a quick result right after you've finished a small task. Also, set deadlines for each job to increase your chances of completing the task on time and feel a bit proud of yourself.

5. Focus on the outcome

The key to becoming a productive software engineer is focusing on the outcome, not the process. The world is full of distractions, and it's easy to get bogged down in details or obsess over small things that don't matter in the big picture. Many engineers make this mistake by worrying about what other people are doing instead of focusing on their own goals. Focus on your productivity, and you'll be able to achieve much more than if you worry about everything else around you.

Summing up

Working as a software engineer is challenging, but you can increase efficiency and productivity with the right mindset. Software engineers are expected to be productive and efficient, so it's crucial to understand what it means to be effective as an engineer and how you can increase your productivity.

Phone number field best practices: 5 essential tips

Whether you're designing an interface for an ecommerce store, an appointment booking, or any other website that requires users to fill out their personal information like a phone number, you have to put extra effort into it. Don't make your users wonder which phone number format is correct or go through a lengthy validation process to guess the valid format. If something like this happens, that means your phone number fields aren't properly designed. In this article, we've gathered several essential tips for creating error-proof phone number fields, so read on.

1. Use input masks

A Baymard Institute study reveals that 89% of users enter phone number data in a different format, even if there is a hint in the field. Use input masks to make your users submit the data in the correct format. They indicate the data format that must be entered, including the number of characters, restricted characters, etc.

Input masks combined with auto-formatting and geolocation are the easiest way to enter the phone number. If you're dealing with global users, automatic geolocation will detect their country, giving them a hint that they're on the right path. Meanwhile, auto-formatting will arrange the data, so users don't need to enter symbols like brackets and dashes.

2. Indicate geolocation

Ideally, when a user fills out the form, their geolocation is automatically detected once they input the country code. A common solution is to display the flag of the country next to the phone number, so users can quickly spot their location and receive an instant confirmation of their data entry. Alternatively, allow users to enter the country name and find their country code faster.

You can also use autocomplete forms. For example, when users enter a single digit, they have city code options with a country flag. Don't forget about peculiarities of each country, for example, states in the USA.

3. Don't rush with data validation

Don't annoy users with fast data validation. Allow them to enter the phone number and display the data validation result: confirmed or failed. A too fast data validation misguides users: they might think they've been unable to complete the data entry process. Also, mistake alerts frustrate users and deteriorate their experience.

Some websites show errors after users have completely filled out the form and pressed the "Continue" button while others use contextual checking and display an error message directly after filling out the field or even earlier. There's no right or wrong solution – pick yours!

4. Avoid multiple cells for the phone number input

The usage of multiple cells could prevent your users from wrong data input. However, it's not an ideal solution since it doesn't allow users to paste the copied phone number correctly. In the case with multiple cells, the copied information will be added to the first cell, and users will be forced to copy the number in chunks to paste them into each cell.

Moreover, multiple cells aren't mobile-friendly, and users must double their effort to correct the data in case of wrong input.

5. Guide users

The rule of thumb is to simplify the process of filling out the fields and help users quickly fix their errors. Without little guidance, they won't be able to understand what's needed from them quickly. Use these tips to enhance user experience:

- Display a status if the field is filled in correctly or not. For example, you can use icons like a green checkmark to indicate the correct status.

- Display the number of characters to fill out.

- Automatically arrange a phone number into chunks right after a user fills out the form.