5 Rules for MentoringNew User ExperienceProfessionalsBob ThomasManager of User Experience, Liberty Mutualrobertl.thomas@li...
What Does It Mean To “Mentor,”as Opposed to “Teach”?๏   “to teach or give advice or guidance to    (someone, such as a les...
What Does Mentoring Mean to Me?๏   Developing a relationship    where both mentor and    mentee benefit๏   Being a leader ...
User Experience Opportunities          U                          IA                          DUsability Research/Testing ...
Rule #1๏   Sometimes, your boss can be your mentor
If You Establish a UX Practice,People Will Seek You Out
Mentors Can Provide LearningOpportunities for Mentees
Mentors Can Give Mentees Confidence
Rule #2๏   Sometimes, your boss can’t be your mentor
Performance-Based ObjectivesCan Introduce Conflict
If Your Boss Is Your Mentor, YourObjectives May Not Match UpYour Boss’s Performance-   Your UX-Based ObjectivesBased Objec...
Rule #3๏   A mentor is responsible for guiding and    assisting the mentee, based on a social    contract
A Mentor Is There For You WhenYou Have No Right or WrongAnswer
Rule #4๏   You can’t mentor a stone
You Cannot Successfully MentorEveryone. At Times You Will Fail.
Rule #5๏   Perspective is additive
Let’s Face It: We Can’t MakeCarbon Copies of Ourselves
Mentors Enable Mentees to LendTheir Unique Perspectives to theUX Community
Summary๏   Rule #1: Sometimes, your boss can be your mentor๏   Rule #2: Sometimes, your boss can’t be your mentor         ...
Thank you very muchBob ThomasManager of User ExperienceLiberty MutualE-mail:robertl.thomas@libertymutual.comTwitter:@bobth...
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Five Rules for Mentoring New User Experience Professionals

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This presentation was an IGNITE session at the UXPA 2012 Conference and is accessible here: http://www.igniteshow.com/videos/5-rules-mentoring-new-user-experience-professionals

Being a successful mentor requires an organization’s support for a mentorship program; getting buy-in from all parties before committing to a mentoring project; structuring the mentor-mentee relationship to the benefit of everyone involved; and pinpointing the methodology or best practices for mentoring. How can you make mentoring work for you?

Mentoring is different from managing. It’s different from teaching. These are important skills to have, but they usually involve managing projects and people, or teaching skills and behaviors. They maintain a manageable status quo or have a limited scope. On the other hand, mentoring involves a social contract, where the mentor wants to set up a one-to-one relationship to effect a change in the person being mentored. As a mentor, you want to bring the mentee to a higher level, say from a Junior Designer to a Senior Interaction Designer, a Business Analyst to a Usability Researcher, or a nervous UX Practitioner to a confident UX Moderator.

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  • As someone who’s established a UX practice in my company and someone who graduated from Bentley’s program in Human Factors, people do reach out to me(In many cases, people observed a usability test and got excited about it.) “What’s all this usability stuff everybody’s talking about?”
  • As your mentor, I can show you – in 3-6 months - how to run usability tests with participants, which is about 75% of the usability testing work I’ve done You enable your mentees to shadow & observe, then note take. And, after training, moderate sessions by themselves …
  • What you’re ultimately giving your mentees is confidenceSo this relationship can work if both parties concentrate on UX as a *PURE* learning experience. why is this important… because…
  • … because One thing all bosses have to focus on are the overall goals of the company, and these are driven down to employees as performance-based objectives. And you, the mentee, are the performer.These objectives can introduce conflict.
  • A mentee might ask questions like, How can I break into this field? Is now the time to switch careers? Any classes you’d recommend?When there are no right or wrong answers, a mentor is there to present options, based on the goals laid out in the social contract
  •  some times the mentee is technophobic, or unable to listen, can’t collaborate, or is incapable of moderating usability sessionsIn these cases, you have to tear up that social contract. As a mentor, you have to be prepared to accept failure.
  • Because Let’s face it: we can’t make carbon copies of ourselves. And anybody who tells you otherwise probably needs his ego re-aligned. …..as a UX community, we benefit celebrating differences. For example, in usability research, Some people want to try new methodologies, while others master tried and true methods.
  • By mentoring, we’re enabling people to share with us their unique points of viewThis collective perspective gives us a better outcome. I wouldn’t be standing up here today if I didn’t learn from my experiences as a mentor and as a mentee
  • Thank you very much. Again, I’m Bob Thomas, Manager of User Experience at Liberty Mutual. You can e-mail me at robertl.thomas@libertymutual.com or contact me on Twitter @bobthomas
  • Five Rules for Mentoring New User Experience Professionals

    1. 1. 5 Rules for MentoringNew User ExperienceProfessionalsBob ThomasManager of User Experience, Liberty Mutualrobertl.thomas@libertymutual.com@bobthomas
    2. 2. What Does It Mean To “Mentor,”as Opposed to “Teach”?๏ “to teach or give advice or guidance to (someone, such as a less experienced person or a child)… − Merriam-Webster Dictionary๏ However, teaching (or coaching) is related to tasks and often comes with a specific agenda (the teacher’s)๏ Mentoring is related to personal choice and also comes with an agenda (the mentee’s)
    3. 3. What Does Mentoring Mean to Me?๏ Developing a relationship where both mentor and mentee benefit๏ Being a leader in our field
    4. 4. User Experience Opportunities U IA DUsability Research/Testing Information Architecture Visual & Interaction Design
    5. 5. Rule #1๏ Sometimes, your boss can be your mentor
    6. 6. If You Establish a UX Practice,People Will Seek You Out
    7. 7. Mentors Can Provide LearningOpportunities for Mentees
    8. 8. Mentors Can Give Mentees Confidence
    9. 9. Rule #2๏ Sometimes, your boss can’t be your mentor
    10. 10. Performance-Based ObjectivesCan Introduce Conflict
    11. 11. If Your Boss Is Your Mentor, YourObjectives May Not Match UpYour Boss’s Performance- Your UX-Based ObjectivesBased Objectives for You A X B Y C Z
    12. 12. Rule #3๏ A mentor is responsible for guiding and assisting the mentee, based on a social contract
    13. 13. A Mentor Is There For You WhenYou Have No Right or WrongAnswer
    14. 14. Rule #4๏ You can’t mentor a stone
    15. 15. You Cannot Successfully MentorEveryone. At Times You Will Fail.
    16. 16. Rule #5๏ Perspective is additive
    17. 17. Let’s Face It: We Can’t MakeCarbon Copies of Ourselves
    18. 18. Mentors Enable Mentees to LendTheir Unique Perspectives to theUX Community
    19. 19. Summary๏ Rule #1: Sometimes, your boss can be your mentor๏ Rule #2: Sometimes, your boss can’t be your mentor (in other words, find someone else)๏ Rule #3: A mentor is responsible for guiding and assisting the mentee, based on a social contract๏ Rule #4: You can’t mentor a stone๏ Rule #5: Perspective is additive
    20. 20. Thank you very muchBob ThomasManager of User ExperienceLiberty MutualE-mail:robertl.thomas@libertymutual.comTwitter:@bobthomas

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