I just caught word that Kathy Sierra, one of my favorite bloggers of all time, has started blogging again after a 6 year hiatus. The new blog is at http://seriouspony.com/blog. Kathy has a gift for conveying complex topics in a way that nearly anyone could understand. I’ve seen coworkers give Head First Design Patterns to non-developer friends and have them actually get something out if it
Kathy’s previous blog “Creating Passionate Users” was great, and I’m sure we’ll see plenty more insightful, funny content in the future. And plenty of references to horses as well 🙂 Welcome back, Kathy!
Cameron Moll from Authentic Jobs presented on putting together an effective UX team. He started out with a discussion on effective hiring, and then continued with effective team practices.
Book recommendation: Hire With Your Head by Lou Adler
A few hiring tips:
- Treat hiring like any other process your team has mastered
- Understand that accurate interviewing is fact finding
- Measure job competency, not interviewing aptitude
- Define the job to be done and ask the interviewee: “How has your background prepared you for this job?”
- Require justification for “no” votes from fellow interviewers
Culture and fit are VERY important. You are who you hire. Here’s the rub when working for a Fortune 50 company: Uniformity and consistency compete with creating unique or special. Consider the following quote: “Great teams do what works best for them, and selectively embrace new thinking.” While that probably resonates with most people, it runs contrary to the consistency big corporations often strive for.
Next Cameron talked a bit about how an effective UX team acts. He brought up the subject of using photoshop in the course of design vs. doing things directly in the browser. After listening to a number of speakers, this seems to be a matter of personal preference. Prototyping should happen early, frequently, and habitually. He mentioned Styletil.es as an approach to showing customers potential options without investing too much up front. In terms of products, he mentioned Protoshare, InVision.
There was a little discussion on hiring people who are immediately productive. Maybe something for me to think about is how we bring a culture where we’re attracting the quality of people that could “ship” something the first day?
Finally, a few random thoughts:
- Ouch. Cameron blames agile for poor quality.
- Collaboration & Isolation are important to an effective team
- Every six weeks, two hours should be spent watching users interact
- I found it interesting he has a particular liking for the words persecute and tolerance.
All in all, a good session.