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Make it happen 2011

Next week I’ll be giving a talk and participating in a panel at the Design Management Institute’s Design/Management Thinking “Make It Happen” conference in Seattle. I’m excited about this event because they’ve framed it as:

We know quite well the value of Design to business, and Design Thinking to problem solving. But what remains a bit fuzzy for many organizations is the distance between thinking and doing—the proverbial gap between strategic intent and execution. Or, how to make it happen. This year’s design thinking conference will focus on closing the gap—and moving from design thinking to design doing.

What one actually does. I enjoy the conversations about design thinking but they tend to lead to a lot of hand waving and I have found many designers and specially young managers struggling to grasp just what it is they need to do (not just talk about) to produce the positive outcomes discussed in this context.

My talk, which could not have been more appropriately timed, will be a journey through my work at Comcast between 2004 and 2011. I’m going to talk about how the UXD practice was established, how it grew, changed and evolved over the years, and what impact it’s had in the company culture and products.

What aspects of this journey would YOU be interested in hearing about? DMI is recording the video for this session so you’ll have the opportunity to see it later in case you can’t make it to Seattle. Please let me know what points in this story you’d find most useful learning about or any questions you may have.

I’ll post a summary after I’m back. Thank you!

The 22 Minute Meeting

Today I came across this great Ignite talk by Nicole Steinbok on the 22 Minute Meeting (via Scott Berkun).

Simple, straightforward and embraces all dimensions that are relevant about meetings. I love how she used the hand-washing analogy. If you’re interested, join the Facebook page.

I translated it to Portuguese, just to exercise my language muscles. Download the PDF:

22 Minute Meeting

Project updates

I must have tried as many different ways as I have had projects in my career. I don’t know what is the problem, but I just suck at consistently keeping people informed in the same way.

The bigger problem is that if I am not providing updates to other people than it is likely I am doing a bad job keeping track for myself. That really should be the central reason for doing it in the first place but without external accountability I’m just a lazy ass.

Today I had 5 minutes so I decided to write my boss an email just to give him a glimpse into where I am with things. I used this model:

I am working on 7 projects at the same time right now at different stages of development so I wanted to give him just a taste of what is going on where.

Project name and a one liner about the last thing I accomplished was the bare minimum I thought was necessary. Two bullets indicating what is going to happen next and what risks may be incurred seemed to be the additional two most relevant pieces of information.

Finally, the red/yellow/green flags are really just to make the one page scan-able so he can see that I have 2 projects on green, 1 on yellow and 4 on red and without my whining – but knowing what the issues highlighted are – see that there are blockers or resource problems making that happen.

How do you keep people up to date about what you’re working on on a regular basis? How do you provide project updates to your peers and bosses?

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