One Jump at a Time
Method: Critiquing | Deliverable: Jump
A Jump is a simple and robust feedback loop that drives design forward in a plan. Think of it as the building block of iterative design. They bring uniformity and consistency to the feedback collection process across cross functional teams, stakeholders, customers and a target audience.
The guide objective of this section is to bring all the design methods and actions together in a Jump.
Goals of a Jump
There are four actions in one Jump: Create, Show, React and Shape.
In each action, there are specific tasks that push the Jump forward. The goal of this section is to summarize the important ideas in a Jump.
- Create: Design is a craft and encompasses a lot of doing, less saying. In order to realize the potential of this creative output, we must consider how these creations will influence our audience. The foundation of design is based on a high-level execution of deliverables using solid design methods. This could be needfinding, wireframing, prototyping, coding, etc. In each Jump, a design deliverable pushes the feedback process forward.
- Show: We might just throw work into a slide deck, and linearly work through ideas in a traditional business presentation. In design, however, we need ways to carry conversations toward possibilities in divergent ways. Linear presentations are often too stiff to elicit the type of feedback that is necessary to create something truly amazing.
- React: The collection of feedback can be exciting or belaboring. But it needs to happen and designers are in a position to drive this across the design process. Soliciting and giving feedback happens across your team, customers, users and your target audience. The right type of feedback happens with the right presentation.
- Shape: Synthesizing ideas drives design work forward. Overlook feedback and the entire loop falls apart. When all parties are happy with the result of the design work (or some other constraint limits time), it’s then possible to move on to another phase or method. The goal of the Shape action is to surface Design Insights from the design work.
A Jump is the building block of Progressive Design. It brings uniformity and consistency to the feedback collection process across cross-functional teams, stakeholders, customers and a target audience.
This illustrations show how the four actions work in concert with one another.
A jump emphasizes doing and making a lot of small decisions that together move projects forward. People-centered design requires active participation, collaboration and iteration. All within a predefined Flight Plan.
A design leader might facilitate 20-30 Jumps with the entire project team over 10 weeks.
A Jump typically happens over a 2-3 day period. But can extend up to 5 days depending on the complexity of the design work within that Jump. Small deviations in Jump length will occur over a Flight Plan due to the complexity of the work or the availability of team input.
In addition, some design methods and deliverables might require multiple, iterative Jumps to provide more clarity in the design work.
In each of the four actions, there are 3 parts to insure successful delivery:
The interplay of a Jump with an overall Flight plan helps us create the right trajectory. However, it takes many Jumps to make a solid design plan.
As a project progresses, it is important to make sure each Jump is focused and embraces the key ideas in Progressive Design.
- Design projects are not limited strictly to designers, but they must be led by someone who embodies the qualities of a leader who uses the principles of Progressive Design to lead.
- Great products don’t require project managers or program managers — they require owning the project.
- Companies have project managers, account managers, and specialized front-end people to provide services with segmented, specialized skills sets. Our approach is more nimble — we remove project managers, invest the team into the work and focus on smaller deliverables to create momentum.
- Encourage team members to take responsibility and manage themselves. Letting go and trusting employees plays an important role in building products. When you are surrounded by talented, passionate people, it’s a shame to hold them back and keep them under the heels of a manage
- A Jeff Bezos concept: If your team can’t be fed on two pizzas, then cut people from a project.
24 hour feedback loops
- Collect feedback and aggregate the ideas.
- Prioritize feedback based on user needs, business goals and technical feasibility.
- Don’t get stuck. One day of feedback won’t set the project in the wrong direction.
- Use your intuition and blend the team feedback accordingly.
- Focus on the end goal and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in minutiae. Focusing on the goal helps push through anxieties and create amazing work.
- Instead of waiting for every decision to be thought out and validated over the course of weeks, months, years — it takes mere hours to come to decisions that help us move through a design process.
- Learning how to make problems smaller helps teams move through problems and feedback much quicker — thus creating momentum.
- Don’t stress about the end of the project or tomorrow’s deliverables, adjust as necessary.
- It’s about momentum! Prioritize momentum. Momentum wins projects!
- Plan ahead, days move fast. Anticipate when your team will get stuck.
- Complete homework keeps momentum.
- After a decade of working on projects with highly motivated founders and product teams that want to get stuff done, we’ve come to a simple conclusion: schedules can be the death of team morale and great products, unless you balance them by staying nimble and opportunistic. Great things happen when a highly motivated team gets to play a little to discover new ways to do things better.
- Set expectations on a rolling five days. It removes stakeholder uncertainty without locking in early decisions. It leaves the flexibility to turn on a dime — dodging problems and seizing opportunities the team discovers along the way.
- A rolling five day outlook keeps stakeholders focused on immediate results without freaking them out. Small decisions tied to long schedules are easy to project across the entire project. You need to leave room for little failures without fearing the entire project is going in the wrong direction. People get too concerned about tomorrow and the end.
Using these tools will allow you to jump without fear because you won’t be doing so into the unknown. Soon you’ll be like Kris Kross.
Next Up: Flight Plans