27 03, 2019

Your organizational structure defines your project deliveries

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The structure of your organization limits or enables your ability to deliver and meet your customer needs. If you are siloed across the organization and the products are built within the silos then that is what your customer encounters. The customer will feel the walls and boundaries as they interact with your company.

This stilted experience is not a good experience. Break down the silos, organize around your customer and deliver what they need.

27 03, 2019

Your organizational structure defines your project deliveries

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The structure of your organization limits or enables your ability to deliver and meet your customer needs. If you are siloed across the organization and the products are built within the silos then that is what your customer encounters. The customer will feel the walls and boundaries as they interact with your company.

This stilted experience is not a good experience. Break down the silos, organize around your customer and deliver what they need.

26 03, 2019

Design for less plastic going to the transfer station

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I have no good solutions for plastic. We have a lot of plastic. There is a little reuse of the containers but not enough to matter. I have yet to see a good version of something useful.

I once saw the ability to cut bottles into long strings of plastic but it was too labor intensive. Cool idea if I could stick the bottle in a machine and get string.

Maybe it could be chopped into tiny bits and could be used like mulch in planters to keep the moisture in and the weeds down.

I am not sure though. Do you have any ideas?

24 03, 2019

Design for less at the transfer station (aka the dump)

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I have been fascinated by the idea of how to have a minimum impact outside of my property. I am far from net zero but I have been exploring basic things I can do.

My transfer station splits things into: garbage, paper, card board, 1-2 plastics, 3-7 plastics, metal, and glass. There are others but those are the standard visits.

The station is $110 a year. The garbage is $10 a bag and I hate going. In addition, I refuse to pay for the truck to come to my house. So I have been playing with the trash and recycling for years to make a simple system that impacts my family little but reduces what gets to the transfer station.

First thing is, we have flower gardens all around the house so I created compost piles. The compost is all the yard refuse and the food waste from the house. So in the house the garbage is split into two: 1) dry non-compostable garbage in the trash compactor and 2) compostable food waste, napkins and packaging.

Using a trash compactor with no food waste allows us to compact garbage for a family of four from three to four weeks before requiring removal. The food waste is collected in a twelve gallon container with lid under the sink. It’s collected over two to three weeks before removal. If these were combined in a garbage bin they may last two to three days at most. Then it would also require weekly visits to the transfer station.

This method worked well for a long time. Everything else was put into recycling bins in a bench in the kitchen. So every three to four weeks I would make a visit to the station.

Now […]

22 03, 2019

Human error in plane crash was the designers’

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25 years ago I studied about the designs of planes that made the state of the plane opaque to pilots. The user interface was so bad that the pilots fought with the autopilot and the plane would flip over.

Here we are 25 years later and I am reading articles where people are blaming pilots for human error.

The errors were design errors. The company knew it. They decided to solve the problem by training or selling the solution. That is the human error.

We know how to do better

21 03, 2019

When we ask people to estimate their performance …

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Ignorance breeds confidence in all of us. Research was done on many college students. It was found that the more ignorant you were on a topic the less ability you have in comparing your abilities with others. So much so that typically people who score in the bottom 25% will say that they believe that they are around 60-75% or around the majority.

An interesting effect also happens in reverse with people who do score well (>90), they believe that more people are like them and say that they are around 80%. They are more critical of their abilities and display less confidence when comparing themselves.

It appears that when we ask people about their performance, where ever they are on the spectrum they try to place themselves around the mean.

Remember this the next time you are interviewing someone.
Do not ask about how someone thinks they perform you will always tend to the mean … but it not true for good or poor performers.

If you prefer ignorance listen to:

In defense of ignorance – This American Life

20 03, 2019

I am surprised that John Maeda has such a narrow definition of design

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“designers have an invisible language about what good design looks like based on a history and experience that they tend to privilege”
John Maeda: “In reality, design is not that important”

Good design does NOT equal pretty aesthetics in product design. Several times through the article he references design in this fashion. How a product looks can cover up and give an initial impression of a cool product. However, that is only one of many aspects of product design.

My perspective of design expects an integration of the business, technology and the user. Without all three aspects you cannot have good product design. Product design requires the roles of product manager, system architect and user experience designer working together to explore define the problem, aggregate the knowledge and explore the solution space.

In any one of these roles leaders can emerge. In any one of these roles the players can get lost in their own stuff and not be great leaders.

So why can’t you have a design led organization?

Because if you, like John describes, reduce design down to pretty then you are going to be a very one sided leader that will miss the interconnections.

19 03, 2019

Organizational design is essential for product delivery

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Design is stuck in marketing. Architecture is hidden in development. Product management is also in product marketing or is nominally independent within engineering.

None of this works very well. The goals of engineering and marketing are very different from product. Sticking the product people, product managers, user experience designers and system architects, in the engineering or marketing does not set the organization up for the best solution.

Product should be it’s own organization. Product should be at the table between marketing and engineering. The tension and purpose is good for the organizativa.

Product managers should understand the users and technology as well as focus on the business and how to communicate what the business needs. System architects should understand the business and users as well as exploring the technical possibilities to deliver the solutions. The user experience designers need to understand the business and limitations of the technology as they explore the solutions that meet the users needs and desires.

Everything the product manager, system architect and user experience designer does is completely intertwined and should be done together. All three are needed to create the best products and services.

18 03, 2019

Who knows the most about your customer?

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Customer service?

Professional services?

Sales?

Marketing?

Customer research?

At this point I am thinking, why isn’t it the product and services team. The product and services team are responsible for creating what the customers are buying and using. They should be the customer experts. They should be gathering customer data from all the other parts of the organization as well as observing the customers in action themselves.

15 03, 2019

Designers doing redesigns of how to design

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As I reach 25 years of doing design for enterprise software, I am wondering where all the designers are redesigning the way to do design.

I have seen many approaches come and go but lately there seems to be a groupthink seeping in. I see a lot of motion, doing UX and using the same tools, hoping for pretty goodness. Design ideas and innovation has given way to a tool driven convenience and mediocrity.

Do we really need so many design specialists? Do we really need product managers and designers? They are specialists on specialists. Why? Because software developers were leaving out the appropriate inputs from the business, market and users so specialists were brought in.

So in the ideal world we could gather all the user data, business data and present it in a way that was consumable for developers. Would they do better than product managers and designers today?

Why wouldn’t it be better to have the whole design with the engineers if they had all the information they needed in a way they could consume it?

So is the goal to have a better design or to have a role where you get to noodle on your craft? Let’s challenge this constraint and redesign for better design.