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  1. Requirements are very important. In fact I would say that 95% of all failed IT projects can be traced to a poor requirement process. This is baffling because requirements are really not that complicated and yet I see people fail in organization after organization. After I started to look into the different flavors of Requirements I start to understand why things are so very hard to understand for many. There are such confusion about what type of work you should actually do, who you actually work for and what you actually should deliver. So let us define what a requirement is first: "A Requirement is a legal agreement between the requester and the performer." That statement alone will surely get a few people raising their eyebrow for the simple reason that it does not fit in their job description. Again this baffles me that we have so many different work description for a single discipline. My only explanation is that people are confused on what different levels you work with requirements. If we simply break down the three most common way of working I have seen: Facilitate, Investigate and Document. Then add it to the three common areas of work: Business, IT and translation between the two, then we can make a nice matrix. From there we can see what actual roles people have. For me I think that anyone working with facilitating meetings as their primary function is a manager. Anyone who just document the need is a secretary. Those two types of "requirement analysts" I see frequently and in my opinion we should make sure that we call them for what they are so people do not think that this is requirement work. In the investigative category it is common to work in all 3 areas depending on who you work for. Business analysts help business to define their need and IT analysts help IT define their need. This is however not requirements as their final product, but need. That comes BEFORE requirements. In this matrix we can see that the only role that actually work with requirements as the final product are the Requirement Analysts. This makes sense since the definition of requirements as a final product is: "The outcome of a Requirement is a translation between need and realization of that need." This is where many fail. I see many, many requirements that are nothing more than a granular break down of a need, but lacking the translation. Many are often either to undefined and border on a business need, or other times I see technical specifications instead of the need. My theory is that people do not understand what requirements are and who they are for. We can see this in the delivery of requirements as well. I do not know how many times I have seen people claiming to work with requirements simply dump a bunch of documents on the development team and move on to next project, or next iteration of the project. This way of working when you build walls and throw packages over it is NOT a proper way to work with requirements. As we can see in the matrix above a requirement analyst sit between business and IT. There she function as a bridge between the two, translating need in both direction to ensure everyone understand and agree on what should be realized. This can only be done with active communication, person to person, and you never deliver a requirement, you make a handover. I think that this is the key for making requirement processes work: handover and asking development and test to take over the responsibility of the requirement. To ask the most important question there is: "do you understand what business want and can you realize that need with the information you have been provided?" If the answer is no to that question, then you are not done with the requirement. If you just understand your place in the requirement process and you understand what a requirement is, then the requirement process will be easy for you. If your organization understand that as well, then life will be great for everyone. So do you still think requirements are difficult?
  2. Last Thursday I had my first meeting with the Claremont UX group that I am now a part of and it was one of those meetings where you just sit and go "wow" because your co-workers are just the greatest people you have ever met! While the UX part of Claremont is fairly new the people are sharp and experienced wizards for sure. The exchange of knowledge was through the roof and the level of discussion was at the highest level! It's been a while since I was not the sharpest UX mind in the room so sitting with these great minds was just amazing. I look forward to be a part of this group who truly is passionate about making the world a better place by making it as user friendly as possible. I see no limit to the amazing things that we can do together and my heart is just glowing with inspiration and passion right now. I can't wait to get to work on Monday! ... My new co-workers completely rocked my socks and it was epic!
  3. UX design, visual design, interaction design, creative technologist, GUI designer, usability consultant, information architect. The titles are endless these days and as someone who work with all of these pretty much every day I am starting to wonder if we are breaking things down to much these days, or if it is actually necessary to get things done? 10 years ago most of these titles were pretty uncommon, at least compared to the way they are used today. They still existed, they just were not as clearly defined and separated as they are today. Most just called themselves "designer" and that was pretty much ok. When I had my own design business there was no distinction between a visual designer or a UX designer for example because without the knowledge of one you can not do the job of another. Without knowing the information structure and the technical limitation of the platform I am designing for, I can not set the interaction design. Without the interaction design I can not set the UX and without the UX I can not set the visual design. It's not quite that linear as they all blend on multiple levels, but you get the idea. So for me these things are always connected and maybe that is why I never felt comfortable focusing on just one area. How can I best help a client if I do not understand the whole picture? How can I create a solution without understanding everything from psychology to visual principles to information architecture and interaction patterns in the different touch points in a customer journey? As the fields expand rapidly, just as they do for front end development, the information flow becomes almost unmanageable. Is this perhaps the reason why we see people that proclaim to be UX designers, visual designers or interaction designers? Or is it just that they still are "designers", but just focus on one area of expertise more than the other fields? Unfortunately I see a division, just like the division happening for the front end developers, where we have designers that put the creative power of the visual design as their only craft and others with the intellectual focus of interaction and psychology as a separate craft. I have been in projects where this division have worked fine and I have been in projects where this does absolutely does not work at all. It all depends on the people and the methodology where communication is always the key. As we dig deeper into the psychology of design and user behavior, for the web in general and e-commerce in particular, does this mean that it become to difficult to stay on top of the development in all these fields so a division of discipline is required? The tools we use suggest the opposite however and the borders between visual deign, interaction/UX design and even code becomes more and more blurred. So from a technical point of view we move towards where I was 10-15 years ago where you are doing just "design". As of now I am not really sure what is the best way moving forward. Is it better to have very focused individuals that form teams to get the full width of the design process? Or is it better to have less focused individuals that can handle the full range of disciplines on their own? What does this mean for methodologies and work processes, does it matter at all? What are your thoughts on this matter? What direction do you think we are headed and how do you feel about that?
  4. As I am leaving the current project, due to the fact that I am leaving for another company, other people are taking over my duties and I get less and less involvement in the work that I used to hold together as the spider in the web. This is very difficult as I am used to be the one in the center of all things and now I am on the outside. The new team lead do things differently and the process of change always leave a residue of confusion and every fiber in my body just want to step in and "fix" things. The thing is that there is nothing to "fix", it's just change and the fact that I no longer sit in the center of the project any more. The new team lead have things well under control and the project is doing just fine without me. The realization that you really are not that important is both liberating an a bit sad. On one hand I am glad because it means that I have succeeded in making myself obsolete and the team no longer have need of my guidance. They work just fine without me following the processes and workflows we have built together. On the other hand I feel a bit like a parent no longer being needed by their children and they move from home. Just in reverse as I am the one leaving. It's a bit sad to realize that you will no longer be the one they come for when they need help or the one they turn to for advice and comfort. “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” While this is a strange and sometime uncomfortable situation it is also a great opportunity to observe and learn from the new team lead and also to lift my gaze and look at things outside my part of the project. It's quite interesting and it's a very good learning experience, especially when you can pick up on body language. I see so many things now that I have not yet had time to observe before and it give me a wealth of new insights. So I am in a position right now that feels a bit weird, mostly because I am not just leaving the project, but the company as well. It's also sad as I have to much time to think about how much I will miss my team and my co-workers when I leave. Have you ever been in the same position and what did you learn from that?
  5. Building this new site feels amazing, yet very confined at times. Simple things that I have been used to are simply not part of the infrastructure. Other things are just different and things I wished I had a long time ago. Overall this is just the beginning of building a new beginning for my website. As with my old site I am still a bit all over the place when it comes to what I want the site to be about. I have already started to add my project portfolio and of course this blog, but beyond that I still play around with different things. Downloads are always nice and I have some thoughts on what I would like to do with that. The Gallery is just a dumping ground for images at the moment, pretty much like Facebook used to be. We'll see how much effort I want to put there later, but for now it will just be the way it is. The forum is a hub for conversation. I have added the "Ask Jimi" function I have been pondering on for a while. I also add sections for community discussions even if I don't know if that will ever pick up. Clubs are there of course as mini-communities. I have them mostly for the Atlassian Usergroup that I am leader for, but we'll see what else we can use it for. Calendar can be used for events, but I am not going to put that much effort into it right now. In the future it can be extended to different types of events to make it more useful. I do have the commerce part added to this site as well. It can be used for a great deal of things like donations or actually selling physical and digital things. As my book comes along, maybe I'll add it here and maybe it can be used to sell things like art or designs in the future? We'll see what can be done and I have some ideas that are connected to the downloads section. I tossed in a videos section because I love the simplicity and the fact that I can keep track of my own best videos in an easy way. Pages are the big part of this new site. It's a powerful application that you can use to build pretty much anything you want. The problem is that documentation is very poor and the community is not really active or helpful always. Despite this I find it very satisfying to try to figure out how to get the data I need to build the things I want. This blog is built on Pages, even though I have the blog functionality as an application as well. The reason is that I like the function to add a blog function to the clubs, but I find it lacking for my own blog. I also use it to build the database for project portfolio. Later I will build some new databases as well such as a code snippets database and a profiles database where I present and promote different people. For now I focus on the basics, but later on I will start looking at database relationship functionality to bring data from other databases into records. This is useful for example to bring in profiles into a project database or reviews into a blogpost. Over all I need to think about what I want to see here and why. Until I figure that out I will just continue having a good time posting blogposts, uploading videos and making status updates. It's such a nice feeling to have so many functions to play around with! ...but first I will go for a walk in the scorching summer heat and clear my head
  6. Building this new site feels amazing, yet very confined at times. Simple things that I have been used to are simply not part of the infrastructure. Other things are just different and things I wished I had a long time ago. Overall this is just the beginning of building a new beginning for my website. As with my old site I am still a bit all over the place when it comes to what I want the site to be about. I have already started to add my project portfolio and of course this blog, but beyond that I still play around with different things. Downloads are always nice and I have some thoughts on what I would like to do with that. The Gallery is just a dumping ground for images at the moment, pretty much like Facebook used to be. We'll see how much effort I want to put there later, but for now it will just be the way it is. The forum is a hub for conversation. I have added the "Ask Jimi" function I have been pondering on for a while. I also add sections for community discussions even if I don't know if that will ever pick up. Clubs are there of course as mini-communities. I have them mostly for the Atlassian Usergroup that I am leader for, but we'll see what else we can use it for. Calendar can be used for events, but I am not going to put that much effort into it right now. In the future it can be extended to different types of events to make it more useful. I do have the commerce part added to this site as well. It can be used for a great deal of things like donations or actually selling physical and digital things. As my book comes along, maybe I'll add it here and maybe it can be used to sell things like art or designs in the future? We'll see what can be done and I have some ideas that are connected to the downloads section. I tossed in a videos section because I love the simplicity and the fact that I can keep track of my own best videos in an easy way. Pages are the big part of this new site. It's a powerful application that you can use to build pretty much anything you want. The problem is that documentation is very poor and the community is not really active or helpful always. Despite this I find it very satisfying to try to figure out how to get the data I need to build the things I want. This blog is built on Pages, even though I have the blog functionality as an application as well. The reason is that I like the function to add a blog function to the clubs, but I find it lacking for my own blog. I also use it to build the database for project portfolio. Later I will build some new databases as well such as a code snippets database and a profiles database where I present and promote different people. For now I focus on the basics, but later on I will start looking at database relationship functionality to bring data from other databases into records. This is useful for example to bring in profiles into a project database or reviews into a blogpost. Over all I need to think about what I want to see here and why. Until I figure that out I will just continue having a good time posting blogposts, uploading videos and making status updates. It's such a nice feeling to have so many functions to play around with! ...but first I will go for a walk in the scorching summer heat and clear my head View full article
  7. As I am leaving the current project, due to the fact that I am leaving for another company, other people are taking over my duties and I get less and less involvement in the work that I used to hold together as the spider in the web. This is very difficult as I am used to be the one in the center of all things and now I am on the outside. The new team lead do things differently and the process of change always leave a residue of confusion and every fiber in my body just want to step in and "fix" things. The thing is that there is nothing to "fix", it's just change and the fact that I no longer sit in the center of the project any more. The new team lead have things well under control and the project is doing just fine without me. The realization that you really are not that important is both liberating an a bit sad. On one hand I am glad because it means that I have succeeded in making myself obsolete and the team no longer have need of my guidance. They work just fine without me following the processes and workflows we have built together. On the other hand I feel a bit like a parent no longer being needed by their children and they move from home. Just in reverse as I am the one leaving. It's a bit sad to realize that you will no longer be the one they come for when they need help or the one they turn to for advice and comfort. “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” While this is a strange and sometime uncomfortable situation it is also a great opportunity to observe and learn from the new team lead and also to lift my gaze and look at things outside my part of the project. It's quite interesting and it's a very good learning experience, especially when you can pick up on body language. I see so many things now that I have not yet had time to observe before and it give me a wealth of new insights. So I am in a position right now that feels a bit weird, mostly because I am not just leaving the project, but the company as well. It's also sad as I have to much time to think about how much I will miss my team and my co-workers when I leave. Have you ever been in the same position and what did you learn from that? View full article
  8. Last Thursday I had my first meeting with the Claremont UX group that I am now a part of and it was one of those meetings where you just sit and go "wow" because your co-workers are just the greatest people you have ever met! While the UX part of Claremont is fairly new the people are sharp and experienced wizards for sure. The exchange of knowledge was through the roof and the level of discussion was at the highest level! It's been a while since I was not the sharpest UX mind in the room so sitting with these great minds was just amazing. I look forward to be a part of this group who truly is passionate about making the world a better place by making it as user friendly as possible. I see no limit to the amazing things that we can do together and my heart is just glowing with inspiration and passion right now. I can't wait to get to work on Monday! ... My new co-workers completely rocked my socks and it was epic! View full article
  9. UX design, visual design, interaction design, creative technologist, GUI designer, usability consultant, information architect. The titles are endless these days and as someone who work with all of these pretty much every day I am starting to wonder if we are breaking things down to much these days, or if it is actually necessary to get things done? 10 years ago most of these titles were pretty uncommon, at least compared to the way they are used today. They still existed, they just were not as clearly defined and separated as they are today. Most just called themselves "designer" and that was pretty much ok. When I had my own design business there was no distinction between a visual designer or a UX designer for example because without the knowledge of one you can not do the job of another. Without knowing the information structure and the technical limitation of the platform I am designing for, I can not set the interaction design. Without the interaction design I can not set the UX and without the UX I can not set the visual design. It's not quite that linear as they all blend on multiple levels, but you get the idea. So for me these things are always connected and maybe that is why I never felt comfortable focusing on just one area. How can I best help a client if I do not understand the whole picture? How can I create a solution without understanding everything from psychology to visual principles to information architecture and interaction patterns in the different touch points in a customer journey? As the fields expand rapidly, just as they do for front end development, the information flow becomes almost unmanageable. Is this perhaps the reason why we see people that proclaim to be UX designers, visual designers or interaction designers? Or is it just that they still are "designers", but just focus on one area of expertise more than the other fields? Unfortunately I see a division, just like the division happening for the front end developers, where we have designers that put the creative power of the visual design as their only craft and others with the intellectual focus of interaction and psychology as a separate craft. I have been in projects where this division have worked fine and I have been in projects where this does absolutely does not work at all. It all depends on the people and the methodology where communication is always the key. As we dig deeper into the psychology of design and user behavior, for the web in general and e-commerce in particular, does this mean that it become to difficult to stay on top of the development in all these fields so a division of discipline is required? The tools we use suggest the opposite however and the borders between visual deign, interaction/UX design and even code becomes more and more blurred. So from a technical point of view we move towards where I was 10-15 years ago where you are doing just "design". As of now I am not really sure what is the best way moving forward. Is it better to have very focused individuals that form teams to get the full width of the design process? Or is it better to have less focused individuals that can handle the full range of disciplines on their own? What does this mean for methodologies and work processes, does it matter at all? What are your thoughts on this matter? What direction do you think we are headed and how do you feel about that? View full article
  10. I have the best work in the world as I get to be a part of building incredible E-commerce solutions along side with awesome people from all over the world. For the past 10+ years my heart has been singing with joy and I have been reluctant to leave work at night and eager to get back to it in the morning. As vacation is nearing it's end my heart does not sing as loud as it used to... There is a cloud muffling the song of joy inside me while at the same time another song is slowly building up. In my mind a thousand things fly by as always, but one thought have slowly been overshadowing them all during the vacation: I am leaving my current work for another. This might seem trivial to some, but to me leaving my current company fill my heart with sadness. It has been my home and my extended family for five wonderful years and I have loved every single moment of my time here. The people I work with are the best in the world and there is a bond between us that I can not really explain. We truly care for each other and our clients and that special feeling that I have every time I come to work has made a world of difference for me. Despite this I have made the decision to move on. A new company will be my home this fall and that fill my heart with excitement. A new beginning with new people that I get to know, a different focus and a different model for salary. These things fuel my passion for what I do and I very much look forward to the challenges ahead. Still I struggle with the two feelings of sadness from saying goodbye to my current colleagues and the joy of starting something new and exciting with another company. So my heart does not sing as loud as it used at the idea of getting back to work on Monday. It is with sadness I do my last weeks at my current company as I will have to leave behind so many awesome co-workers and friends even though I take comfort in knowing they will keep things awesome long after I am gone. It is with joy I look forward to the new challenges ahead and i know that it is just a matter of time before that song return again as loud as before. I need this change as I need to challenge myself to grow, but right now it hurt a bit. All things in life changes and change never comes without pain. I move forward, towards new challenges and new experiences. To hear that song return again, louder and stronger. View full article
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