Last month, I was chatting with Peter Merholz at the Big Design Conference in Dallas. He was there promoting his new book, Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Teams — an excellent book by the way, and we were talking about how interesting it is that it is still important to write a book to be sought out as a consultant; blog posts are not enough. “You’ve never written a book, have you?”, said Peter, “Why not?” (Interestingly, it was Peter who first asked me years ago why I hadn’t started my own user research firm.)
Should I have written a book by now? Probably, yes. (Should I have started my own user research firm years ago? Again, probably yes.) I certainly have a couple of books in me, but do I really want to urge them out? Is it really true that good blog posts cannot suffice?
Well, without answering those questions (at least for now), let me spend a bit of time proclaiming the merits of reading old blog posts — not just anyone’s, but mine! I’ve written lots about topics such as those Peter addresses in his new book, and though many of those posts have aged a number of years, their relevance remains surprisingly — perhaps disturbingly — high. And what makes my posts particularly valuable is that they present and contrast the experiences and perspectives of many; they are not solely about what I think and have experienced.
For example, consider the topic of design collaboration. Cross-functional collaboration is now highly touted as crucial to successful design, but I know lots of designers who still do their work largely independently. WTF? Some of my blog posts on the importance of collaboration and keys to its success include:
- “The three-legged stool of collaboration”
- Breaking silos
- “Check your disciplines at the door” when beneficial
- The need for good facilitation
- Soft skills
- Effective collaboration and fun
- Are you trying to solve the right problem?
- On concept design, ethnography, MRDs, and product vision
- A(other) call to action regarding healthcare
- Utilizing patients in the experience design process
- Go ahead — ask people what they want
- Applying “design thinking” to, um, design
- Prototyping for tiny fingers
Multiple obstacles to employing design in the most impactful way can surface. Some of the many posts about such obstacles include:
- Preconceived notions
- “Designing in hostile territory”
- “There is only so much air in the room”
- Making changes to a company’s culture
- What is holding User Experience back or propelling User Experience forward where you work?
- Roles and relationships
- Framing change / Changing frames
- Secret agent (wo)man?
- Changing the course or pace of a large ship
- Partnering with power
- Calculating return on investment
- Perturbing the ecosystem via intensive, rapid, cross-disciplinary collaboration
- Convincing executives and other management personnel of the value of ethnography
- Eliminating noise and confusion
- Where should “User Experience” be positioned in your company?
- Does it matter where User Experience is positioned in your corporate structure?
- On the importance of alignment, trust, loyalty, …
- Hail to the Chief!
- Getting the organizational relationships right
- Ownership of the user-customer experience
- The internal consultancy model for strategic UXD relevance
- Who should you hire?
Design leadership is a hot topic these days, and many of these posts could form the foundation of a very good book on the topic. But, can’t the blog suffice? Do I really need to write a book?
Well, things would be better organized in a book, and I’d update and extend the posts’ content, and I’d fill in some gaps, and…