🗂 Link: Silicon Valley software techniques modernize 75-year-old plant

Raytheon Systems Engineer Sam Sauers and her team spearheaded one of the latest DevOps transformations on the program, introducing Silicon Valley-like processes like paired programming and pipeline development to help the Air Soldier team rapidly develop the technology.

“We’re using commercial software best practices, including Agile and DevOps, to get new capabilities in days instead of years,” said Sauers. “We’ve also been implementing user-centered design: getting ahead of the users and figuring out the next thing they’re going to need. We then develop toward that rather than getting something out there and getting feedback that it wasn’t what they wanted.”

Source: Silicon Valley software techniques modernize 75-year-old plant

Link: How Booking.com A/B Tests Ten Novenonagintillion Versions of its Site

“According to research by Evercore Group L.L.C., Booking.com’s “testing drives conversions across the whole platform at 2–3 times the industry average.” That means massive increases to their revenue and bottom line.”

How Booking.com A/B Tests Ten Novenonagintillion Versions of its Site
https://blog.usejournal.com/how-booking-com-a-b-tests-ten-novenonagintillion-versions-of-its-site-25fc3a9e875b
via Instapaper

Source: How Booking.com A/B Tests Ten Novenonagintillion Versions of its Site

Link: Digital, Strategy and Design

Strategy involves determining the company’s intent. Strategy is expressed in an understanding of the environment, an expression of ambition, decisions regarding the allocation of resources and plan of execution. Strategy provides a perspective on where and how the company will win from the inside out.
Design entails understanding and expressing customer intent. Expressed in terms of persona’s, needs, journey maps, touchpoints and prototypes. Design provides a perspective on how and why customers win from the outside in.

Source: Digital, Strategy and Design

Product management in the enterprise

Inside this interview, there’s an excellent explanation of what product management means in an enterprise. By “enterprise,” I mean a company who’s product is not technology. That is, most every company and organization out there. To that end, there’s a great example of doing product management and design at a food services company: discovering the actual problem to solve to meet business needs, and solving it by experimenting with a small batch loop.

See also the original show notes.

Link: Agile processes can transform companies from unexpected places: The VGZ success story

At the topic of agile, lean, DevOps, and all that “digital transformation” stuff is a renewed focus on customers and figuring out what they want to give you money for, then making the product as good as possible for them:

VGZ decided to focus its efforts on improving the customer experience. The starting point was not a traditional customer segmentation — the leadership instead decided to focus on understanding and improving customer journeys, specifically the frequency of customer interactions and the impact on the life of customers.

Very “jobs to be done.”
Original source: Agile processes can transform companies from unexpected places: The VGZ success story

Link: Why Starting With End-to-End Customer Journeys Isn’t Good For The Customer

‘Here’s how to make the argument to a stakeholder on your team that really wants to see that end-to-end vision: If the idea is to get value out to customers as fast as possible, does it make sense to explore every customer touch point? The time spent doing that intensive research could’ve been spent building and delivering an MVP for customers and get them excited about. Repeating this cycle gets the team to “learn by doing” and is actually a faster way to truly understand the customer’s end-to-end journey. It’s also a lot more engaging work than research and makes the team stronger.’
Original source: Why Starting With End-to-End Customer Journeys Isn’t Good For The Customer

Link: Project vs. product management, in government

Good discussion of doing product management instead of project management. Also, discussion of user metrics to track design and usability:

“Defining success metrics helps you focus on what’s important in your product and how well it solves the problems you’ve identified. Defining key steps the user must take is also important in order to shine a spotlight on where in the process users are failing. With this data, you can conduct further in-person research to understand why they are failing and devise an even better solution.”
Original source: Project vs. product management, in government

Link: Without a formal mandate

“In almost every case there are stakeholders who are moved by quantitative data (say the percentage of phone calls that could be avoided.) There are also other stakeholders who connect with qualitative human stories. The magic really happens when you offer both types of evidence. Telling the stories, and backing them up with data points for the cost or the impact of what is happening to people, this is evidence with impact. When you make it real for everyone, you can more effectively catalyze change.”

Also, a sort of case study of improving design in state government.
Original source: Without a formal mandate

Link: Without a formal mandate

“In almost every case there are stakeholders who are moved by quantitative data (say the percentage of phone calls that could be avoided.) There are also other stakeholders who connect with qualitative human stories. The magic really happens when you offer both types of evidence. Telling the stories, and backing them up with data points for the cost or the impact of what is happening to people, this is evidence with impact. When you make it real for everyone, you can more effectively catalyze change.”

Also, a sort of case study of improving design in state government.
Original source: Without a formal mandate

Link: Curing Handoff-itis

“I feel like it is just making our products so much better and so much more usable and user friendly. Having that integration with design rather than some sort of a hand-off, just means we get something into user’s hands quicker.”
Original source: Curing Handoff-itis

Link: Code Complexity is a Design Problem

‘A lot of my fellow designers get frustrated when engineering doesn’t want to build their solutions. Worse yet, they’ve handed off design “specs” and left engineering to fend for themselves, only to be surprised later by how poorly their designs translated into code.’

So, designers and developers should work more closely together.
Original source: Code Complexity is a Design Problem

Link: Products Over Projects

“Product owners prove actual benefits either with data from A/B testing, analytics, user surveys, etc. or with feedback from business. This ability is dependent on good engineering capability to develop and release frequently in small chunks and good analytics capability to determine delta changes in adoption, conversion etc.”
Original source: Products Over Projects

Beyond disintermediation

I don’t think of Uber as a force that dis-intermediates—as we olds used to say—transportation, but one that creates value for itself, its drivers, and its users, by developing a new layer that integrates them all with maximum utility. A very talented developer once told me that the secret to a world-beating service like Dropbox was to make something very, very complicated seem devastatingly simple. To me, uberizing meant trapping a series of innovative processes—phone-enabled geo-location, payments and driver management and distribution—into an app-accessible service.

That’s good framing. It’s not (just) removing a middleman, it’s better overall UX. One might even say “design.”

Beyond disintermediation

Three screens

Microsoft shot for consistency with Metro, putting the square interface on its tablets, phones and PCs under something it called three-screens and the cloud. Yet Microsoft was wrong to lump PC users in with device users, as it turned out neither customers nor developers wanted Metro on their PC – they hated it.

There is a notion that Metro was a failure there, which would be good to see the proof points in (low Window 8 uptake?). But, putting that footnoting aside as a distraction from interesting noodling, there’s a fun idea in there that we’ll see a lot in the coming years: do mobile devices need different UIs and UX than PCs, and Bice versa?

Three screens

This is a classic Sterling, cyber-noir line… Describing and then confirming an everyday, banal artifact, sort of hooked up to his desires to see the works through the eyes of design. Usually the snarky point is: no one thought this through, so there it is.

From Love is Strange.

Using user activity tracking data in application design

Gmail’s designers also saw that most people never use text-formatting options, such as bold and italic, when writing email, so they hid all those buttons under a single icon in the new window. In both cases, they used data to hone their designs to mesh with how people engage with the product.

That’s a new version of the “no one ever uses ‘advanced search’” line.

Using user activity tracking data in application design

Consumers aren’t rational

But IT business buyers are, he says, and don’t know how make speeds and feeds (the basis of their buying behavior, plus price) account for UX:

The business buyer, famously, does not care about the user experience. They are not the user, and so items that change how a product feels or that eliminate small annoyances simply don’t make it into their rational decision making process.

Consumers aren’t rational