Goodbye RSA

After a year and a half, it’s time for me to say goodbye to RSA. It’s been 18 months and I’ve grown a lot while working here. I’ve learnt a lot more than I thought I would. It’s reinforced a lot of ideas and thoughts I had about the industry and my place in it. But it’s also turned a lot of these on their head and surprised me.

The RSA Digital team at a party.

Collaborating in multi-disciplinary teams

One of the most exciting parts about working at RSA was working as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Working with UX and UI designers, data analysts and other content designers opened my eyes. It’s shown me how quickly we can solve problems and how much better my writing can be in that environment.

Being able to see the content within the visual design really helps. It focuses the message and allows us to understand the context in which the user will see it. This has often meant reworking the content – but this is perfect. This iterative approach is the best way to work. I can quickly drill into the fine detail, tuning it to the needs of the user.

It’s also just really fun to work on tough problems with a group of clever, talented people.

Me, looking particularly heroic, doing a beach clean for a Volunteer Day. Me, writing notes from user testing results.

Working with stakeholders

Although I’d worked with stakeholders at the Valuation Office Agency, at RSA it was completely different. The reasons that drive everyone in the business are different. There’s numbers, bottom lines and wider concerns that all need to be considered. This means that not everyone is as interested in the small wording details as I am. It also means there can be a lot of voices and opinions on one thing.

I won’t lie – this was frustrating. But it was also a valuable lesson. I had to learn to pull myself back from my work, understanding that feedback isn’t a personal attack. I had to remember it’s a collaborative effort. There were some bumps in the road, it’s difficult. But this has taught me a lot about myself and helped me develop that skill.

I also had to understand that a lot of what we were trying to do was radical and new for the stakeholders. This meant what we thought was obvious wasn’t so clear from the outside. We had to help teach the stakeholders and “bring them on the journey”.

How did we do this? We showed them our competitor research, invited them to usability sessions and kept them in the loop. We included the stakeholders throughout the decision-making process. This way they felt they were being heard and could offer their insight and experience.

It’s still a skill I’m working on, but I’m definitely wiser about how to go about it.

The RSA Digital team at the pub.

👋

I’ve only worked at RSA a relatively short time, but I’ve learnt a tremendous amount. This is because of the incredibly talented people I’ve worked with. Although I’m saying goodbye to RSA, I’m not saying goodbye to the friends I’ve made. I’m now looking forward to working on new problems and learning even more.


This article was originally published on Medium on 1 March 2019.