2 05, 2019

Cognitive dissonance is when your boss tells you to stop looking for coworkers who have a passion for user experience.

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She tells you that it is our job to just tell the software engineers what to do and they will do it.

And then she wonders why the user experience of the product is not what is expected when people are selected to work on projects because they have a pulse but no interest.

Since when do people do a good job because you tell then they have to?

30 04, 2019

3 things your team can do to leap frog your competition

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You could hire designers to create that new thing. Or you could add these three things to your current process and do better.

  1. Observe your customers in action… Do not interview, observe
  2. Validate solutions and priorities with your customers.. do not just make it up
  3. Test what is being built at least every two weeks… Do not wait until the solution is complete

It sounds so simple, but your competitors are not doing this. So do it and jump right past them.

29 04, 2019

Discipline in discipline. Keeping organized, good use of time, maintaining the drum beat of a practice

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I struggle with doing the same thing for long periods of time. I prefer the new, the chaos, and the freshness of learning something new. Perhaps that is why I like product design.

Recently I decided to try writing on a daily basis. This is difficult. The way I am approaching it is that it is an opportunity to learn every day. So I start with either something that triggered me during the day, something that I have read, or another inspiration. I take the inspiration and research and explore some more.

The act of writing helps me think about and consolidate my thoughts. I find the practice provides learning with more regularity than without.

With a little discipline hopefully I can maintain some discipline.

26 04, 2019

4 leadership lessons: pursue operational excellence, project humility, facilitate communication, streamline decisions

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Bill Cambell teaches executives:

  1. Pursue “operational excellence. Focus on the processes, prepare for all meetings: staff and one-on-one, hold people accountable and compensate well.”
  2. “Project humility. Show a selflessness, that projects that you care about the company and about the people.
  3. “Facilitate open honest communication. It is “better for arguments to be heated but honest so a best idea or solution can surface, than for conversation to simply be passive-aggressive and for people to talk past each other”
  4. “Streamline decisions. Help create the process and culture for doing so. The goal is to provide a safe environment to air ideas and to get the best one.”

From the article:
Leadership Lessons From A Football Coach Turned Silicon Valley Executive in ‘Trillion Dollar Coach’ – By Frances Bridges

24 04, 2019

How can user research inform innovation?

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3 points Lisa deBettencourt (@ldbett) shared in her review of the MITX panel she was on.

  1. When large organizations stay to use customer knowledge to inform innovation they “face new problems of managing access and distribution of insights at scale.”
  2. “discovery, synthesis, and decision making process itself and can be distributed in real-time.”
  3. The best way to leverage user researchers is to have them “perform research to inform business decisions, as well as teaching and coaching others”
23 04, 2019

What do winners say when they fail?

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I have been watching the interviews around professional sports. All teams have losses and some have streaks. This always frustrates fans and the media relishes the opportunity to ask about it.

What I find interesting is that the response of the best teams seems to be the same across football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. Whether talking to the coach, the star player or a rookie they all say a variation of the same thing.

“We need to do better.”

It is simple but so telling. “We” focuses on the team as a whole (not pointing anyone out). “Do” is the action (instead of try). “Better” acknowledges the opportunity to improve.

This is perfect thing to tell other people. Then leave the details and critique to the internal review as a team.

We can do better.

22 04, 2019

You know what your telling me when you say that your product needs the Wow factor?

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Your product is long in the tooth and you have no idea what your customer wants. So it always seems like a good idea to sprinkle a little UX dust on the product and wallah! Wow!

It is true that ensuring that the visuals of the product are current and modern will remove a barrier in the sales process. It is also true that a clean modern looking UI will go a long way for hiding basic usability issues. People will believe that the modern UI is better than others that look less modern.

That said, wow that is pretty, is not the sensation your users want to have configuring all the pages in the application. Nor are they looking for pretty while maintaining and troubleshooting their application.

Think about it. If you are the admin for an enterprise application is pretty the wow you are looking for? Or does this person want an application that makes his job easy and makes him look good.

Observe your users. Notice all the people and things they have to interact with. Make that simple and convenient.

What kind of time pressure are they under and how do their tools help or hinder them? What happens when they are late? What can you do to alleviate these pressures?

Observing your users will tell you more about their needs then any Wow facelift can ever solve.

21 04, 2019

Goodness and kindness at work

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Care, friendliness, goodwill, mercy, goodness and kindness are all attributes of ourselves. This week we need to take the opportunity to explore this at work. Recognize the people we work with and provide chesed (loving kindness).

Here are some questions that the Meaningful Life Center asks (with changes to fit the work environment):

  • What is my capacity to provide care and kindness another person?
  • Do I have problems with giving?
  • Am I stingy or selfish?
  • Am I afraid of my vulnerability, of opening up and getting hurt?

Counting the Omer – the Meaningful Life Center

20 04, 2019

Looking for talent

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The best leaders hire talent not experience.

When hiring make the distinction between traits and states.

  • Traits are fixed and are what define a person
  • States are changeable

Detail oriented and introvert are traits where as knowledge and skills are states. People can improve their knowledge and skills but not their traits.

Talent is a pattern of specific traits that a person has. So focusing on the person’s traits and identifying the talents your team needs is key to hiring. You want the best talent for your team.

Listen to this interview:

Episode #305: Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall – A Leader’s Guide To The Real World (Break All The Rules)

18 04, 2019

Working in your headspace

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Has anyone used the Headspace app. I read this article in Forbes: 3 Ways The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Uses Mindfulness To Be At The Top Of Their Game.

My daughter and I love watching the US women’s soccer team. These powerful women are great role models. This article talks about how just the physical side is not enough for performing well at sports. The mind is just as important.

“From improving resiliency and mental grit, to harnessing the ability to focus and let go …”

So even though the whole article was an advertisement it is still intriguing.