Dashboards are not useful filled with summary charts

Grids of data are difficult to interpret. Dashboards of summary charts of that data are only one step better. It still takes time to look at and interpret what needs to be done.

Dashboards really should do the job of interpretation for the user. Show a list of the items that need to be done now. Display the items that are up next and that are approaching. Provide the ability to use the data to predict what-if scenarios.

Got a report? No one wants to wait. How do you keep everyone informed?

Research always seems to take too long and no one wants to wait. Managers ask for results or what the report is going to look like.

They got the money together and got the project rolling. Now they want to see something happening.

Just wait a couple more days or weeks is not going to do.

I have been very successful at this communication where the big report just won’t do. A good example was on a large project with a condensed schedule. The client paid for the product but usability testing failed. I had to redesign the product and ensure my company and the client were comfortable.

I did two things to ensure success:

  1. Involved everyone from the beginning and dragged them along
  2. Updated everyone continuously. No big report.

Everyone interested participated in the process whether it was validating ideas, scheduling people, attending sessions or doing the tests. This kept everyone aware.

After every interview, validation session or usability test I would gather three things to email at the end of the day:

  1. New – what was new, a surprise, or something that needed to be acted upon
  2. Problem – what did we miss, what was not correct, what needed immediate attention
  3. Monitoring – What were we monitoring that one person had mentioned? What are we watching to see if it is a common issue or the uniqueness of one or two people?

These three lists in an email at the end of a day with information gathered keeps all the people interested up to date. This also is very low overhead for a big impact.

How do you keep everyone informed?

What is strategy? I hear people say it all the time but I am not sure what they mean.

Strategy always comes across as something planned by the executives. We have our strategy for the next 5 years. I wonder if we are using strategy to mean objectives and goals.

I think that Ann Lantham does a good job describing the issue and definition of strategy in this Forbes article: What The Heck Is A Strategy Anyway?

My favorite quote is “A strategy is a framework for making decisions about how you will play the game of business.” This framework identifies what’s in and what’s out on key business aspects like customers, domains, industries, and business models.

6X cheaper to train internally than hire externally

We want our employees to learn 1% everyday. How do you get people to make the space in time to do it?

Provide training or motivate self driven training … Top down or bottom up?

We are looking for people to develop deeper expertise in an area or to broaden something they have. Going out to find a new employee is expensive. We need employees’ to step into these new roles that client has.

This article gives a taste of different approaches. We need to find one that is best for us.

HBR article
Making Learning a Part of Everyday Work

Starting a large project … Focus on outcomes

Every company encounters a large project that requires many people, lots of time, and a whole bunch of cash. These all create a lot of risk for the project so what should you do about it?

We hear people say that they want to improve the user experience or add new features or upgrade the technology. These are all useful but abstract.

If the project focuses on outcomes more concrete objectives and metrics can be applied. Using these metrics the team can be measured. By keeping the delivery timeframes small, such as biweekly, your organization can measure frequently and adjust as needed.

200 reasons to improve the system and not the behavior of people

I just heard this anecdote on the radio.

Today cars are 200 times safer (injuries per mile) than they were.

We did not try to teach Boston drivers to be better drivers. We changed the systems. The roads, the lights, the seat belts and air bags were all added and improved upon.

Sandro Galea spoke on WBH radio.

I am a big fan of the sailing metaphor when it comes to picking a point on the horizon, tacking towards it and then adjusting as you get closer and realize it is a rocky cliff and not a sandy beach.

What I want to do is to get orgs to agree to design the right thing. And that is a solution that we get from observing customers, knowing the business, understanding the technology.

With this information we can identify the destination on the horizon. With the destination as the guide we can tack back and forth with the agile execution. While executing we keep gathering user observations, business knowledge and technology insights.

On the other side is a product people will pay for and use… Guaranteed.

IxDA Boston event June 13th. The energy is back. People are psyched. Do not miss out. Featuring health centered design talk.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ixda-boston-re-launch-2019-tickets-62055227857

My job… Embedding customer obsession

The firm I work for, LeapFrog Systems, enables organizations to execute. We have teams that are embedded within customer organizations delivering at the product and executive levels.

My expertise is getting organizations to embed design into their way of working. How do you get an organization to change to adapt to a more external driven process?

How in this case do I get teams of people across different clients to obsess over their client? How do we turn this obsession about our clients into opportunities for us to meet their needs?

Amazon has a distributed model that expects teams to know their customer. They expect that their planning incorporates the customer. Then they expect the organization to make their plans from the teams who know their customer.

This resonates with me and I am go to explore this idea more within our firm.

If you have a better idea or have been practicing something that I can learn from, please share.

First big mistake when starting a new project… Lack of understanding and context

Many people want to start a new company or a new project because they have the next best idea, the next best technology, or a burning issue for themselves.

What every entrepreneur and intrapreneur needs is an understanding of the paying customer. They need to understand the context of their problems. With this context they can solve the thorniest of problems.

See this Forbes article: Five Mistakes Intrapreneurs Make When Trying To Change Their Companies