1 speed

A straight line that is also connected by a zig-zag path.

Be the bridge

The problem

Every designer and engineer makes decisions that impact the product and users. Those decisions often happen separated from one another. That means disconnection and small, but meaningful compromises in the product happen too late to be fixed.

Why it happens

Many designers and engineers may not be able to cross the bridge between both worlds. Or maybe they can, but they feel like they only belong in one vs. the other.

The solution

Build the skills for both sides. Don’t worry about labels. Sketch as much as prototype. Talk to designers and engineers. Be the bridge.

Explore possibilities

The problem

Our products represent years of good and bad decisions. They have technical debt. They’re built with technologies, old and new. This can prove overwhelming when trying to plant new seeds to grow ideas.

Why it happens

All those past decisions and technical debt creates a lot of weight, like dirt atop a seed. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for new directions.

The solution

Always dig toward the light. Bring not just ideas, but plans to put those ideas into action. Via sketches, prototypes and experimentation, always go toward what’s possible instead of what surrounds you.

Prioritize making

The problem

Talking about code only goes so far. Working sketches and prototypes means users are one step closer to interacting with something real.

Why it happens

Designers and engineers care about their craft. It’s easy to discuss the ideal solution rather than make a solution.

The solution

Committing code (rather than talking about what code to write) is a great way to progress out of a mire. Often times it’s faster to build and test two proposed but conflicting directions than it is to discuss which one is right. Doing this also makes you aware of the technical realities you must work within for success.

Show endless curiosity

The problem

The technology space moves quickly with a new tool, company or breakthrough happening all the time. It can be easy to ignore or write off new technology until its reached maturity. But by that time, we will have missed meaningful opportunities.

Why it happens

Many designers or engineers want to specialize in one thing versus specializing in exploring many things. Analyzing the new all the time can feel empty to some people too. Similarly, companies can lose the edge to delve into new possibilities because of technical debt or a lack of process for evaluating new technology.

The solution

Set aside the time to explore. Ask open-ended questions that start with phrases like, “What if…”, and “I wonder what would happen…” Let your curiosity become a guide.

Think slow, move fast

The problem

The bigger a technical system becomes, the more complexity and debt can seep in. New ideas can get lost, or worse, never even surface because the idea wasn’t explored fully.

Why it happens

More of anything can mean it becomes harder to move throughout a problem, project or organization. Communicating in an open source, distributed environment means communication can travel and feel slower too.

The solution

Approach your work with thoughtfulness and speed. Define the most important variables to your work and tackle them as best you can. Drop the rest. Move with haste.