Hybrid Conf: Leading your design through danger

Hybrid Conf: Leading your design through danger

Leading your design through danger presented by PJ McCormick (@mynameispj) at HybridConf 2013. PJ discussed the fear that fills the room during review sessions as clients panic about the consequences of decisions and how to put them at ease. Here's what I learned from his talk.

  • Collaboration is more important than tools.
  • Involve your client in all the processes and they will start to understand what design is. They will become more understanding and protect the result.
  • Mock-ups are at the end, the design process leads to it.
  • There will always be different thoughts and opinions during a review.
    • This is dangerous for both the product and the relationship.
    • Clients express thoughts due to fear, even the most challenging client is just afraid of what will happen.
    • This is dangerous if you don't have a leader.
    • Never make decisions because of fear.
  • Leaders are not bosses, managers or official authority figures.
  • Leaders avoid mistakes and want to be right whilst creatives learn from mistakes and hope to be right.
    • Understand that you might not have all the information that you need to make the right decision.
  • Leaders must listen and build confidence and trust.
  • Clients are accountable for the work you are producing, you must solve their fears.
  • Jeff Bezos said: "people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds. He doesn't think consistency of thought is a particularly positive trait. It's perfectly healthy - encouraged, even - to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today."
  • Learn to understand what the client means, if they say "I don't like this" try to understand what they don't like.
    • Once you have removed the generalisation concentrate on a positive solution for the more defined problem.
    • You must lead both your own people and your clients through a project.
  • The best response to a client's fear is "Tell me more about... why you don't like X?"

Leaders

  • First listen, then build confidence and trust.
  • Lead people through terrifying situations, such as when we don't understand something.
  • Don't rush with a response, leaders listen, pause and make the other person feel important. Then they help them with their fear.
PJ McCormick presents leading your design through danger
PJ McCormick presents leading your design through danger.