WordCamp Notes: The Biggest Design Problem I've Confronted Is Project Management - Chris Ford

September 29, 2018

guiding principles in design
#1 skill is EMPATHY
REALLY care about people
genuine interest

if i don't care about what you do, i won't care about you having a good experience while you DO it

#2 skill: communication
shared language
active listening

figuring out how to communicate while also applying design principles

create a SHARED language

when yr talking to someone, make it a priority: count how may times you say “i” in a conversation instead of "you"
"I've done that to, let me tell you MY story" -- bad
clients are paying you to LISTEN
active listening
if you’re empathetic, care about them, you can show that to them by actively listening, not just waiting to throw out a solution that they haven’t fully articulated yet
no one likes to feel stupid
when you’re communicating, TONE matters SO much
everyone has different skill sets, brings something different to the table
don’t have to AGREE with everyone, but ability to disagree respectfully is a huge component of communication

#3 skill: collaboration
sharing credit

group projects in high school = your grown up work life

EVERYONE participates
there's no such thing as "that's not my job"

"what do you think?"
get great conversations going amongst people
sharing credit

"design thinking"
idea that designers solve problems in a certain specific way

process #1 - define the problem
if you don’t know how people use stuff, you don’t know how/where it's broken

put everything on post-it notes and thrown them on the wall

a lot of time, what people tell you are the problems, aren’t actually the problems
WATCHING people will help you figure out the real problems
write those real problems down and stick them on the wall

if someone has a great idea on something that's "worked for them", write it down and stick it on the wall

then you can look at that wall and move things around
get a good business case

how do I make the case to someone that this is a good problem to solve?

process #2 - test EVERYTHING

-- designing a project management process never ends --

avoid assumptions
be perceptive
resist bias

I’m ONE of the people using it, but i'm not ALL of the peole using it

be perceptive
a lot people don't want to tell you when things aren't working
they don’t want to make you mad
watching people use things, see how they do things when they're testing (instead of just asking them) is invaluable

resist bias
I like to think I’m smart and my opinions are the best
a lot of times they aren't
not bringing those biases in as you’re testing comes in handy

#3 process -- iterate often
how do you communicate status?

small changes
frequent feedback

be ok with knowing nothing will ever truly be "final"
nothing is ever "done" in the web

people hate change

talking to both clients and devs that use the product
make sure the changes we make aren’t making things WORSE

small changes being canceled are easier to live with than huge changes that you've worked on for 9 months straight

patience -

visual hierarchy

make emails easy to read

bullet points, bold headings, etc

hyperlinks to more info

communicate what the stakeholder needs to know

3 levels of bullet points deep max, after that it gets a bit crazy

tip #2: use colors and icons
emoticons - eyeball for something that needs client review, etc.

if you log into Asana and see a bunch of red you might start to freak out
if you log in and see a bunch of green, you know everything is handled right now

tip #3 - use templates
design systems
google material design,
wordpress themes
asana project templates
email templates