Lean design for entrepreneurship

I was reading about and watching some Youtube videos about lean entrepreneurship. The ideas that were in there are not much different from what you encounter in some of the conversations about agile and lean software development. With each of these things there seems to be something missing. Because the whole idea of lean is that you start with an idea and you create multiple prototypes. You learn from the prototypes and then you keep building.
The problem I have with this process is: how do you know if the idea you begin with is the correct idea?

It seems to me that is an awfully costly endeavor to go and build a prototype on the wrong idea when there are many cheap and efficient ways to find a better idea. Industrial design and inventors, for hundreds of years, have been doing different ways of generating and narrowing down ideas.Typically design uses the concept of going through sketches and small prototypes, comparing those sketches to each other to see what works and what doesn’t work in each of the sketches.Narrowing it down to those that you want to prototype and then you build from there.

You should be able to create different levels of prototypes. Lo-fidelity prototypes is the term used in design. These prototypes maybe on paper, blocks of wood, clay or a simulation. With these prototypes, you can create them and bring in front of a potential users and get feedback without a huge amount of costs and time in order to do it. This process reduces costs and and time involved in order to test the solutions put forth.

The process of lean entrepreneurship would be much more efficient and much more cost-effective if sketching […]

By |October 29th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Cyclical nature of design in a software company

How do you handle the cyclical nature of design in your company? Every software company I have been in, the design projects are like a snake swallowing its food whole. One big project pushes through and then you just have to wait for it to digest.

The projects come in the beginning of whatever cycle engineering has whether it be 6mos, a month or 2 week sprints. Everyone wants some design but not everyone is ready. One team is ready and a big push is made. Research, analysis and design are done simultaneously as the team starts up again. Everyone is learning, everyone is ramping up and the push for the designs is made.

Taking on one, two or maybe three teams at a time is about all that one person can take on and do a good job. After the design is put forth work is needed to make production versions of the features developers are going to work on.

So the work shifts between user analysis and visioning, product analysis and simplification and inline production work. Visioning and simplification are intensive design efforts in short bursts and the inline productions are routinized and drawn out. Since engineering tends to be the larger and schedule driven part of the organization, all the design work is done in their cycles. Most companies I have worked for align all their development teams on the same cycles so you get peaks and valleys.

Would companies hire a design partner that trains and staffs themselves with designers? A design partner that creates a deep bench that can meet the peaks and lows as needed. Create a permanent relationship as if we were your only designers however we keep the designers fresh, […]

By |October 17th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Communication Tools at Work

Email still is the main tool for communication at work. Even with all the ports of social media to the enterprise, email is the core tool.

The are several problems with email that people are trying to solve with social media such as the asynchronous aspect of email and the heavy client on the machine as well as the coolness factor.

However, social media and email for that matter have the wrong object of communication. In the social media world the communication itself is the object. In the business world the “work” is the object of communication. We are not at work to chat with each other. We are there to get stuff done and we use all these things to communicate around the work.

Email has the problem that it is associated with the person not the work. If I were to design email from the ground up then I would focus it around the work unit.

The communication should be associated with the work unit, the PPT, web page, Photoshop file or whatever else you are working on. The communication should be stored in relationship with the work unit not with the person doing/receiving the communication.

Objects of work are usually associated or organized by projects and have a team of people associated. The communication needs to incorporate the team and all the project’s work objects.

How can we design a communication tool that is associated with the context of the work you are […]

By |October 3rd, 2012|Ideation|0 Comments