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Jony Ive and Craig Federighi Talk Collaboration in Full Businessweek Interview

bloomberg_92013Following last week’s cover story on Apple CEO Tim Cook, SVP of Design Jony Ive, and SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, Bloomberg Businessweek has published the full transcript of its interview with Ive and Federighi, which reveals even more about Apple’s leading trio and the work that went into Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 7.

According to Federighi, both he and Ive “wanted to do something big,” and had to figure out how to bring together various Apple teams that had not previously worked together. After a majormanagement restructuring last fall, Jony Ive took over Human Interface in addition to Industrial Design and Craig Federighi, who was previously in charge of OS X, took over iOS as well.

ID [Industrial Design] and HI [Human Interface] weren’t working together as much, and that became an intense collaboration, along with Engineering. These are teams that had a creative relationship going back a long time, but this became now a very intense relationship in the construction of iOS 7.

The mission, said Federighi, became “so clear and so critical” that “everyone who needed to contribute jumped in.” Ive agreed, adding that intense task of creating iOS 7 gave their teams an “all-consuming focus” that greatly enhanced collaboration.

When you think about the roles changing, I think what happens is you think about this as the task at hand. So I don’t think we ever talked about our roles. We talked about how we can most effectively extend the collaboration that always existed. […]

I think that when you have a focus that’s that clear, what could be barriers sort of real or virtual would—in effect, just [waves hands in a dissipating gesture]. And it’s not even a conspicuous fading away—it’s just you’re so consumed by sort of trying to do something as well as you possibly can and enjoying the broad collaboration.

In addition to a close collaboration between their teams, Ive and Federighi have worked hand-in-hand on iOS 7. The two sit within one minute of each other, with Ive describing their working relationship as “very fluid.”

At the end of the day, when you have been part of a team, getting to work with engineers working at that level or then can work with engineers who have been working on the gyro test, but we’re all trying to sort of deal with the same problem. The fact that we’re all united, that we are genuinely focused on trying to solve the same problem, I think those are the days that you go home feeling what a privilege it is to work at Apple.

Ive and Federighi also described what it’s like working for CEO Tim Cook. According to Ive, Cook is “incredibly supportive and understanding” of the problems Apple faces designing new products, and “he encourages the sort of collaboration and teamwork necessary to solve those problems.” Federighi agreed, calling him a “beacon for Apple’s values.”

I think Tim understands intuitively how what we do here is the product of so many disciplines working so closely together. And he does everything he can to foster that happening to create great products.

The full interview, which spans multiple pages, goes into further detail about the deep collaboration between the various teams at Apple and highlights the thought processes behind the development of Apple software.

Both Jony Ive and Craig Federighi were also interviewed by USA Today last week, further discussing their partnership and the development of iOS 7.