Things I've Learned (& Am Still Learning) from Leading (UX Designers)

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I've worked for a lot of idiot managers in my career. And then, one day, after I had become a manager, it dawned on me: Now I'm the idiot! Most of my career has been an exercise in “trial by fire” and this process worked well when I was a designer and was trying to master the art of the site map, wireframe, personas, and so on. In leadership, the option to start over or iterate hasn't always been readily available--nor as painless to my pride and my pocketbook.

Many of these lessons haven’t been easy for me to learn. It’s been tough to simultaneously remove obstacles without becoming one, or learning how to say “no” (and the flavors of yes and no!) when I've also wanted people to be satisfied with me and the work I'm doing. However, these lessons have all helped me become better at managing to some degree, while instilling a strong sense of empathy for those people who either report to me, or bless their souls, manage me in one way or another.

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Things I've Learned (& Am Still Learning) from Leading (UX Designers)

  1. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas Things I’ve Learned from Leading & Am Still Learning! Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas UX Designers
  2. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Source: Money Ball
  3. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas you’ll EVERY NEW MANAGER, EVER: Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Where’s the Manual? (Almost)
  4. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Therearenogrown-ups.We suspect thiswhen weare younger,butcanconfirmitonlyonce wearetheoneswriting booksandattendingparent-teacher conferences. Everyoneiswingingit,some just do it moreconfidently. “ Pamela Druckerman Source: NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/opinion/sunday/what-you-learn-in-your-40s.html
  5. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Therearenomanagers.Wesuspect this whenwe are younger,butcanconfirmitonlyonce wearetheoneswriting reviews,SOWs,slide decksandattendingleadershipretreats. Everyoneiswingingit,some just do it moreconfidently.Everyoneiswingingit,some just do it moreconfidently. Source: NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/opinion/sunday/what-you-learn-in-your-40s.html “ Pamela Druckerman
  6. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas THE TEAM CHARTER
  7. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas What is a Team Charter? Aunifyingplanthat a team agrees toas its rulesof engagement andgoalsandobjectives. “
  8. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Team Purpose • Whatdoesthisteamdo? • Whatarewegoodat? • Whatshouldwebeknownfor? The UX team works with our customers to create useful and usable designs that meets the needs of our users and serves the business goals and objectives. We understand our users--their needs, behaviors and motivations and provide insight into how they use the products that we design. OUR UX TEAM
  9. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Team Commitment to Each Other • HowDoWeWanttoWork Together? • WhatAreOurExpectationsof EachOther? The UX team works with our customers to create useful and usable designs that meets the needs of our users and serves the business goals and objectives. We understand our users--their needs, behaviors and motivations and provide insight into how they use the products that we design. We work with each other to share our knowledge and grow and strengthen the team in all aspects of UX, and beyond. We acknowledge and respect our peers, their opinions, and the value of their work and will be critical of work product, but not the person doing the work. OUR UX TEAM
  10. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Focus Areas • WhataretheTypesof Work We Do? • User Research • Interaction Design • Information Architecture • Information Design • Prototyping • Usability Testing WHAT WE DO
  11. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Areas of Growth / Improvement • Where DoWeNeedMore Experience? • Whatis theRationaleforthe Need? • HowWillWeKnowWhen We’veAchievedtheGrowth? Experience Mapping GROWTH AREA RATIONALE ACHIEVED BY •Gets everyone involved in identifying touchpoints •Visually describes what the user’s journey looks like •Tell stories and craft narratives from the user’s point of view •Orient teams around a shared understanding of the journey •Expand on scenarios, personas, and mental models •Engaging in 1-3 Experience Mapping activities this year •Proving value through the activities by stakeholder approvals
  12. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Perception of the Team by Others • HowDoWeWantOthersto ViewOurTeam? • HowDoWeBuildthis Perception? • HowDoWeKnowWe’re There? Experts About Our Users PERCEPTION HOW TO CREATE ACHIEVED BY •Increase research activities •Identify opportunities to build usability testing awareness and activities •Including clients in the user- related activities to show them our process and expose them to users more frequently •Increase the amount of client collaboration that includes user discussions •Common theme/voice for UX team •Colleagues request our expertise in speaking to customers •Colleagues and customers recommend the UX Team’s expertise to our colleagues and customers
  13. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Signatures • WeAllAgreetoAllofThis! AGREED UPON BY
  14. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas OUR UX TEAM You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. I can see a part of me in you. A little something special that comes shining through. I hear it in your laughter, And I feel it when you cry, I will be right there for you, Until the day I die. You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. You can count on me. TEAM PURPOSE COMMITMENTS TEAM FOCUS •User Research •Interaction Design •Information Architecture •Information Design •Prototyping •Usability Testing AREAS OF GROWTH You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. PERCEPTION OF TEAM You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. Image Source © Time Inc. It’s Like a Persona. For Your Team.
  15. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas A Team Charter • IdentifiesYourTeam’sPurpose • Defines theTeamCommitmentto EachOther • ClearlyArticulatesAreasof Focus&Expertise • AcknowledgesAreasof Growth/Improvement • Explains HowtheTeamWantsOtherstoPerceiveIt • Provides UnifiedAgreement UX ^
  16. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas FACILITATION IS A REQUIRED SKILL
  17. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Facilitators Do a Lot of Stuff • What,When,Where,Etc. Prepareactivity-specificdetails • Organize theAttendees Getting the right people,place,time • Structure&Timing Planningtheactivity/activities • Follow-Up Collecting& distributingoutcomes
  18. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas What’s in a “Why?” It’sprobablythemostunder-used questionin allof business
  19. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Why “Why?” Matters
  20. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas (Some) Types of Facilitation Activities
  21. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Kickoffs
  22. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Exploratory
  23. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Decision-Making
  24. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Team-Based Activities
  25. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas And So On... • RequirementsGathering • Research/Interviews • UsabilityTesting • Workshops • “Regular” Meetings • EspeciallyCollaboration
  26. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Facilitators Do EVEN MORE of Stuff • Define theTeams • Define theGoal(s) • Define theTask(s) • KeeptheTaskonTrack • KeeptheTaskonTime • ProvideGuidance • ProvideFocus • Avoid Contributing UnlessRequired;Guides Through Group • ProvideaFramework • FollowAgenda • AndMuchMore...
  27. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Facilitators Do EVEN MORE of Stuff • Define theTeams • Define theGoal(s) • Define theTask(s) • KeeptheTaskonTrack • KeeptheTaskonTime • ProvideGuidance • ProvideFocus • Avoid Contributing UnlessRequired;Guides Through Group • ProvideaFramework • FollowAgenda • AndMuchMore...
  28. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas COLLABORATION When Working by Yourself Isn’t Enough
  29. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Let’s whiteboard this out... I’ll schedule a quick brainstorm... We’ll plan a working session... Can we sketch out some ideas together? Opportunities for Collaboration Abound
  30. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Collaboration Is Everywhere
  31. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Collaboration Is Everywhere
  32. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas 2010: We Don’t Show Our Work (Enough)
  33. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas UIis whatyousee.UXiswhyyousee it. UXisaprocess.“ Joel Marsh
  34. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas 2014: We Don’t SHARE Our Work (Enough)
  35. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas
  36. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas
  37. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Stop. Image Source © Time Inc. Collaborate & Listen.
  38. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas CRITIQUE Image Source © Time Inc.
  39. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas New to Critique? Start Here. Aaron Irizarry & Adam Connor DiscussingDesign.com Source: SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/adamconnor/discussing-design-the-art-of-critique
  40. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas The Problem Me HowdoImakecritiqueapartof our culture,asaformalizedprocess?
  41. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Eachoneteachone. “ Kim Goodwin
  42. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital AmericasRuss Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Critique Buddies WTF are ?
  43. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas The Setup L BBB L BBB M • Select“Critique Leads” • ManagerassignsCritiqueLeads • SelectTeamsof 3-4Buddies • Manager&LeadsAssign
  44. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas How It Works • Weekly30minutemeetingswithCritiqueLeads & Buddies • Ad hoc meetingsasneededandas available • Canonlyskip1week in a row • Critiquecanworkboth ways • Weekly30minuteCritiqueLeads& Manager • Reviewthecritiques • Critique&tweaktheprocess B B B L B B B L B B B L
  45. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Buddy Meetings • Startsveryinformally • Getto knoweachother • Reviewof what’sbeing worked on,etc. • Driven bytheCritiqueLead
  46. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Buddy Meetings • Shifts to (slightly)formal • Agendas,morestructured pitch/ presentation • LedbytheCritiqueBuddy
  47. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Leader Meetings • Reports onprogressof theteam • Creates &updates“CritiqueManual / Guide” forteam • ModifiestheCritiqueBuddyprogram based uponlearning • Selects nextCritiqueLeads(Quarterly)
  48. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital AmericasRuss Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas That’s It! Image Source © Time Inc.
  49. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Benefits • Freesyour timeasprimaryreviewerof all design • Identifiesleadersand leadershipinyourteam • Uncoversgrowthandtraining /learning needs • Strengthenscritiqueabilitiesacrosstheteam • Increasesdistributed teamcommunication&interaction • Improvesfacilitation& presentationskills • Improvesdesignacrosstheteam
  50. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas MASTERING TIME
  51. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Slow. The. F. Down.
  52. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Work Hard. Play Hard. Bull Crap. Source: http://gsh.tumblr.com/post/60206622542/everyone-plays-harder-i-dont-want-to-play
  53. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas We Don’t Need Another Hero
  54. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital AmericasSource: https://signalvnoise.com/posts/3124-give-it-five-minutes Give It 5 Minutes
  55. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas 5 Years When youfindyourself stressed,ask yourself onequestion: Willthismatterfiveyears fromnow? If yes,thendo something aboutthe situation. If no,then letit go. “ Catherine Pulsifer
  56. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas SO WHAT?
  57. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas • Team Charter • Facilitation • Collaboration • Critique • TimeisWorthYourTime My 5 Key Take Aways Soft Skills! • Bonus:Keeponwinging it.Confidently.
  58. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Source: Money Ball
  59. Russ Unger | @russu | GE Capital Americas Thank You!

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