Weeknotes 361

This week I did:


I think successful product work requires three (or maybe four) fundamental things. 1) Who is it for? – which is what personas help with, 2) What are they trying to achieve? – expressed as goals, user needs, etc., and 3) How are we going to help them achieve it? – figured out in user journey maps, solution design diagrams, process maps, etc. These three things express the work at it’s simplest. The fourth thing is a roadmap for creating the things that are going to help the people achieve their goals, which is helpful for alignment and communication but not really fundamental like the other three.

So, this week I did a bit of work on how we create personas, in this case for people who donate to our charity without any specific prompting such as from fundraising campaign. The first step is figuring out the criteria, which at the moment are: Age, Frequency of donation, Amount of donation, Relationship with the charity, and Closeness to cause. I wanted the options for each criteria to be mece so there are between three and six options for each, giving us 2,160 different personas. Of course, we won’t be using all of them. We’ll focus on identifying the most likely combinations and then designing for them.

Digital charity chat

Twitter is good for one thing, at least; setting up video calls with people with similar interests. We chatted about how technology can become charity’s third means of change, and that there aren’t any good examples of this yet. About how digital enables charities to offer variety that meets people’s specific needs rather than do things only one way, but that it takes a different mindset to accomplish. How regulation might be preventing charities from innovating with technology. And the digital needs more generalists. And lots more.

I read:

The product is the variable

This post from Jeff Gothelf has some great insight into the shift the modern digital world is creating. It used to be that the products, teams, organisations, etc., were fixed, stable things and the outcomes they tried to achieve were flexible. So, an organisation might launch a new product with the goal of getting 20% market share, but if they only got 2% then the product was considered a failure. The modern way is that products, teams, organisations, etc., are variable, flexible, changeable as they try to achieve known, fixed outcomes. In this way, the product that only achieved 2% market share is iterated upon until it achieves the goal.

Positive Patterns for Online Shopping

Citizens Advice are currently conducting public research to understand more about consumers’ experience of a number of design patterns that influence how we behave when buying things online.

What’s particularly interesting is that it’s built on squarespace with an airtable form. Even for a large national charity with existing website infrastructure and developers, it’s quicker and easier to use nocode tools for something like this.

A Guide to Email Accessibility Best Practices for Nonprofits

Handy guide to making emails accessible, because they should be.

I thought about:

Orchestra vs. Jazz band

Still thinking about the difference between teams that organise like an orchestra and those that work together like a jazz band. No right or wrong, just what works in different circumstances.

OrchestraJazz band
Dependent on one person (conductor)Inter-dependent contributors (all equal)
Easy to spot disruptive variationImpossible to predict effects of changes

Dodging spaghetti

When someone throws spaghetti at the wall, duck. This is my new mantra for not getting involved in things that look like they don’t know what they are trying to achieve. I used to think the right thing to do was to get involved and try to guide the work towards knowing why it was being done, but at the moment at least, it seems better to stay away.

Work In Regression

There’s lots of thinking about work in progress and how to manage it. It’s important and essential for efficiency and effectiveness. But it doesn’t recognise how work is also undone. In the old physical world, work stays done. When a car is built, it stays built. Knowledge work doesn’t follow the same rules. It suffers entropy, it erodes if not maintained. I wonder how we can be more aware of work in regression, maybe even track it.