10 Colossal Screwups I Made While Building a Global Design Organization
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10 Colossal Screwups I Made While Building a Global Design Organization

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Learn the 10 Colossal Screwups I Made While Building a Global Design Organization. ...

Learn the 10 Colossal Screwups I Made While Building a Global Design Organization.

Presented at STLUX conference in St Louis on 3.14.14.

What happens when you take a job with a large corporation and the only goal is to scale like
crazy? Learn 10 great lessons I learned when I built a 160-person global Design/UX team in less than 4 years.

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10 Colossal Screwups I Made While Building a Global Design Organization 10 Colossal Screwups I Made While Building a Global Design Organization Presentation Transcript

  • The 10 Colossal Screwups I Made In Building a Global Design Organization A Cautionary Tale STL UX Conference 03.14.14 Bill Bulman Creative Director, Salesforce.com
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Who Am I? UX & Design for 19 years Last 10+ in Design Management Roles in Consultancies and Agencies Last 4 years @ Accenture/Avanade where I grew a global Design/UX Practice 0 – 165 team members 20M in yearly revenue 15 countries Now 8 months into doing the same at Salesforce.com
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Note NOTE: This is just a cautionary tale about how to grow a global consulting practice. I will not be talking about tools or getting into UX methods here.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: The 10 Screwups THE 10 COLOSSAL SCREWUPS
  • I LET GROWTH OF THE PRACTICE GET OUT OF CONTROL WITHOUT A LONG TERM VISION 10 Colossal Screwups: Growth Out Of Control
  • What Do We Want To Be When We Grow Up When growth is fast, it is easy to get caught up in the tactical issues, like hiring quotas and such. You also have to keep the end goal in mind, which obviously isn't just growth.   Develop a long term roadmap for the team with your direct reports and your management and review it bi-monthly as a team.   I LET GROWTH OF THE PRACTICE GET OUT OF CONTROL WITHOUT A LONG TERM VISION 10 Colossal Screwups: Growth Out Of Control
  • I LET GROWTH OF THE PRACTICE GET OUT OF CONTROL WITHOUT A LONG TERM VISION 10 Colossal Screwups: Growth Out Of Control Take The Team Drinking When dealing with different cultures, your teams may not be forthright and open about challenges and concerns. It’s not you. It’s a cultural thing. It’s a language thing. Most countries aren't like America, where everyone complains about everything.  Take them drinking and you'll get honest feedback
  • I LET GROWTH OF THE PRACTICE GET OUT OF CONTROL WITHOUT A LONG TERM VISION 10 Colossal Screwups: Growth Out Of Control Hubs & Spokes It’s easy to start opening offices, but it's hard to do it systematically. Try to find regional hubs to grow out of, and then open country-level offices. If not, you have 1-3 people here and 1-3 people there and no collaboration or growth plans.
  • TRADITIONAL METRICS DIDN’T HIGHLIGHT OUR SUCCESS AND I DIDN’T EMBRACE THE NUMBERS THAT COULD TELL A BETTER STORY 10 Colossal Screwups: Embrace The Numbers
  • TRADITIONAL METRICS DIDN’T HIGHLIGHT OUR SUCCESS AND I DIDN’T EMBRACE THE NUMBERS THAT COULD TELL A BETTER STORY 10 Colossal Screwups: Embrace The Numbers How Do I Even Open Excel? As designers, numbers are not our game. We traditionally focus on the other side of the brain.  This puts us at a disadvantage in the corporate world, where revenue/utilization equals growth.
  • TRADITIONAL METRICS DIDN’T HIGHLIGHT OUR SUCCESS AND I DIDN’T EMBRACE THE NUMBERS THAT COULD TELL A BETTER STORY 10 Colossal Screwups: Embrace The Numbers Create Fuzzy Math If you can’t use traditional ROI metrics to sell your case, find other ways to show your team’s value. If chargeability isn’t the story, show influence. If utilization is weak, show impact.  It’s all about using math to tell a better story.  Or just lie.
  • TRADITIONAL METRICS DIDN’T HIGHLIGHT OUR SUCCESS AND I DIDN’T EMBRACE THE NUMBERS THAT COULD TELL A BETTER STORY 10 Colossal Screwups: Embrace The Numbers If Revenue is Low, Show Influence or Assisted Sales If your Revenue is pretty minuscule or non-existent, it is hard to show impact.  During the startup phase of your team, you are most likely helping sell and win deals.  So track the deals you help win, even if there is a small UX effort.
  • WHEN TOLD TO SCALE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, YOU HIRE FAST, NOT SMART. SOME HIRES WERE AMAZING, SOME WERE NOT. 10 Colossal Screwups: Hire Fast, Not Smart
  • WHEN TOLD TO SCALE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, YOU HIRE FAST, NOT SMART. SOME HIRES WERE AMAZING, SOME WERE NOT. 10 Colossal Screwups: Hire Fast, Not Smart Hire Slow. Hire Right. If you are trying to scale fast, and hiring bodies equals fast, you are going to make mistakes.  Developing ways to combat this are key. Develop scenarios to put perspective employees into a real work situation.
  • WHEN TOLD TO SCALE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, YOU HIRE FAST, NOT SMART. SOME HIRES WERE AMAZING, SOME WERE NOT. 10 Colossal Screwups: Hire Fast, Not Smart Hire not for today, but for tomorrow. When you are trying to build a sustainable practice, you need to find people that are looking to grow with you. You need to have a solid career path for them, and it should be somewhat consistent globally.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Hire Fast, Not Smart Find Superstars and Support Them. When building out a new location, take the time to hire the right leader. They wont be found overnight, but have patience. Once you find the right leader everything will fall into place. WHEN TOLD TO SCALE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, YOU HIRE FAST, NOT SMART. SOME HIRES WERE AMAZING, SOME WERE NOT.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Hire Fast, Not Smart Deep Engagement Doesn't Happen From 7,000 miles away Flying in from the other side of the world makes it difficult to be deeply engaged with the client. You have to hire the right people and trust them to do the right thing for the team. WHEN TOLD TO SCALE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, YOU HIRE FAST, NOT SMART. SOME HIRES WERE AMAZING, SOME WERE NOT.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Hire Fast, Not Smart Get Your Leaders Together As Often As Possible Conference calls, even video conferencing is great, but it doesn't really build trust and friendships within people. Get your leadership team together as often as you can. Fight for it, Blackmail for it.  3 days together discussing challenges, is worth 1000 conference calls. WHEN TOLD TO SCALE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, YOU HIRE FAST, NOT SMART. SOME HIRES WERE AMAZING, SOME WERE NOT.
  • I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LIFE OF THE RECRUITER. 10 Colossal Screwups: The Life Of The Recruiter
  • I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LIFE OF THE RECRUITER. 10 Colossal Screwups: The Life Of The Recruiter Many recruiters lack of understanding of design and UX Most recruiting teams for large organizations are not used to recruiting for designers, researchers and ux architects. The education process in training recruiters to understand your needs is very time consuming.
  • I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LIFE OF THE RECRUITER. 10 Colossal Screwups: The Life Of The Recruiter Lack of local market understanding Even if you are an industry veteran and know where to find talent locally, including what companies to poach people from, what local events to go to, and how to find superstars is painfully difficult.   Everything is new. Every expectation you have is most likely wrong.   Finding local events and being part of the local design community is difficult if you are 7,000 miles away.  Try and coordinate recruiting visits around local community events and conferences.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: The Life Of The Recruiter Is Your Company Sexy Enough To Attract Top Talent? In many cases, qualified potential candidates may not even know your company has a design team.  Many designers look towards agencies or startups when looking for employment because it is a known entity to them.  Convincing candidates to join a technical company or a consultancy can be a challenge. I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LIFE OF THE RECRUITER.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: The Life Of The Recruiter Cultural Differences in Seniority and Levels Titles and seniority levels differ widely across the globe.  In some countries, a person with a director title, will have had to go to the “right” schools and been with the “right” previous companies regardless of skillset and experience. In other countries, everything is based on skillset and experience.  Neither choice is the correct solution to hiring, but knowing the landscape is a necessity. I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LIFE OF THE RECRUITER.
  • BUILDING TEAMS IN 15 COUNTRIES SO QUICKLY, MEANS TRYING TO ENFORCE GLOBAL CONSISTENCY TO STREAMLINE PROCESSES. 10 Colossal Screwups: Enforce Global Consistency
  • BUILDING TEAMS IN 15 COUNTRIES SO QUICKLY, MEANS TRYING TO ENFORCE GLOBAL CONSISTENCY TO STREAMLINE PROCESSES. 10 Colossal Screwups: Enforce Global Consistency Act global. Execute local. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking about everything being smooth from office to office, but the reality is market conditions through globally consistent offerings out the window immediately.
  • BUILDING TEAMS IN 15 COUNTRIES SO QUICKLY, MEANS TRYING TO ENFORCE GLOBAL CONSISTENCY TO STREAMLINE PROCESSES. 10 Colossal Screwups: Enforce Global Consistency Consistency Is Overrated Give up on trying to have globally consistent deliverables. Its impossible. You have hired smart leaders, they will want to put their own personal stamp on their practice.  Focus on the higher level experience.  What do you want client who work with your different offices to feel about the experience?
  • I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES. 10 Colossal Screwups: Understanding Cultural Differences
  • I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES. 10 Colossal Screwups: Understanding Cultural Differences Beer Drinking vs. Wine Drinking Early on it will be hard to support every country, so pick your battles.  Did you know London can be a great base to support all the beer drinking countries in Europe? Same for Paris or Milan for the wine drinking ones.  They have similar design sensibilities.
  • Work 12 Months. Get Paid For 13. When opening a new office in a new county, learn the employment laws and practices.  It is different all over the world and understand them will help set expectations, and help you scale locally. I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES. 10 Colossal Screwups: Understanding Cultural Differences
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: You Need To Communicate WHEN GROWTH IS EXPLOSIVE YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE TO THE TEAM OR IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE JUST MAKING SHIT UP.
  • WHEN GROWTH IS EXPLOSIVE YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE TO THE TEAM OR IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE JUST MAKING SHIT UP. 10 Colossal Screwups: You Need To Communicate Share. Share Often. Things are moving fast. Its hard to keep up. How do you expect your teams in remote locations to know what’s going on? Find ways to communicate the team’s direction as well as solicit feedback. Monthly team emails and team meetings are a good way to do this.
  • WHEN GROWTH IS EXPLOSIVE YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE TO THE TEAM OR IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE JUST MAKING SHIT UP. 10 Colossal Screwups: You Need To Communicate Evangelism Is Key If you are trying to grow a team in a highly matrixed organization, you have to constantly explain the value of UX and fight for your team. It’s even harder when you are dealing with regional differences in priorities. Find what will make regional leaders met their goals and help them be successful and everyone wins.
  • WHEN GROWTH IS EXPLOSIVE YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE TO THE TEAM OR IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE JUST MAKING SHIT UP. 10 Colossal Screwups: You Need To Communicate Build a Community of Experts Experts within your team will rise. Find ways to celebrate the expertise, and allow the experts to share their expertise, both locally and globally online. Brownbags, Webinars are great ways to share within the team.
  • I EXPECTED EVERYTHING TO HAPPEN FAST, AND DIDN’T HAVE THE PATIENCE WHEN THINGS DIDN’T. 10 Colossal Screwups: Didn’t Have The Patience
  • I EXPECTED EVERYTHING TO HAPPEN FAST, AND DIDN’T HAVE THE PATIENCE WHEN THINGS DIDN’T. 10 Colossal Screwups: Didn’t Have The Patience Don’t Freak Out When Things Don't Work Out Nothing is going to work out as expected. Having a plan B, C, and even D, and being able to turn on a dime, is critical.  
  • I WASN’T PRESENT. 10 Colossal Screwups: I Wasn’t Present
  • I WASN’T PRESENT. 10 Colossal Screwups: I Wasn’t Present Running Out Of Space In Your Passport You need to visit these outposts and often. It is impossible to manage or even understand local needs and challenges if you are not there. Make sure you have travel budget and management buy-in on visits.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: I Wasn’t Present Realize you can't be everywhere and lead everything As you start to scale, you will have to delegate more and more and you will stop actually doing work and will be more coordinating work. This can be somewhat demoralizing, but it is the reality of becoming a leader. I WASN’T PRESENT.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: I Wasn’t Present Success for the team is success for you… Remember that you are the facilitator for this growth. The team's successes are yours and vice versa.  Its easy to get lost in that, but you job is to make your team the best it can be, not the other way around. I WASN’T PRESENT.
  • I DIDN’T FIND WAYS TO BUILD TRUST BETWEEN MY TEAMS. 10 Colossal Screwups: Build Trust
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Build Trust Working With Offshore Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult Everyone complains working with offshore is painful. If you can get your teams together and meet in the physical world, and they get to socialize, the teams will work better together. I DIDN’T FIND WAYS TO BUILD TRUST BETWEEN MY TEAMS.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Build Trust Offshore Doesn’t Mean Crappy Work Everyone believes offshore means cheap and sometimes crappy work. If you offshore the right things to the right places, you can make it work. Find locations where there is a more creative culture - Argentina, Costa Rica, China, Morocco, etc. I DIDN’T FIND WAYS TO BUILD TRUST BETWEEN MY TEAMS.
  • DON’T GET TOO STRESSED OUT ABOUT EVERYTHING, THIS SHOULD BE FUN. 10 Colossal Screwups: Too Stressed Out
  • DON’T GET TOO STRESSED OUT ABOUT EVERYTHING, THIS SHOULD BE FUN. 10 Colossal Screwups: Too Stressed Out This All Means Long Hours - #embracethesuck If you are building and managing a global team it means you will be on calls in the early morning and late into the night. You have to stay in touch, but if you lose the work/life balance you will burn out. I did.
  • IT’S EASY TO STOP BEING A LEADER AND END UP JUST BEING A MANAGER. 10 Colossal Screwups: Be A Leader. Not A Manager.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Be A Leader. Not A Manager. Shiny Object Syndrome Leading a large team means putting out fires constantly. You can easily forget to focus on the high level strategy and instead deal with the simple tactical things. IT’S EASY TO STOP BEING A LEADER AND END UP JUST BEING A MANAGER.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Be A Leader. Not A Manager. You Will Have To Deal With Burnout Within Your Leadership Team You put a lot of responsibility on your country and regional leaders. They are selling the team, they are building relationships, they are mentoring and building the team. It is an impossible job. They will burn out. Some will leave. Building succession plans keeps things from falling apart. IT’S EASY TO STOP BEING A LEADER AND END UP JUST BEING A MANAGER.
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Summary DON’T LET THINGS GET OUT OF CONTROL. HAVE A PLAN. LEARN TO EMBRACE THE NUMBERS HIRE SLOW. HIRE SMART. LEARN TO LOVE YOUR RECRUITER. GIVE UP ON ENFORCING GLOBAL CONSISTENCY LEARN PATIENCE. COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. COMMUNICATE. BE PRESENT. DON’T GET TOO STRESSED OUT. BE A LEADER, NOT JUST A MANAGER
  • 10 Colossal Screwups: Useful Books Taking Your Team To The Top Ted Sundquist/Justin Spizman Turn The Ship Around David Marquet When Teams Collide Richard D. Lewis When Cultures Collide Richard D. Lewis Being Global Angel Cabrera/Gregory Unruh The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick M. Lencioni Silos, Politics and Turf Wars Patrick M. Lencioni Designing For Growth Jeanne Liedtka/Tim Ogilvie Managing The Professional Service Firm David H. Maister How To Lie With Statistics Darrell Huff
  • THANK YOU. QUESTIONS: bbulman@salesforce.com useabilly.com About SalesforceXD http://bit.ly/O8qFcj http://bit.ly/1m1eVX7 Looking for a job? UX Architects - http://bit.ly/1kPFb6A UI Lead - http://bit.ly/O8raTN