Tonic’s “Rules to live by” are quoted without permission from a little booklet I got at the SIGGRAPH ’93.
Put things where they belong. Few are won over by misplaced, misalinged, misdesigned anything. Form, really, is a function. Be kind to the user.
Observe a lot. Test everything—because sometimes “common sense” is neither.
It’s hard to make every product so understandable that people know how to use it before they pick it up. But it’s worth shooting for.
[Apple Powerbook (1991)]
Make things simple, but beautiful.
Elegant and timeless beat fancy, gimmicky, or slick. Any day.
[Digidesign RI recording controller (1993)]
Make people lust for it.
Give it a competitive advantage. Make it worth looking at. Worth holding. Worth using. Worth paying good money for.
If the guy next to you on the train had one, would you be more than a little curious? Envious? Good.
[Apple Newton prototype (1992) and Powerbook Duo (1992)]
Make it makeable.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful the thing is if you can’t manufacture it. Befriend the engineering team. Collaborate with the factory.
Instead of designing yourself into a corner, ask for their opinions. So you can produce it–by the thousands. By the millions. Affordably.
[Apple Personal Laserwriter (1990) and Macintosh IIci (1990)]
Invent the future.
If you don’t like your destiny, invent a new one.
Have some fun. Experiment.
Invent a new product category. (Or a whole new industry.) Invent a new design language. Reset the corporate compass.
“It can’t be done,” naysayers will declare. Don’t listen.
[AT&T Personal Communicator concept (1992), Apple Guide concept (1991) and Knowledge Navigator concept (1987)]
© 1993 Tonic Industrial Design, Palo Alto, California, (415) 325-1326, (415) 326-4678, fax. All rights reserved.
So, everything boils down to changing human behavior based on feedback and learning.
People give each other feedback and feedforward so the may learn to cooperate and collaborate better. So doing, they improve their behavior.
We run a Lean Startup to pivot like crazy in order to improve our product, while the product and its user stories aim to trigger different behavior from their users.
All this while we tune and tweak our processes—our way of working—to also change or improve our behavior.
There’s loops of loops all over the place, on all levels of life is a broccoli and across people, product and process. Oh, how elegant.
Now, how can you get all these Agile & Lean Product Development Topics and some descriptive texts on a single, beautiful, comprehensive, and elegant A0-sized poster?
Just say no to make your yes mean something.
Spending your limited time on the things that really matter creates a more intentional and solid yes, builds trust and coherence.
If you believe that you must keep your promises, overdeliver and treat every commitment as though it’s an opportunity for a transformation, then the only way you can do this is to turn down most opportunities.
No I can’t meet with you, no I can’t sell it to you at this price, no I can’t do this job justice, no I can’t come to your party, no I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but no, I can’t. Not if I want to do the very things that people value my work for.
Yes is the future no—in other words, you are lying, often to your dear ones.
Say yes too often, and your body will automatically tell you no in no time.
No is the foundation that we can build our yes on.
Here are nine practices to say a strategic no in order to create space in your life for a more intentional yes.
- Know your no. Identify what’s important to you and acknowledge what’s not.
- Be appreciative.
- Say no to the request, not the person.
- Explain why.
- Be as resolute as they are pushy.
- Establish a pre-emptive no.
- Be prepared to miss out.
- Gather your courage.
Say no to all issues that do not align with values, goals and norms—that fall outside the tolerance of your self or your organization.
- To say “Yes” is about quantity.
- To say “No” is about quality.
- To say “No” gives certainty, dependability, safety and sureness.
Approach (similar to process leading to consent):
- Actively listen to the other’s question.
- Say “No’”.
- Show understanding for any response or reaction.
- Provide a focused motivation of your “No”.
- Find a solution that you both can live with.
- Track progress.
- Listen to the other’s request and provide an understanding “No”, along with its motivation. Find a solution that you both can live with and track progress.
- Say “Yes, as soon as… (I’ve completed all these things first).”
About 30 people in a lean startup context, with about one third coming from various internal departments and two thirds from external parties, assembled to completely overhaul the digital experience—website and apps—from a major Dutch company.
Only recently the group is complete, storming towards their goal. Each individual brings her or his own view on agile and lean, resulting in a potpourri of practices, each trying to find the best way to get going.
To streamline all these efforts and embed organizational and practical feedback loops, the group conducts a series of values-based Agendashift experiments. A six week cadence of Agendashift surveys provides the input for regular ‘retroprospection’. The first survey has just been completed.
Based on the survey’s results, a single lean style ‘A3 Mirror’ distills the essence of the first survey. Next survey is in a couple of weeks, and allows the team at large to check their progress in specific areas.
The results of the survey fall into two categories:
- key areas that the team sees as their strengths;
- a simple copy the survey’s prompt.
- key areas that can improve the team’s way of working;
- phrased as “instructions” in order to turn observations into action-oriented language—just like in the patterns of a Pattern Language; and
- the source for three key objectives to bring focus on what matters most, and candidates to be turned into a limited set of Objective & Key Results.
Wishes for future revisions of Agendashift and the A3 Mirror:
- generate the A3 Mirror directly from the survey results, facilitating continuous retroprosection or learning;
- include vector-based charts in the A3 Mirror;
- maybe just one or two key points per Top and Tip for each of the six focus areas in order to make it even more terse and comprehensive;
- include a timeline of Flower Charts to see the team coming to full blossom.
Somehow, I always have disliked radar charts. They connect unassociated dots and I find them antique remnants from the past millennium. They yearn for a fresh new look. Pondering and visualizing, I came up with the ‘flower chart’. The unfolding of the flower shows its gradual development, adds the time laps or ‘Zeitgeist’ to it.
This just in, a Note from the Universe captures the essence of agile:
Start it; you don’t have to be fancy.
Keep moving; you don’t have to go crazy.
Visualize; you don’t have to admit it.
See the end result; it doesn’t have to be material.
Expect miracles; they don’t have to be huge.
Pretend you’ve arrived; you don’t have to dance on tables.
And above all else, Martien, have fun.
This is why you started it, right?
Life, what a trip
- —The Universe
Okay, okay, Martien, they can be huge and you can dance anywhere you like… but you might rethink the frilly tutu.
General Stanley McCrystal from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force in HBR » What Companies Can Learn from Military Teams:
I still believe in rehearsals, but I’ve learned they have a different value. When I joined the Army Rangers in 1985 we’d rehearse airfield seizure operations—we’d parachute in wearing night vision goggles, and take the field. It’s a pretty complex thing, and we’d do it over and over. We’d have contingencies in case things went wrong, but we were always trying to make things as foolproof as we could.
The longer we did it, the more I realized the value of rehearsal was not in trying to get this perfectly choreographed kabuki that would unfold as planned.
The value of rehearsal was to familiarize everybody with all the things that could happen, what the relationships are, and how you communicate. What you’re really doing is building up the flexibility to adapt.
I’ve never been on an operation that went as planned.