“Month” notes: March 2020

Written documentation of a week’s activities.

Just finished reading about “week notes”, here and here. It looks like a really helpful productivity and project retrospective tool, so I figured I’d give it a shot. The examples I’ve seen are based on weeks, but this is my first time and March recently ended so I’m going to write my first “week” note for an entire month. Please forgive if there are any inaccuracies, or if it’s super long. 🙂

A note: If for some reason you’re not aware of current events, March 2020 has been one of the most volatile periods of time since WWII, or the civil movements of the 1960s. For most people, anywhere in the world, there’s been a lot going on. These are my small notes, on the work I’ve been doing, in my own little corner of the world.

Context

I am currently engaged on an e-commerce redesign and platforming project for a retail client. The client and internal teams are based in NYC and NJ, with a tech team in India. I work closely with an experience associate manager, a visual design lead, two visual designers, and project manager. I work semi-closely with the client (product) team. And the executive director of experience remains involved, here and there.

Work

  • Created wireframe desktop layout options for account profile dashboards in Sketch
  • Followed e-commerce project’s shift from wireframes to workflows – due to the UX team getting ahead of the requirements
  • Created workflows to map potential e-commerce interactions for  requirements for track order and favorites lists
  • Created workflows that mapped product requirements, written in Confluence, for reset password as a guest/non-credentialed user and from account profile
  • Created workflows to map proposed account profile functionality, including update address from account profile and checkout, communication preferences, and expired cards/payment methods
  • Attended a product requirements meeting, to review proposed requirements from the product team (client)
  • Attended at least 2 product meetings to discuss requirements for account profile pages
  • Discussed workflows on track order and favorites/wishlist with a tech lead, before presenting to the client
  • Presented workflows on track order and favorites/wishlist to client
  • Attended an informal session with the visual design team on their progress on a design system
  • Worked with the visual design lead and UX associate director to prep for a client presentation on wireframes and visual design of requirements
  • Revisited the requirements for account profile requirements, to make sure they were reflected in the wireframes
  • Uploaded screenshot examples of account profile pages for e-commerce sites for desktop and mobile, to help the “CRUX” design teams make decisions on the UI
  • Attended a global experience townhall (on Zoom)
  • Had a virtual check-in with the larger experience teams
  • Attended daily morning check-ins with the internal project team
  • Finally got Acrobat Pro installed on my work computer
  • Had several collaborative sessions with colleagues using InVision’s Freehand
  • Attended an online presentation of an internal collaborative tool
  • Checked out a website on design system repositories

 

Personal

I think this is a good practice. Let’s see where it goes.


Image credit: Old, Bearded Man Writing, Rembrandt van Rijn (school of), c. 1640 – c. 1650, pen and brown ink; framing line in brown ink, h 88mm × w 80mm – View on Rijksmuseum.nl

Learning About Lean, Kanban, Six Sigma, and Kaizen

A few months ago, a friend of mine recently asked on LinkedIn if anyone had any information about Six Sigma certification. It caught my eye, not only because a friend asked, but also because I’d recently come across a conversation on Reddit about Six Sigma, which got me thinking about the concept of kaizen, which is Japanese for “continuous improvement”. Following this path further, I learned more about the connections between kaizen, Six Sigma, and Lean. Six Sigma appears to be one way to implement Lean, which appears to be the way to implement/interpret kaizen*.

NYC Lean/Kanban Meetup, June 2017

Cut to the NYC Lean/Kanban Meetup, which I attended in June to learn more. Unfortunately, it was the last of the season, until September, but they have an ongoing weekly morning get-together on Fridays at 8:30 AM.

https://www.meetup.com/nyc-kanban/

Event Recap

The event was meant to recap a recent series of meetups on Lean as well as a planning session for the next year/season. The talk was interesting, but it’s clear that I’m an n00b. I picked up a few names, book titles, and resources, listed below.

People

Book

During the speaker’s recap, he mentioned a book title, This Is Lean. The book can be found at www.thisislean.com.

A video on ThisIsLean.com explains more about the book:

Radio

The speaker also mentioned a This American Life episode on NUMMI, a GM + Toyota manufacturing partnership. Interestingly, I also found an article disputing the TAL episode, although I think that might be more due to a pro-union POV than actual criticism of the article.

Storymapping

After the speaker’s presentation, we got together to talk about a few ideas for the next year. The table I joined was on story mapping, which someone had suggested as a topic. I joined this table because I wanted to learn more about story mapping. And a few other people at the table didn’t seem to know exactly how the person who suggested it could use it in the example she provided. But, eventually, we eliminated other choices and figured out how it could work. So, it will be a topic next “year”, after the summer break, and I hope to learn more. Although it’s meant to be used in Agile, I guess you could use it even if you don’t work in Agile.

Resources:

Story Mapping Tools: 

  • Cardboardit.com – https://cardboardit.com/
  • Feature map – https://www.featuremap.co/en

Certification

Also, in chatting with someone there, I learned that there is Scrum Product Owner certification that you can get in 2 days. I found a session in Saint Paul, MN, and that one is $1,095 per person at regular price. There was an option to filter for discount only, but I’m guessing it will still be several hundred dollars.

Implementing Kaizen Without Knowing It

As a side note, I used to own a book called, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. (There’s also a summary of the book’s contents on YouTube, by someone unrelated to the book and the author.) But after getting through the audiobook of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I sold it to The Strand.

Incidentally, “tidying” (and cleaning) is another cultural efficiency practice from Japan, which I first learned about on Japanology Plus. It might not be as respected in business circles as kaizen or Lean, but it appears to be very much a part of Japanese culture.

Even though I gave up the kaizen book, I have been using the concept of small changes and small steps. One instance of this is trying to learn new languages with the Duolingo iPhone app, by focusing on just getting through at least one lesson a day. I hope to post my progress on LinkedIn, once I get to 25% in any language.

Also, in chatting with someone there, I learned that there is Scrum Product Owner certification that you can get in 2 days. I found a session in Saint Paul, MN, and that one is $1,095 per person at regular price. There was an option to filter for discount only, but I’m guessing it will still be several hundred dollars.

Implementing Kaizen Without Knowing It

As a side note, I used to own a book called, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. (There’s also a summary of the book’s contents on YouTube, by someone unrelated to the book and the author.) But after getting through the audiobook of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I sold it to The Strand.

Incidentally, “tidying” (and cleaning) is another cultural efficiency practice from Japan, which I first learned about on Japanology Plus. It might not be as respected in business circles as kaizen or Lean, but it appears to be very much a part of Japanese culture.

Even though I gave up the kaizen book, I have been using the concept of small changes and small steps. One instance of this is trying to learn new languages with the Duolingo iPhone app, by focusing on just getting through at least one lesson a day. I hope to post my progress on LinkedIn, once I get to 25% in any language.