Monthly Archives: December 2013

We don’t need another hero…

…but we do need to know the way home. All by ourselves.

Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden said it well in Lean UX:

Over the long haul, collaboration yields better results than hero-based design… Teams rarely learn or get better from working with heroes.

The same is true for any other discipline the hero might practice. And there isn’t really much to add to this.

Except, perhaps, for a little more context:

The most effective way I’ve found to rally a team around a design direction is through collaboration. Over the long haul, collaboration yields better results than hero-based design (the practices of calling in a designer or design team to drop in, come up with something beautiful, and take off to rescue the next project). Teams rarely learn or get better from working with heroes. Instead, designing together increases the design IQ of the entire team.

’nuff said.

Just one more thing: Read Lean UX. Much of its content is applicable way beyond UX.

Other voices

James Lawther discussed this from a broader perspective on SquawkPoint.

De-emphasising organisational boundaries unfortunately not a silver bullet

Many smart people have written many smart things about new ways of organising work that have become feasible in the last few years. Some of these smart people are Tom Graves and Dave Gray. A key aspect of many of these new ways of organising is de-emphasising traditional organisational boundaries, i.e. in effect doing work across organisational boundaries that would have been done within organisational boundaries just a few years ago.

The opportunities this brings have been discussed thoroughly before as actually have been the risks. So the following really is old news…but I feel strangely compelled to get it out of my system:

When you depend on others for critical parts of your performance, then critical parts of your performance actually depend on others.

When operating in a network of nimble and effective organisations this might be not much of a problem — assuming you can reorganise your value stream or value network in a swift and flexible way. Traditional corporate outsourcing can produce scenarios in which several large organisations are tied together by rigid contractual frameworks and complicated operating models over a fairly long time.

In these situations, the partners may feel they cannot obtain and, respectively, provide optimal value, but tragically feel they are unable to do much about it. Sooner or later, organising essential work strictly within the boundaries of the organisation looks preferable.

That sounds like rewinding a couple of decades and starting over. I think we can do better than this.