Amy Kidd - Mini UPA - Peer Coaching


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Slides from the Peer Coaching talk at Boston's 2008 UPA Mini-Conference.

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  • Amy Kidd - Mini UPA - Peer Coaching

    1. 1. Peer Coaching A Simple & Effective Way for User Experience Teams to Help Each Other Amy Kidd UPA Boston Mini-Conference May 28, 2008
    2. 2. The Story of Peer Coaching or Who, What, When, Where, How, & Why (reordered) <ul><li>Who ..? </li></ul><ul><li>Where did it happen? </li></ul><ul><li>Why did we do it? </li></ul><ul><li>When did all this happen? </li></ul><ul><li>What is peer coaching? </li></ul><ul><li>How did it go? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Who…? <ul><li>Amy Kidd </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Senior Team Lead at The MathWorks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bentley MS HFID grad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Who…? <ul><li>The MathWorks Usability Group </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participated, gave great feedback, and made this program possible </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Who…? And, I had lots of extra help from Portia O’Callaghan & Michelle Erickson
    6. 6. Where did this happen? <ul><li>The MathWorks makes software for technical computing and Model-Based Design </li></ul><ul><ul><li>90+ products including MATLAB and Simulink </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1800+ employees worldwide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Private company headquartered in Natick </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Usability/User Experience at The MathWorks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 35 Usability professionals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrated part of Development process and teams </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Why did we do it? <ul><li>Lots of reasons … </li></ul><ul><li>growth </li></ul><ul><li>coaching </li></ul><ul><li>design reviews </li></ul><ul><li>cross-team interaction </li></ul><ul><li>leverage our team </li></ul>
    8. 8. Why…? Growth <ul><li>Rapid growth of our group over 5 years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5 team members -> 35 team members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1 team -> 5 distinct subteams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many team members here for less than 1½ years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This brought challenges… </li></ul><ul><li>Strong company culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Best way to learn and adapt is by working with “old timers” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wanted more long-term partnerships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Existing “new hire buddy” program not enough </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Needed to leverage senior team members for coaching </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hiring more junior Usability professionals </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Why…? Coaching <ul><li>To provide additional avenues for coaching </li></ul><ul><li>Management bandwidth increasingly limited </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase in staff, hiring efforts, other initiatives… </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Why…? Design reviews <ul><li>To encourage use of one-on-one design reviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve deliverables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforce company core value </li></ul></ul>“ Continuous Improvement and Pursuit of Excellence”
    11. 11. Why…? Cross team interaction <ul><li>To encourage more cross-subteam interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build relationships within the larger Usability group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage consistency in design processes and standards </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Why…? Leverage our team <ul><li>To better leverage our team’s variety of skills and expertise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many years of experience, on many different kinds of projects, at many different companies, with many different academic backgrounds </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. When did this happen? <ul><li>Kicked off the program in April 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>6-month cycles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Today, 2 cycles complete, 3 rd in progress </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. What is peer coaching? A loosely structured way for pairs of coaching partners to support each other.
    15. 15. What…? Goals <ul><li>Use our skills to help each other </li></ul><ul><li>Use one-on-one design reviews to improve our work </li></ul><ul><li>Share ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Build relationships with other usability people </li></ul><ul><li>Learn about projects outside our areas </li></ul>
    16. 16. What…? Partners <ul><li>Goals for creating pairs of coaching partners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each person paired with someone from a different subteam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New hires paired with someone at the company for at least 1 year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Junior team members paired with more senior team members </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Added 2 additional considerations after the 1 st 6-month cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each person should have a new partner for the next 6 months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals can make requests for specific partners (but there are no guarantees) </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. What…? Changing partners <ul><li>Assigning new partners for each six-month cycle is important </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotes relationship building - everyone gets to know someone new </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accommodates changes in staffing – we can handle the addition of new hires or occasional departure of a team member </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for adjustments - if someone is dissatisfied they will get a new partner at the end of the six month cycle </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. What…? Assigning partners <ul><li>Find out who is participating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation optional </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Program coordinators draft initial list of partners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Using guidelines and partner requests </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Review list with management team </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Managers know their direct reports best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make adjustments based on strengths or improvement areas </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. What…? Suggestions for pairs <ul><li>Meet with your partner for 1 hour every other week </li></ul><ul><li>Each should get ½ the meeting to focus on their work </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What you’ve done in the past 2 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Top 2-3 challenges for the upcoming weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bring an artifact for your partner to design review </li></ul><ul><li>Use your partner for design reviews or to bounce ideas around when opportunities arise between peer coaching meetings </li></ul>
    20. 20. What…? 1 st meeting checklist <ul><li>Checklist to help new partners kick off a 6-month cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn about each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What groups do you support? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are your current projects? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What usability methods are you using or learning about? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set goals for your peer meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Write down specific goals for the next 6 months and keep copies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set up meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Determine how often and when to meet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Schedule recurring meetings for the next six months </li></ul></ul></ul>
    21. 21. What…? Managing six-month cycles <ul><li>Kick-off a cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create coaching pairs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Roll out program goals, partners, and guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage partners to schedule 1 st meeting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wrap-up a cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collect feedback on program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respond to feedback with changes as needed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collect partner requests for next cycle </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. How did it go? <ul><li>Feedback collected after each 6-month cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey all participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How often pairs met and results obtained </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How well the program met goals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Areas for improvement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Success stories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anecdotal reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Results used to answer 2 primary questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should we continue the program for another 6 months? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What changes should we make for the next cycle? </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. How did it go? Survey results The following slides summarize combined results of surveys for 2 six-month cycles.
    24. 24. How did it go? Overall rating Overall how would you rate your experience with the peer coaching program? Note: Several respondents agreed with one who said “I'd have given Good if that was a rating. Very good and excellent seem similar to me”. This will be changed on future surveys.
    25. 25. How did it go? Overall experience <ul><li>Overall how would you rate your experience with the peer coaching program? </li></ul><ul><li>Response themes: </li></ul><ul><li>65% of the participants rated their first six month peer coaching experience Very Good or Excellent. </li></ul><ul><li>Most participants enjoyed the program and felt it was worth continuing. </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes from participants : </li></ul><ul><li>“ Best idea since I came - and there is a lot of good competition!” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It's definitely worth another round.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I strongly support the program…” </li></ul>
    26. 26. How did it go? Goals We started the peer coaching program with 5 goals. Based on your experience, please rate how well the program missed or achieved each goal.
    27. 27. How did it go? Goals <ul><li>Based on your experience, please rate how well the program missed or achieved each goal. </li></ul><ul><li>Response themes: </li></ul><ul><li>Each pair felt they achieved a subset of the goals fairly well, but no pair felt they were able to achieve all of the program’s goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes from participants : </li></ul><ul><li>“Just to explain: I gave 'missed completely' score for 'use design reviews' and 'share ideas'. This is because we didn't get to these activities during the meetings we had.” </li></ul>
    28. 28. How did it go? Pluses <ul><li>What did you like best about your peer coaching experience? </li></ul><ul><li>Themes in Responses: </li></ul><ul><li>People enjoyed meeting with/getting to know someone from outside their sub-team </li></ul><ul><li>People enjoyed learning about the talents of their peers </li></ul><ul><li>People liked getting advice and feedback from someone else </li></ul>+
    29. 29. How did it go? Pluses <ul><li>What did you like best about your peer coaching experience? </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes from participants : </li></ul><ul><li>“ I like getting the perspective of someone who is here at this company but in different groups and can look at things objectively. And everyone has something extra to bring to the table, which is nice.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Getting insight into their work, issues and their best practices. [My partner] is a highly organized colleague so it was insightful to see the tools she uses to support that style of work.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I got a chance to get to know someone from the other team, I got to benefit from [my partner]'s technical expertise, and I learned about projects going on in other areas of the company.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I liked reviewing my plans with [my partner]. It was good to get another person to validate and provide feedback.” </li></ul>+
    30. 30. How did it go? Changes <ul><li>What should we change about the peer coaching program? </li></ul><ul><li>Themes in responses: </li></ul><ul><li>Find a way to help folks prioritize this effort and make time to meet or change recommended frequency of meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Making participation opt-in </li></ul><ul><li>Share agendas, ideas for things to talk about, etc. to help folks structure their meetings </li></ul>D
    31. 31. How did it go? Changes <ul><li>What should we change about the peer coaching program? </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes from participants : </li></ul><ul><li>“I'd like the option to opt-out sometimes.” </li></ul><ul><li>“I don't know if this is a program change, but I think my peer and I could do a better job of setting agendas for our meetings. We have been winging it and in that way may be missing out on things we should be discussing.” </li></ul><ul><li>“We never had a second meeting; we scheduled and rescheduled several times because we're both so busy. I am guilty of seeing the need to schedule one more meeting with someone as more of a burden than an opportunity at times…” </li></ul><ul><li>“Beat the drum louder. It's great!” </li></ul>D
    32. 32. How did it go? Lessons learned <ul><li>Things we changed based on feedback from 1 st cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Added option to “opt out” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Added option to request a partner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Added recommendation for coaching pairs to set their personalized goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Created 1 st meeting checklist and additional suggestions for pairs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Making time for peer coaching is challenge – it’s often an easy thing to cancel during a busy week </li></ul><ul><li>(and most weeks are busy) </li></ul>
    33. 33. How did it go? Success stories <ul><li>2 individuals have kicked off a large scale effort to focus on cross-product workflow usability </li></ul><ul><li>One individual new to the field had the opportunity to work with a seasoned mentor </li></ul><ul><li>Several pairs have continued their partnerships with ongoing coaching and design reviews </li></ul>
    34. 34. How did it go? Overall results <ul><li>We’re very happy with the program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recently kicked off 3 rd peer coaching cycle with 76% of team participating </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Others in our organization are considering trying peer coaching </li></ul><ul><li>We are still trying to understand why using one-on-one design reviews to improve work is the least met goal </li></ul>
    35. 35. Questions? For more information or electronic copies of this presentation and other program documents, email me: [email_address]