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Chris Compston

How often have you heard: “But we have no strategy!” or seen teams working independently on initiatives that have no real strategic impact?

Perception is reality and when individuals or teams perceive that there is no product strategy, then there isn’t. That is their reality and it is in every sense real. If it is being called out then at least this can draw attention to the problem— silence is corrosive.

More than likely there actually is a strategy but people maybe don’t realise it or know what to do about it. Enabling teams to execute on a strategy with…


Introducing new process and team structure at a large scale, and continuously operating, organizations are always going to be a challenge. The number of people involved can range in the hundreds to thousands. Managers capable of change management at this scale are going to be more successful in ensuring the process is smooth, but of course, there are still challenges whenever people are involved.

Change is a hard but necessary state of growing organisations. And that is all organisations — it is very rare for a business to be able to stand still, if it is not growing then it…


A list of books that, as a designer, you may not have come across but that contain potentially career-defining material.

This isn’t your usual list of design books. You won’t find anything by Don Norman, there’s nothing here about mobile-first design or usability testing, there’s nothing about UX strategy — if that’s a thing at all.

What you will find are indispensable books with topics on creative and innovative thinking, building trust as an elemental tactic, understanding psychology and how business strategy really works. These will hopefully, like they did for me, change the way you view design in your organisation, how to operate more effectively in a team and develop your business sense as an individual designer.

There’s only…


Organising and facilitating retrospectives for realistic positive change.

The purpose of this article is to enable truly effective retrospectives by highlighting the often missed, but truly important, aspects of a successful reflective and contemplative team session.

The intention of retrospectives is to ensure continual improvement. Ongoing discussion is essential for creating an atmosphere for high performing teams in which to operate, whether that’s between team members or with issues (and successes) called out at daily standups. However there is still the need to look back and to move forward with positive change as a group.

Facilitation

Deciding whether to allow someone…


Moving teams from output- to outcome-focused requires a step change in understanding and internally publicizing what product versions mean

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

“The biggest lie in software is Phase 2.” — Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

Version 2 is now live! Have you ever heard of customers talking about Version 2 of a new software? Most likely not. They will, however, talk about new features and functionality that help them achieve something they couldn’t do in the past or that opens up new services to them.

Sustainable product growth comes from continuing to provide value to both new and existing customers. There is still some benefit to publicizing new versions of software — to help secure the next round…


Running feature design critiques for truly valuable feedback.

Conducting group feedback sessions for particular features allows the product team to share their thoughts, raise any concerns and ask technical and consumer focused questions during the analysis, design and development stages of a potential product solution.

Ensuring feature critiques happen early and often allows the team to tackle problems early on, well before it becomes too difficult to approach them in a different way. It will help to identify any other potential problems in this and other features and provide designers with insight that could help them change course if needed.

Especially important is when a product sits within…


Design iteration is great if there’s a product vision to pin the flag to.

Without a vision the product being built could end up with a mess of confused and often contradictory design patterns, interactions and experiences. It might not sound particularly ‘Agile’ to do design work up front, however creating a tangible product goal can allow the design and development team to keep on track and focus decisions while continually iterating towards that goal.

Benefits to the team and business

Creating a product vision can focus discussions and will bring value to both the design and development team and any business stakeholders involved.

Agile development teams

  • All visual and experience design decisions can be aligned to the future vision…

Everyone seems to be doing ‘Design Sprints’ and proclaiming the life changing techniques and evangelical product output they’ve achieved.

Design Sprints are all the rage at the moment. Yet often, I’ve witnessed their ineffectiveness or even worse their tendency to hinder or damage current design and development processes.

Just to be clear, it’s not that I dislike the Google Design Sprint model, they certainly have a place, but really they’re nothing new and the excitement around them can be damaging. The team should already have an ongoing design process similar to this anyway, giving it a title and a specific place in that full process can be valuable however it’s important to be careful when implementing them.

Design Sprints shouldn’t replace the design process

The team…


Whether there’s a need for introducing, or even practising, collaborative cross functional team ideation or tackling a small but particularly thorny user problem where speed to market is key then this framework will aid in that endeavour.

One hour is a tight timeframe and there’s only so much that can be done. This format along with a strict and forced tight brief actually alleviates the pressure of conceptualising the ‘right idea’ first time and can aid in building an understand of continuous experimentation

Through the process of divergent and convergent thinking participants have to react quickly, even subconsciously, to a…


A quick start guide to getting started with a Lean UX approach to product design and development.

Introduction

When a design team first ventures into the Agile world of product development it can often feel like design is left by the wayside. It’s not uncommon for designers to struggle with understanding where their role, or the tasks they complete, fit into iterative product development.

Lean UX can help to solve that problem.

Alongside other user centred design methods, such as Design Thinking, and Agile Development, by using the Lean UX method a product team can utilise the benefits of an Agile…

Chris Compston

Product Operations — Farfetch // Helping to make better products

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