When in a role where you oversee other designer/developers and help mould the companies use of technology it is important to be like a sponge when it comes to researching new techniques and ways of working.
I am currently reading Sprint by Jake Knapp (thanks for bringing it to my attention @sean_uk) and came across the concept of 'Crazy 8s'. I think this method offers a really great, quick way for designers to validate their ideas before they commit to their design programme of choice or start writing some code.
The concept is simple. You take the idea you intend to work up into a concept or design and then iterate 8 alternatives in 8 minutes.
It forces you to move past your initial assumptions (which may well be correct) and consider alternative solutions.
I'm crazy me...
I am not a big fan of the name, which refers to the speed at which you have to work through the ideas but love the concept. Perhaps "Valid8s" is how I might refer to them going forward.
These designs are not to share with others for critique but just to validate the idea before you commit time and effort.
How do you do it?
Simply fold a piece of A4 paper 3 times in order to make 8 rectangles. Then set your phone timer to 60 seconds and work through the panels producing quick rough alternative sketches.
This method could also work for straplines, call to action buttons or even colour palettes!
As if often the case you may find that your initial hunch still stands, but for 8 minutes extra effort you have potentially saved yourself a world of pain when you realise your 75% complete design doesn't quite work and need to backtrack.