Jan 27, 2015

Frustration Is Part of the Process

Jeph Kryzak
Abby Davis

Jeph Kryzak and Abby Davis

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In my experience, it’s rare for a project to be smooth sailing from start to finish. There are hiccups, setbacks, meltdowns, errors, and oversights that inevitably work their way into virtually every project. This is true whether you’re a designer, developer, manager, or pirate. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at what you do, necessarily. But one thing is for sure: It. Is. Frustrating.

These things happen all the time and I have no interest in telling you how to prevent such issues. There are forests of books and miles of scrolling online that can help with approaches, processes, methodologies, and communication. However, since no resource can completely keep frustration from finding its way into your project, I would much rather tackle the response when it happens.

Don’t activate your frustration, anticipate it.

Not too long ago I spent the better part of a week working on a feature for a new application. Days were dedicated to research, hours implementing options, trial and error, and eventually a usable solution. As the finish line for this task was in sight, I learned that the feature was getting cut. All my hard work and the completed solution were for nothing.

Things like this are not all that uncommon. In fact, considering how often they do happen, it’s surprising so many people haven’t learned to roll with these punches. But we see negative reactions to this all the time. Co­workers stressing out, getting upset, or perhaps making unproductive comments. Easily frustrated people are not pleasant to be around, let alone work with.

Maintain a positive attitude and don’t let these inherent parts of your job bring you down. Anticipate frustration—it’s part of the process. Just this simple bit of expectation management can go a long way. The moment you learn about a new directive that diminishes your efforts, you have a choice about how you can respond. Simply recognizing the reality that these things happen can go a long way.

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