Understand a problem individually, then share it.
When you are in a situation when people are communicating concepts or ideas to you (e.g., in a meeting), you should capture your understandings (e.g., as notes or sketches) separately to the team and then come together to compare what you have understood.
- You will discover misunderstandings rapidly. Comparing your understandings with the rest of the team will allow you to correct and align on misconceptions.
- Engagement and focus will be very high. Everyone is responsible for capturing their ideas, so everyone is focused on the meeting.
- Much less room for hidden misalignment. Everyone has to explain what they understand, which can be shown afterward to align.
Some ideas of how you might use this:
- In a discovery meeting with a client, if an expert is explaining an architecture to your team. The whole team should individually draw up that architecture on their own. At different points, they should align their drawings to see how closely they understood the architecture and clarify any misunderstandings.
- When having a meeting about new features with a client and they know the UX well, instead of asking to see the designs, ask them to explain it to you and draw it. You can then refer to the designs to see how closely they align.
We named a process after this principle, called a "wash-up". It was a 10-minute session reserved at the end of specific meetings (usually ones that involved a lot of design, creativity, or were information-dense) where people could share what they had understood.