At VidMob, values matter. Not just because we’re all committed to the same goals, like “using creativity as a force for good,” but because as a team, the way we interact with each other and our community actually means a lot too. As a result, we’re constantly working hard to support our customers, multiple meaningful causes, and each other.
With that in mind, VidMob’s product design team recently created a values charter — a set of values we want to follow as UX copywriters, designers, and researchers, as well as a team. Here’s how we settled on our values, and how we’ll look to bring them to life.
Building our team values
When we decided to write team values for VidMob UX Copy, a big milestone for a new business discipline, my teammate Sasha and I soon realized we were thinking too small. Instead of focusing on the qualities we wanted to embody as copywriters and VidMobbers, the exercise was an opportunity to define what makes our wider team — VidMob’s cross-functional product design practice — so special.
Better yet, as a growing, international group of colleagues, defining our values seemed like a great way to bring people together regardless of background, tenure, or location. Discussing our individual and communal work ethos would give us all an opportunity to talk about what we wanted the design practice to be known for. In the process, we’d learn more about each other as well as what sets us apart.
Ultimately, the hope was to settle on a list of values we could not only embrace and share, but identify with too. So we did just that.
The design process
A creative process in itself, designing our team values proved to be an exercise in ideation, copy, and design. By laying the foundation for how we operate as a discipline, we got to put the values we were building to the test. In turn, that process helped to clarify which ones held true.
First, our copy team presented the values we’d shortlisted to the wider team. We explained what each value meant to us as writers and colleagues, but also how we foresaw those values making a positive impact on VidMob, our products, and community.
Second, we asked the team to critique the values (something we also do for our designs and copy) and share ideas of their own. The goal was to narrow in on qualities anyone could identify with, regardless of discipline. Finally, after voting on a shortlist of high-level values, we regrouped to refine those ideas into our first team charter.
To complete the project, and with a strong organizational emphasis on visual design as much as copy, the charter was handed over to our Design Systems lead to bring it to life. At the same time, we explored ways to make the designed charter accessible to VidMob’s wider product organization, The Tripod, and beyond.
Taking time to design
Looking back, honing our final set of values took a few rounds of brainstorming, writing, and designing to complete — a tall ask for a busy team. To help everyone foster the right mindset throughout the process, we needed to ensure there was enough time allocated for ideation and review.
It took two months to reach the design stage in light of other deliverables. That’s OK. That timeframe gave us the breathing space to fully invest in each step of the journey. It created room to think both constructively and creatively around the problem, which kept us true to our roots..
Those conversations were an opportunity to discuss how we’d used similar charters in the past, and any lessons learned to apply going forward.
The importance of team values
As a recent addition to the team, codifying our team charter was a great way of getting to know my colleagues better. It also felt like an important first step in ensuring our team culture scales at a time when VidMob is undergoing tremendous growth. As we look to grow our team, those values can help us and candidates check if we’re a good fit.
Beyond Product Design, it’s safe to say VidMobbers of all kinds tend to value values. For example, the product organization, made up of product, engineering, and design, is built on team principles too. Our main motto: “Live and die by the Tripod,” is really just a reminder to adopt a team-oriented mindset. For the good of our users and products, as much as each other.
The fact that value even exists, and is public, makes us feel like we’re contributing to something greater than the sum of our parts. We’re building a community.
Aside from The Tripod, that ethos certainly holds true elsewhere at VidMob. 82% of the company participated in nonprofit projects via VidMob Gives in 2020, and attendance levels for our monthly diversity and social inclusion task force (known as ACTION) rival the weekly global call. Clearly, we all believe in doing good as much as business, a value that filters all the way back up to our mission statement.
In turn, that mindset bolsters our brand as much as our products. According to recent research, having a defined set of values can be a boon to customers as much as staff. Meanwhile, 63% of global consumers prefer to buy goods and services from brands with a strong sense of internal and external purpose. A true value chain.
Putting values in motion
While we’ve already put a lot of work into building our first set of team values, it’s just the beginning. Hopefully, they’ll hold true for some time to come, but that may not always be the case.
As our team grows, and takes on a wider range of disciplines and viewpoints, so our values will need to grow and adjust too. For that reason, the values give us an extra reason to check in with each other going forward.
Those checkpoints will be an opportunity to remind ourselves of the journey to date. They’ll help us to draw lessons and inspiration from how we continue to evolve as a design community. I for one can’t wait. Maybe that’s just as well… one of our team values is “iterative.”
About the author
Ruth Temianka leads VidMob’s UX Copy team. She finds words to help people do digital things. A seasoned storyteller and strategist, Ruth is also known for her work in tech, design, and food.