The product design process at it’s best is fast and collaborative. Through eight years as a user experience designer in Silicon Valley, two years as a design teacher at Carnegie Mellon University, and eight more years as a visual designer in New York, I’ve developed a collaborative design practice and a methodology. When building healthy design teams, I teach these practices.
Defining the Skillsets to Hire
This workshop teaches product teams how to agree about skills to hire for and judge candidates against. Often, team members value different attributes, and this can lead to candidate churn and wasted interview time. Aligning before recruiting saves time and brings focus.
Envisioning a Career
This workshop focuses on what job makes sense next. It covers designers ideal work situation and breaks the ideal down in simple attributes to pattern match with when looking to advance within a company.
This workshop teaches the basics of facilitating a meeting confidently and to the service of everyone gathered. It covers best practices, pitfalls and practice sessions.
Group Decision Making Best Practices
This workshop covers how and why people make decisions as individuals and in a group. Design is so often the moment when competing visions from leadership funnel into one model and progress stalls. This workshop covers the best techniques to help teams make decisions together: Being heard, HIPPO, 2x2s, dot voting, large groups, pitfalls.
Scoping Best Practices
This workshop teaches product teams to facilitate effective scopings and kick-offs with stakeholders. It focused on connecting business goals, user problems, technical constraints, and lean hypotheses.
User Research & Lean Experiments
To fully understand the user’s needs, to make a persona and to explore a problem space, teams need to hear stories from users about their expectations and challenges in a given area. This workshop focuses on developing a hypothesis into a script and running interviews.
After a team has a sense of what solution they’d like to build, a round of “validation interviewing” is often appropriate. Validation interviews are conducted if there are portions of the product or idea that are high risk. During this workshop, we test sample prototypes with users to practice the dos and don’t of validating products.
After user interviews (validation or exploratory), the information collected from each user is pattern matched to other users, compared to product and testing goals and used to inspire action items. In this workshop, we use sample data to practice these synthesis techniques.
Assumptions & Experiments
Janice and Jason Fraser developed this workshop. It covers a Lean approach to making products by exploring the most significant assumptions that could kill a product or idea, and exploring low-cost ways to prove or disprove the product assumption.
The common denominator of communication between all roles is words. This workshop covers a very structured word-focused way to collaborate and agree on user experience. Agreement early in the design process via words saves hours of wireframing, redlining, reviewing and updating. In the workshop, a team writes a story of usage from the user’s point of view.
Many products are experiences that stretch over an extended timeframe or flow through many different physical touchpoints and software systems. For example, getting on an airplane involves a kiosk, baggage person, printing a pass, a security checkpoint and so on. The entire experience with the airline and flight is wrapped up in these steps. This workshop focuses on visually mapping out systems with multiple touchpoints while working with a team.
Design Review Best Practices
A design review with team members and stakeholders outside of design can be a stressful meeting where expectations may not be met or designs may not be understood. This workshop covers best practices in communicating design outwards and upwards in an organization.
This covers a group technique in creating provisional and final personas when working cross-functionally with product managers, engineers, and stakeholders.
This covers a group technique for ideating rough drafts of wireframes while working cross-functionally with product managers and engineers. It saves times to learn of the expectations around wireframes by making rough drafts together.
This covers best practices with pairing in design through the prototyping, wireframing and visual design stages.