Designing an office space
As part of the design team in a developer-driven company, when it comes to anything that needs some sort of design, you'll definitely get dragged into that meeting.
I tried to think about why someone would drag a product designer into an area where, although aesthetics are discussed, it doesn't necessarily make you apt to do much.
We tried to understand their point of view and ultimately gave in. We took the task and did our homework on what the assignment would imply.
Fast forward 1 month into the work, we found ourselves receiving random and often opposing ideas, getting our scope of work even more blurred.
What we initially prepared for—learning what materials are right, what's comfortable, and what gives a cozy feeling—blew right out the window when we faced the real challenges. Filtering through the clutter, getting leadership back in sync, and on a single message and—I can claim this as my fault for ignoring the big red flag—settings the spending budget.
About two months were burned aimlessly because I skipped the stakeholder analysis phase. I can say that the result is decent, it's not our best work, but the lessons learned are more valuable.
Stick to the process, push back unrealistic deadlines, set the terms right (especially veto rights) because even though it's nice to work on a side project like this, you can get burned out.
Oh, and don't forget to set the budget.