Week 45 — The frenzied focus of workshop preparation

Photo: Beautiful colors of an apple orchard in La Suisse Normande.

The frenzied focus of workshop preparation

Most of this week was spent preparing for next week’s three-day workshop as part of an ongoing client assignment on the topic of customer experience. There’s a lot that can be done in three days with 15 people… and subsequently, there’s a considerable amount of preparation required.

During this phase, we live in a constant state of oscillating between deciding where we need to land, and designing for it to happen as a workshop activity… and that happens in both a fractal and iterative manner, as we design chunks of time, and then re-design them as we flesh out the flow of the three days.

And, well, no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, as the saying goes, and it applies even when there’s no enemy. Other humans being involved is enough 😜 This messy process is what allows us to be completely comfortable changing up the agenda as we go.

All the while, the production of content and tools must continue at a steady clip so that it finishes on time. It’s been a packed week.

No skill goes unused

Years of wearing PM/UX/IA hats to build websites and apps meant that I picked up skills in a new or adjacent field every 1–2 years. In the past few years, I’ve shifted my focus to include projects with topics like customer experience and organizational design, which don’t necessarily have a specific product or service involved.

One realization which keeps popping up again and again is just how how transferable those skills and bodies of knowledge are — and I’m very grateful for it. Here are five that came in handy this week:

  • workshop design and facilitation
  • information architecture
  • UX research, especially sense-making and synthesizing bodies of disparate information
  • content strategy, especially production planning and management
  • a general understanding of tech stacks and the state of corporate IT

Researcher frameworks and Communities of Practice

I’ve joined a working group within the ResearchOps community to build a UX researcher skills and career progression framework. One activity is to collect and review existing frameworks, so I’m leading this work stream, while we maintain a steady exchange about our challenges in the context of scaling the impact of research.

This week in particular was fueled with input from the DesignOps Summit, which some folks were attending while the rest of us followed on Twitter. Such rich conversations 😻

More on the framework work in the weeks to come!