What're you building for? 🤨

Jan 20, 2023 2:48 pm

Happy Friday!

It's so easy to get tunnel vision on things and let that small area of focus be the gauge of what's going on around you. I've been sad because of one small thing at one client, and I have to remember to stop fixating on that and look at the bigger picture.

That bigger picture is something like $30 million in additional revenue.

I've noticed, as well, that the way I tend to approach things is not often compatible with how most teams or individuals work. I consider this a strength, though. I never really had words to describe my funky way of doing things, but as I was driving, it hit me.

I build and work for a set of consequences and not for ease of task execution.

Let me unpack this a bit. Imagine for a moment you brought me on to help bring an important product to market. There would be designs, plans, development teams, etc., all working hard. I would come in and ask questions like, "How much do we want to spend on support," or "What will our first user's experience be with the product?"

These aren't unique questions, but in my experience, nobody considered these consequences or outcomes. To suggest altering plans, tasks, or even the way we work to get to those desired places is not taken well.

Yet, the results of altering the way we work, plans, etc to meet those desired consequences always pay off.

This is different though from how most folks tend to organize and execute. They tend to look at things from the angle of, "How do I execute this single task well?" In other words, they're focused on execution and not on the consequences of it. Architects create designs of systems that are a result of looking narrowly at the idea of creating an architecture and not that it satisfies any consequence. Developers are in a rush to clear their plate of tasks, and it may not mean high-quality work.

Designers, while generally more result oriented, fall into the same task execution when it comes to finalizing their wireframes and mockups. There are always features and affordances that nobody can explain, but in the act of execution, they made sense to include.

So here's something you can try without messing things up.

Take something you've got on your plate and write down the consequences you want to experience when you're done.

Now, work backward from there by starting a line of questions like, "If I want X, then what will make that happen?" When you get an answer, ask the next question about that.

See if what you wind up with matches what you were about to do.

Oh, and if you have a minute I'd love you to take a look at my new project that is consuming my nights and weekends.