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Boston (Salem) / Madrid VP of Product & Experience @ Vempathy // Data Viz & Product Geek // Adjunct Prof @ MICA and IE Business Joined over 4 years ago
Awesome indeed! Psyched to get our plugin out there :)
Ah, just go write a medium post at 10:30pm? Got it. Thx!! ;)
Thx for the recommendation!! :)
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The ability to prioritize is the number one skill of a product manager.
I co-authored the first Design Sprint book ( the "other less-popular" one ).
I was at a B2B SaaS company (Constant Contact, now part of Endurance) when I wrote it, we started it because in late 2012 there was maybe one or two blog posts from Jake and the GV team about sprints. We were doing them inside a larger organization and most of the posts at the time were about design sprint in startups so we started codifying our knowledge initially to train teams internally, and that ultimately lead to converting it into a book, cookbook how-to style. (more on that journey some other time).
I've personally led over 120 design sprints, mostly in large organizations and for a variety of topics, not just design or product, but service, technology, finance, HR, etc. We experimented with a zillion flavors of them: 1-day (too shallow), 3-day (maybe?), spread out over multiple weeks (don't bother), half-sprint (for ideation), etc in order to account for the enterprise culture of "I have no time" or "that's too much of my day." Some worked. Some didn't.
A few things I've learned: 1) There's no magic bullet. So many people look to mechanisms like this to solve much larger problems that may be around org structure, incentives, team makeup, product/technology performance, etc.
2) Timing: My colleague Jill Starret suggested a 10a-4p session, which worked wonders for many teams as it did take enough of the day to ensure focus, yet it allowed for individuals to still do their "day job" before and afterwards
3) Plan, plan, plan beforehand but improvise during. Get information up front and if you don't have enough research that first day will be a mess. Do a "research sprint" ahead if you need to.
4) Have a strong facilitator who is not a participant. Being a "Player-coach" is incredibly hard unless you have years of meeting facilitation experience.
5) A full design sprint is rarely followed by another full design sprint, usually iterations of adjusting the prototype according to what you learned from the test, updating any assumptions you have and then testing again for what you need to learn.
6) It's not about the outPUT of the sprint, rather it's about what you learned along the way.
This is the type of thread I'd love to see more of on Designer News: Curious, insightful, and open to differing viewpoints.
My career has been meandering and I didn't start out as a 20-something designer, I came into it "late" and while I was never a good visual designer, I wound up being pretty decent at UX, design research, and design strategy. (For those playing buzzword-bingo: You win!!)
I'm now an early 40-something leading the product, design, and experience parts of a small but growing business. Like others mentioned I'm not responsible for pixel-level execution, and more involved with team formation and helping them make the best decisions they can, while giving them opportunities to grow outside their comfort zones and expand their skill-sets.
In the past few years I've been adding ways to teach what I do via talks at conferences, writing books to codify it, and teaching at the university level as an adjunct at a few places. That's been really delightful and rewarding as I get older.
Not only the website, but the conference was incredibly well done!! (OK I'm biased, I gave a talk there)
Where the design community meets.
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