Tips & Advice

What Can I Do To Stop Scope Creep? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 07)

“Hey, can we squeeze one more thing into this sprint?”

If you recognize that statement, then today’s episode of Tuesdays with Joe is for you. Of all the topics I’m asked about on a weekly basis, scope creep is the one that never fails to show up — almost daily.

Organizations often approach project requirements and scoping as a “set it and forget it” proposition: we figured all this out, here’s the list of stuff we have to do and build, GO!

The expectation is that with the hard work of deciding

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Tips & Advice

Aren’t Requirements and Specifications the SAME THING? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 06)

Here’s a question for you:

Would you build a house without first knowing how many rooms it should have?

Of course not.

Here’s another:

What would you do when, 3 months after construction starts, your spouse insists you need another bedroom?

You’d be stuck, of course.

You’d be scrambling to figure out a way to minimize the amount of work you have to undo (and redo). You’d be hoping for some miracle to give you the time, budget and people to take on the additional work.

And get it done on the

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Tips & Advice

What do I ask users when my time with them is really short? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 05)

In a perfect world, you’d be able to spend a week or two with a large number of users, digging deep into their obstacles and challenges.

In a perfect world, you’d have the time to examine every facet of use and the contexts they operate in, leaving no stone unturned.

But you and I don’t live in a perfect world, do we?

What really happens is — if we do get any face time at all with users — the time we have to operate in is minimal. Of the questions

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Tips & Advice

Aren’t Site Maps and IA Models really the same thing? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 04)

I’ve encountered an untold number of situations where, upon asking a project team to show me their planned Information Architecture (IA), they show me a Site Map instead.

I politely point out that this isn’t an IA model.

The team looks back at me, confused, and they ask the question I already know is coming: “But aren’t they the same thing?”

Nope. But I completely understand why they believe this. And I explain the difference like this:

That confusion isn’t new, partly because people on the UX/IA side of the fence do

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Tips & Advice

How do I convince managers that upfront UX is necessary? (Tuesdays with Joe, Episode 03)

This week’s question is one I hear from many of you, almost daily:

How can I introduce the idea of upfront UX work and planning, in a way that my managers will actually consider it?

We humans are naturally resistant to anything new. Whether it’s because we’re unfamiliar with the topic at hand or are just uncomfortable with change, we’re comfortable sticking with what we know.

Your product owners, managers and even your fellow team members are no different. It’s hard for them to let go of the ways they’ve

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Tips & Advice

The Fast (and Easy) Way to Uncover User Needs

UX improvement for big sites and systems begs equally big questions. And in B2B or Enterprise environments, the level of complexity inherent in the tool and its use makes it hard to know where to start. What’s more, when it comes to figuring out user needs, there are hundreds of potential questions you can ask.

fast-easy-way-to-uncover-userneeds-blog

In the majority of B2B and Enterprise circumstances, however, reality dictates that no one has the time to ask (or answer) all of them. When time and budgets

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Tips & Advice

The Right (and Wrong) Way to Wireframe

I need to start with what I’m sure will appear to be a painfully obvious question:

What is a wireframe?

I ask it because on a weekly basis I see things that are called wireframes, but, in fact, are not wireframes. And as such, they’re not really helping their creators move things forward and answer questions of proposed features and functionality. Here are few things that tell you whether you’re looking at a wireframe (or not):

  • If you’re using any color aside from blue to indicate hyperlinks, it’s not a wireframe.
  • If you’re using real images, it’s not
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Tips & Advice

[ Video ] The Long Wow: Delivering Great UX with Every Update (3 Critical UX Questions, Part 7 of 7)

Designing and building products that deliver valuable UX is certainly a tall task. And most teams breathe a sigh of relief once the product launches and that mountain of effort is at long last receding into the sunset.

But in truth, as you’ll see in this final installment of our video series, the hard work of delivering value to people has only begun:

We’ve moved the mountain and gotten this thing to launch. But how do we make sure it remains valuable, meaningful and useful to people? How do we make sure it remains

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Tips & Advice

[ Video ] The Be-All, End-All Key to Delivering Great UX (3 Critical UX Questions, Part 6 of 7)

No matter what you’re designing or building, nothing you do matters much if you can’t answer the be-all, end-all, mission critical UX question to end all questions:

What VALUE does this provide to people?

In this the sixth video in our series, we’ll dig into answering that question:

Products of any kind are used by people, so making sure you understand what they care about is a good place to start. Down to the most specific detail we can uncover, who’s going to use this thing? What experiences can we provide that might be

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Tips & Advice

[ Video ] How to Avoid Last-Minute UX Scope Changes (3 Critical UX Questions, Part 5 of 7)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You’re in the home stretch of development heading toward toward launch, when people in the organization you’ve never heard from suddenly swoop in and mandate changes to everything you’ve done. In this fifth video in our series, I’ll show you how to make sure this doesn’t happen:

Author and tech business guru Guy Kawasaki calls this scenario a “swoop and poop.” It’s what happens when people with power and influence swoop in, dump all over everything that’s been done and fly away — until the next

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