Early in my career, I mistakenly saw engineers as the opposition--a force that I had to aggressively fight to make sure my work was executed as I had designed. I've since learned that engineers should be your greatest ally and fellow "makers."
A few things I've learned:
- Treat engineers as designers; include them in major design decisions. After all, they are making your flat/static mockups come to life.
- Make your design philosophies known to your team. Articulate the "why's" of your design decisions.
- Provide as many deliverables and resources to your team as possible. The more they see user flows and interaction, there will be less misunderstanding during product development.
- Be accessible. Sit with engineers, be available at any moment on chat or email. Even after thinking through many different scenarios in your mockups/prototype, there will still be unforeseen questions that arise during development.
- Finally, remove the "us and them" image from your mind. First and foremost, you are a team working towards the same goal: to build a useful, compelling product.
What's your experience with working with engineers and product managers? What has helped you collaborate more effectively?
(I love my team. For fun, I created personal brand identities for my teammates: http://dribbble.com/shots/1488583-Team-Member-Identities)