how design, engineering and business can learn from each other

Amelia Schmidt

@meelijane

What was Steve Jobs so good at?

Design?
ENGINEERING?
BUSINESS?

"The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed."

William Gibson

"There is no “technology industry”

The label’s become too big to be useful, and tech could suffer for it."

Anil Dash

"It's generally a company whose primary business is selling tech or tech services. A more nuanced definition is a company with tech or tech services as a key part of its business. It's a hard question."

Todd Berkowitz, VP of Research, Gartner

Do you work for a tech company?

shared goals

= less conflict

USERS ARE NOT ALWAYS CUSTOMERS

BIGGER STAKEHOLDERS ALWAYS HAVE MORE POWER

You can't fight the business model

BUSINESS MODEL: Street press

  • An advertiser pays for an ad
  • Each ad takes up a certain amount of page (1/2 page)
  • That frees up an extra 1/2 page for content
  • Writers write up an article about the the advertiser's product or service
  • Magazine is distributed
  • Users pick up the magazine for free

WINNERS

  • Advertisers and the people they represent
  • Street press magazine company itself
  • Printing company
  • Fish and chip companies

LOSERS

  • The readers
  • The writers

BUSINESS MODEL: B to B to U

  • Company A makes intranet software
  • Company B buys intranet software
  • Employees of company B user the intranet - for free
  • Company A has market dominance

WINNERS

  • Company A

LOSERS

  • Users of Company B
  • Company B itself

sometimes it feels like we're all speaking different languages

But sometimes it feels like i'm seeing the matrix

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail

Abraham Maslow

DISRUPTIve innovation

combines  tech, design and business TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

WHAT BUSINESS
CAN TAKE FROM
DESIGN

Human-centred design

(FOR YOUR BUSINESS MODEL)

Simon Sinek

Profit isn't a purpose, it's a result. To have purpose means things we do are of real value to others.

Good business

Good business

Good business

Good business

Good business

Good business

Good business

Good business

Good business

Good business

Design thinking

If you understand people better it's easy to create relevant value for people

prototyping

Ash Maurya

The Lean Startup

what business
can take from
engineering

open source

Open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone.

open source

  • Transparent
  • Anyone can get involved and help out
  • Self-organising
  • Highly collaborative
  • Empowering

Erica Joy Baker

ex-Google

transparency helps break down organisational silos

open source principles are inclusive and favour diversity

closed source

  • Information is hidden from people unless they have the right clearance levels
  • Silos form because of information hoarding
  • Organisational inefficiencies and doubling up
  • More political
  • Lots of management required
  • Old processes become meaningless

open source

  • Information is available to anyone who wants to know about it
  • Teams are all working towards the same goal
  • High availability of information leads to increased efficiencies
  • Highly collaborative and innovative
  • Self-managing or managed by process
  • Processes are continually updated by the team

systems thinking

the reactive manifesto

  • Responsive
  • Resilient
  • Elastic
  • Message-driven

 

www.reactivemanifesto.org

responsive

The system responds in a timely manner.

Agile companies can shift their processes to respond to changing market demands. Companies that can adapt and handle change well have an advantage over slower-moving competitors. 

Resilient

The system stays responsive in the face of failure. Resilience is achieved by replication, containment, isolation and delegation.

  • Replication: knowledge management
  • Isolation and Containment: Remote working, fewer meetings
  • Delegation: hire people you trust, four minute management

ELASTIC

The system stays responsive under varying workload.

Uber's approach to supply and demand fluctuations means that surge pricing is automatically triggered at certain supply/demand combinations which brings out more workers.

MESSAGE-DRIVEN

Reactive Systems rely on asynchronous message-passing to establish a boundary between components that ensures loose coupling, isolation and location transparency.

Think Slack and emails rather than conference calls and meetings. Asynchronous messaging doesn't interrupt, enables offsite work and helps with accountability.

Back-pressure

When one component is struggling to keep up the system as a whole needs to respond in a sensible way.
It is unacceptable for the component under stress to fail catastrophically or to drop messages in an uncontrolled fashion.

Cross-functional teams

google design sprints

A key feature of their methodology is to include at least 7 people from the company from different departments.

 

Teams solve problems better when they don't all think the same way.

WHAT ENGINEERING
CAN TAKE FROM
DESIGN

usability

(for your code)

Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman

The Nielsen Norman Group

It’s harder to read code than to write it.

Joel Spolsky, CEO Stack Exchange, co-founder of Trello

10 usability heuristics (for your codebase)

  • Visibility of system status 
  • Match between system and the real world 
  • User control and freedom 
  • Consistency and standards 
  • Error prevention 
  • Recognition rather than recall 
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use 
  • Aesthetic and minimalist design 
  • Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors 
  • Help and documentation

no engineer is an island

  • Coding is about collaboration
  • Mostly we work in teams, because more brains make things higher quality
  • Even if you work on your own, you may one day leave and hand over to someone else
  • The best code is both most efficient/elegant and easily understandable/usable

WHAT ENGINEERING
CAN TAKE FROM
BUSINESS

theory of constraints

Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt

Author of The Goal

How it can work

  • Chart out your planning, design, development and testing workflow and create metrics around each stage
  • Find out where your team is "blocked" and where "inventory is building up"
  • Unblock that constraint and then work on the next one

Research

Design

Dev

Peer review

Automated

testing

Blocked!

WHAT DESIGN
CAN TAKE
FROM ENGINEERING

TEST-driven development

Not test-driven development

  • Decide to build something
  • Build the thing
  • Later on, build another thing, and break the original thing
  • Catastrophe

test-driven development

  • Decide to build something
  • Write a test that fails until you build the thing
  • Build the thing
  • Test passes! 
  • Later on, when things are built, they can't be shipped unless all tests pass.

usability testing

Designers already do some testing, usually usability  testing.

 

But usability testing often comes late in the process, and sometimes is an "added bonus", or just a way to prove existing assumptions.

test driven design

Test driven design uses usability tests, analytics measurements or other forms of benchmarking as a pre-requisite to design tasks and improvements.

 

Focus on measurement helps design teams better judge whether they are providing real value.

simple made easy

Rich Hickey

Creator of Clojure

simple

(vs complex)

  • One role, one task, one concept, one dimension
  • Not interleaved or interwoven with other things
  • Can be split out and used on its on

easy

(vs hard)

  • Near, at hand
    • On the hard drive, already in the toolset
  • Near to our understanding/skill set
    • Familiar
    • Near our capabilities

Why do this...

When you could just do this?

EASY (Photoshop)

  • I have done it this way before
  • I have Photoshop on my computer already
  • The stakeholders like PSDs and it makes it easier to explain stuff to them
  • I can't communicate my idea as easily in a style guide
  • I don't know how to code

simple (Pattern library)

  • Design time is focused on components, which are reusable, rather than once-off PSDs
  • Design effort pays off over time
  • Consistency increases across the whole project
  • Team is empowered to do things without getting blocked at design stage

WHAT DESIGN
CAN TAKE
FROM BUSINESS

JOBS TO BE DONE

Harvard Business School, author of The Innovator's Dilemma

Clayton Christensen

Customers Don't Simply Buy Products -- They Hire Them to do jobs.

Clayton Christensen

Once you know what job your customers hire your products to do, it's easy to understand how to improve them.

Design is more than just pretty pictures

  • Understanding the competition
  • Shaping the roadmap
  • Design things that engineers can build
  • Evaluate designs in real time usage
  • Throw away ideas - design the the thing right, but also design the right thing.

The 25 5 rule

Warren Buffett

One of the most successful investors in the world

list 25 things you want to achieve

choose your top 5

never think about the other 20 ever again

Minimalism is not subtraction for the sake of subtraction, minimalism is subtraction for the sake of focus.

Designer?
ENGINEER?
MANAGER?

LEADERS WHO Build great businesses will have the tools of all three

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail

Abraham Maslow

Start growing your toolkit

You're going to need more than a hammer to build something that will change the world

THANKYOU!

@meelijane

How design, engineering and business can learn from each other

By Amelia Schmidt

How design, engineering and business can learn from each other

Originally presented at Future Assembly, melbourne 2016

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