Pragmatic 6: Design Reviews In Name Only

30 December, 2013


John and Ben discuss the importance of design reviews, personal experiences and suggestions for how to constructively approach a process often fraught with confusion and hidden danger.

Transcript available
This is pragmatic weekly discussion show, depleting the practical application of technology exploring the real-world trade-offs we look at how greed ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives nothing is as simple as it seems I bet Alexander Michael hostess John Geagea a Roger I am doing very good how you do it well awesome today I would like to have a discussion regarding design reviews and I read about this a few months ago on tag distortion and the articles or design of username only but something that sorta came to the forefront more recently in the last few weeks before I want to Christmas holidays break which is what were normal now and Darwish another week off thankfully and is it something that I think is worth the flashing our little bit because one of things I see is a lot of people approaching design reviews are some very different expectations and is theirs are only disturbing listening to be explored there so I saw a start with the that the basic that obvious mate is obvious babies is if you design something for yourself alone without any peer review influence or discussion that is incredibly dangerous because what you end up with the something is essentially only useful specifically to you you may be useful other people but it can become very difficult for other people to understand how it works understand how how to use it and that's the sort of thing that is very dangerous so designing completely for yourself alone gaze is it I would say is impossible but honestly I do I do question the point so I guess a simple example might be are if there is no intention of running on he is lost let's say a simplistic example from building work from home and building a wheelbarrow who cares right on the hours of receipt of an hours of use it if I've got you had your handstand when I'm using it to make it work then who cares right but obviously we need to exclude back on a thing from the discussion so will assist assume that the service purposes of this discussion that someone other than the person doing the development or the design is going to have some say or influence or comment on what we're doing and hence irrespective of what kind of commentary that is it is a design review and how this applies to everyone else is if you write words on the SFL blog if you go right software if you go over engineering if you do electrical design or if you do a civil architectural design all anything like that it's going to have to be reviewed by somebody at some point someone will look at it and they will give you their thoughts and their feedback so when we designing something like software for example will go out to people and dowdy beta testing and beer testing is essentially a design review it's getting some feedback received solicited requested feedback from individuals and one of the things that I found when I was developing for BR fire waste many years ago is that a lot of how effective that is comes back to who is selected to be on your beta testing list so engineering is a parallel though a customer will come to you and say I want you to design this for me and the customer will say I am going to have a representative from from us when you look at this product that you're designing for me and I wanted to keep my shut for six months wages on Mueller ask for review when you think you're about 30% done 60% done and then when you think you're fully complete and on the review at each one of those milestones and often in big contracts they will tie our financial incentives to that of a sale as a whole projects were the hundred thousand dollars while they made tie up 30 grand on the 30% another 30 grand on 60% and the remaining 40 grand on the final design say so this financial incentive to get through those design reviews when your are person writing the better current out for somebody what you're trying to do is licensure what you have is your complete control so you can say I say I pick and choose you your new specifically to be on my review team and one of the tendencies of the difficulties I see is that a lot of people say while they will distill their mates to review and I think that's a bit dangerous because disc is a base doesn't mean that the only good reviewers so some people the DeVere testing I put out my up to these people and I never hear from them to be just silence I say I have a chance to install it you as God gets good lover as it doubted okay thanks great good valuable feedback and then of course you have the other end of the spectrum where you would get are the people are so well you know I really like the shade of blue used in the top right-hand corner you okay try give an open mind is I do not affect the usability having outhouses of usability few rafts to like it was not like the way that it flows out feels assist their energy to work on this font is not quite right near a whole litany of feedback which you could argue is kind of valuable sorter but in many respects is that really what you're asking for anything that I think a lot of people what I bring to that discussion is I've been through the wringer many times in design is an engineering that I tried to apply some of that to what I was doing beta testing of my iOS apps I would say well I'm specifically looking for feedback on this feature so I would like you to please try the following and intended do it as a so I tended to do it as an incremental status at a beta release aside so I'm working honest functionality get that down pat the night at the next functionality is okay now the work on that but in the end you can't stop people from home and she was rendered feedback you and in many respects you probably don't want to but a slowdown is a lot of molecular noise so only until engineering review yours that you have set boundaries is okay wealth is an electrical design review democracy and discuss safety systems with your model are set here and discuss the mechanical or the civil components because they're nothing to do with me are on longer you talk about the thickness of the material the switchboard not listed that only interested in the electrical design as in the oh what size circuit breakers are whether different switchboards are going to be physically located approximately how would you use the control system to do it when you do have to set boundaries and I think that if you don't set boundaries when people just feel free to give you whatever feedback they think is relevant right that you've been in an environment where you .3 design reviews as well so my 20th DACS so what can you some examples of your experiences as the mere switch my copy discuss your mum Tyco sorry after Robert not you are still drinking water lighter and are powerless there is an in joke fear you are nigh am intolerant and actually will. So it in the example you just gave arm is in a non-electrical engineering design review will will you receive completely subjective arm yell essentially the same kind of things at the same kind of argument is I don't really like that either blue or could you magnify a little bigger will usually receive the same sort of nonsensical nine review I'd hate to call the nonsensical lively everyone's opinion is valuable at some level arm EIA Mexico series I say that over here I am but yes you will get that I remember doing a design review for your doing 35% design review/tree system after North Queensland and we went to the review and it was actually about the radio paths on the radio links in the discussion of construction safety came up because the area was in a IR a ravine and the ravine had very very steep sides with loose rocks that under you your rainy conditions you rocks and even boulders would would tumble down the side of the Helen's caused damage and is understanding the injury or death and this came up while we were trying to talk about radio paths and it's a completely disconnected is that there is no bearing on on safety when you try psycho while the other path meteors codified margin of this and you are still at a final zone here in Barbara glass and that none of that had any bearing on on this the safety aspects of the practical side of installing it and unfortunately that the whole discussion got derailments is one of 100 examples where web people that come to the reviews you have to set expectations and you walk in and say we are going to discuss the following the rest is off limits well and I've had to get that in many nonsensical and the rate would use but IIII think they can actually be arm damaging inherently in of a negative value because you how the limited amount of time and often a limited window of opportunity with the decision-makers who are often the ones providing the feedback from nine unnamed arm are none present third parties can you tell I was a web designer are you rate ABN and as your as your field of work gets in either a more tactical or more arm are structurally towards your is reviewing more and more standardised systems by AA imagine that's going to feed in the background but when you're out on the and of the friends in other the more direct to consumer marketing kind is not anything like that were literally some someone is on educated opinion can outrank hard data simply based on the whims of of again some decision-makers oftentimes not in a position to to make the decision it puts the onus on the designer to learn how to run the review in a way that actually leads to a good outcome and that good outcome unfortunately for the loner also means you usually means that you have to go kill your only goal and and play the game to assert that arm is as though it's really challenging and I think setting those setting those barriers for what's can be talked about setting those expectations early on and reinforcing members is really what even the most important thing you do arm in working with a client because it all as ceilings got the right things worked beautifully as a results of interesting yes it is often overlooked as a lot of people will simply say with with with a bus operator put out there knows I hate to think and that sort of carte blanche for people to come back with absolutely anything and everything that may be what you're doing is straightforward enough that that's okay by tomorrow but even when I was doing my yellow committal bedside clock which I'm happy to court that arm even that had enough complexity to it that I didn't dare say that that the bottom line was that I want to test specific functionality and it was something that restricting the sort of feedback I was prepared to what I was interested in receiving because you can't force other people like I can go into any meetings for on any form say guys I only want feedback about the font and come back with flow feedback in other areas I can't control other people going to be feedback on what I can do as I can say well I take on board but I am only go beef you taking your feedback on the fonts for the moment because as a critical issue that we try and try to address so you must be diplomatic about it and you can take it under advisement and say okay look I'll park your other suggestions in the parking lot over here and will to that later I think because it your might I think a lot of it it again else comes down to your thinking to do it and as you can alluded to at the beginning and also I like your suggestion of sort of providing focus areas for review thinking about that the gender generally bad jars I've done have been better adjusted for people making iOS apps and I think that one of the big reasons why is is that the Miller's two sizes one I've never been given a binoculars that is out there is what we done with it recently and here is the kind of use case I think you should use it for a try to see it off like that I miss seeing that the third part of the third leg of the stall as to what really are you looking for me to do with this because of a house that then I can really latch on and sink my teeth into it by arm it went with the apps that I have overview dispensed with and hate is a pretty good and I will happen for me as a healthy little things and will be sold at all that I was soon someone horses can catch that right and it is boring to me is not interested in it by if I was given like a particular task of radicular workflow to go through where is that that can a pitbull mind rate restructures grabbing on everything and you don't let go are triggering that is where you would get any any of the value of having interbedded us would be getting your getting you to run through something where I can really really zoom in on by arm because that anything that comes from the experience overpowered our on the other side of the table and having to go in working in the well working with situations where you're trying to get people got it is very complex series of steps to do the thing you want them to do which is oftentimes give you money and that there is that understanding that everything on this thing everything doing harassed house on the opera pragmatic reason raters are reasonably trying to do these things and just having a pretty thing to look at play where the order feel good that Heian inside this club is a beta tester in my opinion is valued like Bassett does a different part of your brain and I wanted from that paragraph 11 adjusting stuff are excellently and I think the bottom line is that you need to consider 22 piece of this and that is that the person that is doing the design they are giving you an opportunity and the person that is actually reviewing the design are also has an opportunity to give meaningful useful feedback on those responsibilities should be taken lightly anything can be taken lightly by either party and can have a good result so in the end a design review is only as useful as the commitment of the people reviewing it and it's also only as useful as the designer who is submitting it for review they have to be receptive to the feedback and all the wheels fall off are so many reasons and I guess I've heard all about the different the different angles and perspectives on talking about like for example just restricting the light started by restricting the number of people say so you know I'm you pick a number go five 1021 of them might be that sort of glad vary depending upon a whole bunch of different factors but if you can sometimes you can fix it sometimes can't let you in large engineering projects for example you may say to the client while we want no more than two representatives all your brothers one representative and sometimes sends one from each department novice five departments by the way are all they'll send COI manager of one department manager another department and a couple engineers are a mixture of technical and non-technical if you can restricted EA when you doing beta testing are so widely want to people their actual web designers I want 10 web designers and one programmer I just want to web designers I want to to programmers and tribes go to general users perhaps I know he will classify people but trying to set some limits on it because you to gather limits discussion with you if you restrict the number of people attending on the one hand you will get people say well you're not interested in in feedback from from a greater audience you you're trying to be very restrictive and therefore you're not really all that interested in having a wide variety feedback and you know however that the flipside of that is of course no you're actually being selective you're being arm very very thoughtful about who you are going to ask and you make sure that you've got a much sharper focus on the source of feedback that you trying to get I prefer to think of it that way but I've had clients come back to me and say you know what you can't restrict the number people that we send and we set as many as we like and I site has a veneer pay you gossip the all money that I just go he is why advise against it and sometimes you win sometimes you lose but I still think it's the right approach to try and limit the number of people rate well and you know if you are releasing it out the store if your selling a product on the shop minimum eventually the design review is the one that involves cash register are social and you can you can hit that point anyway so you have to decide if you want to edit potentially prematurely arm that's a guts in one of the things that goes wrong with the beta testing visas are either easier timing rider actually still in the phases that's closer to alpha or your son to the point you should be shipping something already and thinking I think timing that rated as its maybe more of them says that it is really important I agree there are definite about both about going timing right and the fact that it is an art form absolutely and that is a lot of talk about a minimum viable product in understanding what a minimal viable design is with product or design if design is your product than the habit but as you know you have to have a minimum viable design and you have to say okay well I draw will understand here this is my solicitor features that we intend to support once my once my product are or design meets that list of requirements than I am essentially done everything after that is additional and in contractual terms you say okay here is that he is my design basis and anything beyond this represents a variation in other words you want more it's gonna cost more so there is always that that that's critical when you doing designed to understand that but one thing is I didn't talk about I don't think it explicitly is is not just restricting the number of people I think I quite, mentioned that you also restrict the experience of people attend so you focus on specific so you want people to the experience of new I design you may want to have three of those which you otherwise have been around so you doing this for 20 years the isomers got experience on multiple platforms aside from from a client I might say will look on this is my choice very design I want to have at least one person who represents you there is an electrical engineer that understands what they're looking at so that I get meaningful feedback and that's the key is you want to restrict that our four for the specific areas you want review will need to have reviewed and honestly arm you know the cynic and say well I can handpick people I know it is not and I've actually come back to work in jobs where that was the case where people have so we really like working with such and such from the client because that is not the head and agree to anything because they've got some unrelated background and they just look at my go well it looks organise design of mod sign off guard it immediately still bad result not that I'm suggesting that we would ever take advantage of that but the bottom line is that it that can happen is this such a thing as being too easy that you need to pick people that are appropriate and people that have got relevant experience otherwise the feedback you gets you looking very good. I like the inner one of the song the mothers that come from our without the job to be done framework were you doing these is rather long pretty detailed interviews of people as to why their bots and products Limited decisions at Apple doing a number of those arm I found that that can be your teachings of those those techniques in applying to the design phase can be useful to adjust it ever requires some pretty and it a lot more intense rate you need to actually be present usually add your drop in times arm lying if her directing people to getting them to think they're doing one thing and in fact you're looking for the reaction they are there is a call behaviour you you know you're trying to read the person army thrown the problem and back in it can provide you live in say the things that you're gonna mess if someone has to come back for you to you with your media are taped up punchlist of problems or your parking over the phone arm you can just picture in your head noticing down the client you got a couple designers sitting behind down immediately as a guns mailbag is a visual design on a screen and you see the person mousing around completely missing your amazing navigational design or completely avoiding like this one beautiful thing you thought that you did such a good job where are you can highlight where you overfocused on where you can put on the blinders arm and the longer you work on something*because you get so drawn into a safe for obviously they're going to click on this and slowly tap on landslide and is well and they're obviously going to use the control system this way and then you put in front of them and that's not what they do all game so we obviously need to have a sprinkling of zero experience or other minimal experience in in the review in your reviews as well so it's not it's not as I only want technical expertise I also need a mixture of people that have not so EEE one the point is is you need to think about rather just randomly say however some cases as long as you get choice some some cases the other quite possibly say no I'm sending arm go Fred Sandro RN and intimidates it and you know they are a major show up and sometimes don't show up you so what can you do but anyway so what are the approaches that I've seen with mixed success is the concept of a minimal or close review during early development stages so some of the core like an internal review or peer review to the concept is that if you're developing a design for something anything you don't go out to a beta test essentially don't go out to a wider audience for their desired feedback because you're still trying to hammer down exactly what you want this this is designed to consist of and they can be very valuable because it cuts out a lot of the noise and the static and the overhead of going out to a wider audience to early and having is just extolled the virtues of it I've also copped a great deal of flak about it as well because there's also another school of thoughts as well if you're not giving us an opportunity to review at 30% or 20% 25% to so many got something to hide in why are you be more open with your design you we we we want web were paying for this why can't we review this anytime we feel like and it's it's a difficult line to walk but if you can pull off you have an understanding client or if you have control of your project then I highly recommend that before you go out to a full-blown Beta test and I think that's sort of the concept behind an alpha and beta although you thank you Google go for screwing up the definition of what the hell alpha and beta areas since it is Gmail still beta now no more anything finally series the better I think it's not entirely as I see no better anymore but we mostly surrounded mass use for years by millions of people to millions yes millions of people think so I think with millions of people and in what they do you have a caller beta how dare they come on we don't work well with Apple really soliciting feedback on Siri when they really when they were not really not the design. It's funny enough project but a project a few years ago and that and that actually was a problem we was in our view of the developers and I were talking to the business guys rate and we were seeing Randy subeditor think we are in our thinking beta testing and these guys were thinking essentially Google style limited release are or unlimited release or whatever it means rate it just means they may break your slogan about money like anything you really did distort that that that reasonable resistance meaningless anyone like design itself here while it's another good point but the absolutely and I think that the dialogue the delusion of the terminology does not help the definition when you're trying to educate new and upcoming designers and engineers on the right way to do things in it irrespective you whatever you would choose to call Rosie know doesn't matter it's still got a B row so the point is that your call now for a beta whatever they may mean what I mean is a limited essentially a close review amongst your close peers in very small numbers upfront call an alpha release if you well and then a larger scale beta release to a larger audience only when you're ready before you go public and that kinda correlates with design reviews done at 30 are we are 60 and I represent design because the definition of what a 30% design is is hotly debated so I've been sure copy do throughout the five had the people swear by complete customer 30% design you're missing blah blah blah and online are here we go again anyway so I think there's a couple general rules that we can follow but I think the way we need to address it is looking at from from both perspectives so from the first fall from the perspective of the designer so I don't think you should ever call design review or release any forbidden until you got design that got an agreed level of completeness you're happy with yourself that your design is complete enough that it could actually sustain a review if you're going to review and say yeah that it's kinda like what I got the back of the of a Wheaties box on midnights sort of subject to change without notice go insert disclaimer here what why you circulating lateral review this is a waste of everyone's time you have something relatively solid before it goes out anybody so I think definitely that's critical start with that go through it thoroughly yourself as you and make sure that you're happy with the solid before you go free Ross's review so when you invite people to do a review make sure your people got knowledge about what you're actually doing it it it may sound simple but if you'd be surprised how often is not the case again when you invite people be clear in the invitation that you're trying to so keep keep numbers down inside you specifically wanting them and use ours on you because what can happen is you get this sort of farm branching thing happen now where are my mate Bob has it that Bob has a friend Steve is really into this sort of thing really was a look at it and it may sound weird but there does happen and ear company like what I it engineers IRR Michael was walking past the desk and he said I was interested in the control system for blah the electrical design for this background I've I've I've tightened the screw once I know about screwdrivers so you and before you know it you've got a cast of 50 people you design review by which it was realised you should serialise of the matter is that what you're doing is theatre our child degree and you start to use the techniques of the stage to do the right thing which I ask about the salt power has made my own personal thing I found is is arm one of one of the the lake's made fundamental laws of doing these it is to don't ever bring a design that you whatever the worst design you bring as bad as the one the client is going to choose thus the one the client is going to our navigate for character to gravitate towards self only ever bring one bring the one that you bring the version that vision that you feel is absolutely the best because if you looking at if you're not a point where you can make that decision yet where you can edit out those other arch and then you honestly not a position where you should be leading a design team rate you need to you need to start out with this position of power and interaction up our eye with leadership I realise you're going to lose control the ship like that it can help you so quickly that you want even recognisably you will no longer be the lead designer someone else will be early designer and she said I've seen it happen in a clause of a sentence is a happen so quickly it's just like some person has a rebuttal it's not in a complete sentence and suddenly everyone is looking at them and the like are really that it states terrible and and especially when you been told you need to deliver on this you are leader okay sure his what I want to do that he had relied totally hilly sale and it has happened earlier I hope so arm I just wanted to going through at least one just so when you do have a design review whereby you going to have a meeting afterwards or a correlation and anything is that this is less common in in in the Internet these days because most the beta testing is done in different locations but in the case and is a small company and as a peer review in your same building same software company in a building or engineering company in a building or your client is across town you're having a physical meeting the minimum is far better than individual solicited comments because it gives everyone the opportunity to say okay well Bob and Susan had the following feedback therefore you base overlap in their comments and comments and therefore we can address both of their comments at same time so that sort of review meeting is is your essential wherever you when you whatever you can get it this is really really good otherwise to do everything piecemeal dealer piecemeal is a lot more work for you as a designer so that's reality for a lot of people doing software development I understand our because the deer is negative is a big place so but if you are gonna do that you have to make sure you circulate your design for review and leave a reasonable amount of time for people to actually review it before I come the meeting happy times ethical put things out the day before that expected a complete review of the day and some people say this is a tactic to get people to not review it and simply it'll slide through on it not being reviewed which is terrible to say but I've seen people do that is a strategy that just sickening so anyway arm if you are having a review meeting in a room organise someone to take minutes for you that is knowledgeable on the subject don't you the designer dam of the what if you have a choice because you do because training was going on by the same token the meditator needs to know what's going on you can't just have someone that has no idea go like I once I was told he bring bring one of the administrative assistance in earthlike okay is fantastic as she was as a greater type is sure she was asked really fast and Yoshi is very switched on but even if we are talking about you the default current on the other made busbar of switchboard you to see she's gonna look at tiedown her best approximation of what that means but unless you have some knowledge of the subject you your your bounce and get it right so you find that then it becomes additional overhead for you when you finish your design if you go back of the notes attract them and polish them up so I would want to get a minute to contribute one of my senior people in the room yes in fact I've directly seen at work quite well where whereby the senior engineer's is actually sitting in the room doing a lot of the the young men the notetaker gave the meditating but there are also there is for as an advisor as well and the junior engineer takes the lead of the design as part of their training right you do that and I can't see what it will be any different in any other profession makes sense to me why but I think what you think of the flipside of that the how easy it is too late EEE really important things slip right because you do is slightly misunderstood so that the syntax or other the contact so they in discussion point because NIA complex estimates can be thank you to someone I can help our complete grasp on yourself as as a weed rate you can be delegating authority to other people and if if you miss something that has like our a domino effect on to other parts of the project are bad news for me this is just you want someone who is out lots of experience you can see those problems coming absolutely right so arm the other thing is of course that whatever you do get feedback you you do have to acknowledge and accept all feedback you cannot say anything like bug are often not interested and even if you feel that way even if the feedback is not constructive even if the feedback is off topic you simply can't do that because you do that especially in an open environment you shut down everybody everyone realises are well this person is not really interested in improving the design are not interested in my feedback so mockingly give them feedback or in some cases it go the other way I'm gonna now be even harsher in my criticism I'm going to DO really stick it to the sky because he is not interested song to make sure the measurements to assist you need your putting this design out there for the world see you have to be prepared to accept feedback and the funny thing is that sentiment applies to a lot of things we put out there if you have a blog if your podcast if you put anything out there in what you have to expect if people are rated the feedback that's that's just that's reality so next thing is to progress through the design in a methodical way solicit your feedbacks on a section or functional area of time so if your desire if you're doing a bedside clock for example then it has alarmed franchisee test the alarm functionality if you needed as a separate item and then if you want talk about how you adjust the size of the time in the front or the store the structure of the time of the front venue on the main display the new that would be a separate discussion point so you gotta be methodical about it because I wanted your section what it's done and don't come back to it because you had an opportunity feedback, section don't you go back over annual otherwise you just end up with a circular drawnout review that ends up taking two or three times longer than it should then would argue a lot of feedback that you incorporate is gonna be less useful ultimately people are giving you their time and timeless time is valuable time is precious all sorts of different reasons in a work environment and interpersonal environment what whatever time we choose to spend doing what we choose to spend on means less time doing other things so you have to respect everyone's time it's attending is not as your time and just because you're doing the design or the programming whatever aids is not your yours is not just is not more valuable or less favour anyone else's it's just as valuable as everyone else and that review meeting everyone is beta testing upright their time is valuable to them and you need to respect and appreciate that if you have a long meeting if you're in a meeting situation than just please God have regular breaks what everyone has the bladder the size of a massive balloon DO and had another problem is of course people sort of tender drift in the concentration so the longer go-between breaks the heart of his people concentrate PhD got a choice I find that some a bowl of mints or lollies are instilling some of the table actually keeps blood sugar up of the people have anyway commencing a good one because I also value the benefit of our smelly breath is less smelly breath so when I talk about anyway because low blood sugar will affect concentration but analysis all this little tip if you gotta a real-world meeting in dealing with software anyway so as the designer that is my list you have any US that you will you want to make everyone feel involved arm and I think it's the way to to avoid having to dismiss notice Mr to avoid having to to make people feel bad if there are car mounts essentially are not out of line but but not particularly useful remainder covers Asian arm because that happens and it can have really bad artefacts arm given the internal politics of the people you're working with and against Canada so I made up example of that would be arm in a let's say your developing an out for a restaurant and awaiting your inability were and he denied while you're in this meeting going over whether with the owners of the restrainer of the one insert the specific is appropriate you found that the single biggest article to you making progress through this this is our best design this application were bobbing is the our own LCV intro ITA arm because that would never happen are not how do you how do you bring these people on board in a way that a doesn't give up control arm because again if you're giving it up then well you know you're not in charge meeting anyways and why you worry about it and then be how do you make this process and feel good about it all down giving up there a bit of control oftentimes ever to proceed control and figuring out a way that there can be a raw that everybody plays in the prices because it really is no I was really joking it receives theatre as it is you're doing one thing and it looks like something else to a lot of people and below people with this fireman arms are of exciting break from their daily activities and you as part of the jar rate is just something that you are referring to them this is special and it should feel special and coming away from it the should feel special and it's it's it's tricky and it could be as little you know you have to get it's about not understanding people and is about up the minute it is it is the other matter discussion of what what design is all about is you need to design this experience for each of these people going through it so that they come away feeling good about it because you might knows maybe you're in a situation we are everyone is getting invaded and one of the people getting invaded is are the secretary and your route to the secretary and now for some reason amount all your calls it is don't go through rate are and you. Great Secretariat but that's that's those are the kind of Ricky mistakes people make Bell Bell shoot something down there in a way that is particularly unkind and if you don't know who you're doing that to our neighbour about being real is just identifying what are all the potential gains we can get from the situation and there might not be what it says on on the on the memo that we discussed what are we trying to do that's the day is really riding bag but it is really is to go into these things thinking about it like it's like it's a performance and to really put because if if what you suggest. The 3060 are you not kick-off meeting you this cut three big milestones whatever your deliverables are and whatever your your specification of the knee could very well be to simply authorities when you run out of the first 30% of money in older sixes we have run out of the next that's often how things work out I that whatever the things you need to make really much because these are there this is the experience of working with you are the rest of it is all it eliminating all the hours you sweat all the care and time you put into a non-terrorist does matter this is the experience of working with you and this as much as anything else is the product of arm that's actually a really really good point and I arm your right is that when I first had decided that the theatrical piece about it it is a bit like that and what you do is definitely going to impact the customer's perception on you and I guess that the thing I take away from that is and again reflected in some people I've seen is that there are some people that are just good design review because as as design review like leading a design review simply because they are more personable are as opposed to the ultra had again Mrs Gallagher stereotypical but I don't mean to be stereotypical but the inner the individual who was who spends most of their time you working again in the cubicle are not actually interacting with a lot of people in and making them Abdallah fire off are thousands of lines of code in a day and be the best troubleshooting debugging person you have about all the best electrical design ever met however you put them in a room full of people notice or sit there and almost sulk a bit and so will why you criticising my design what design is really good no bedside world this is you interacting with your client or your end customers or whatever you owe your Beta test is when you need to be able to manage that and it's funny because a lot of people that are excellent designers are horrible design review leads straight on and so that served me well and I think is is something I would recommend to anybody that is either a coming at it from a elastica call you if you want your if your career is bringing you from a sales and marketing, management role deeper into the technical side of being or if you're coming from a deep aboriginal culture of the metal technical Java and moving out towards more client facing bangers to find by that point where you are, where you can cannot exist as a pivot between what the other person you're talking about rate is safe someone is not like going into be that the reviewed event like the price as if they don't want to do it and and most importantly they recognise are not good at it and if you guys can team up and work together so that that you that you have you found Mrs as it will take this another step back exhaust the design review before the review what are the strengths and weaknesses of the individual imports and cool cool should even be leading with any of these particular disturbances in a visual format because there is really are some hand motions right now but cool should even be in that meeting who should be targeting and I and all the way down the stack without so that your night you don't end up in these situations where someone who is right is not well-suited for this and is up and subduing because I seen that happen light and it is usually just because no one really thought about it that much and if you talk about outgrowth of the goal that's obvious arm absolutely so I think I'm not sure what advice I could give to anyone that is going to do a leader design review of any kind but I guess it is tried beers as is nice and and as positive as possible and that of the reasons why said earlier on you need to as a design leave you need to be able to accept any and all feedback no matter how frustrating or irritating that is because honestly if you don't then the consequences can be very bad and the hirer professionally you go in organisations than the more expensive the consequences so is one of its policies ago look out for soap that's that's the design lead side of it but the other side that we will look at it and from is the review aside and summary people go about olio is the designers designing you they got take care of all that assesses their problem I used to see it that way when I was younger but now I've been on both sides of the fence and indicated to me are a while ago that people neglects the responsibility as a reviewer and, as the older and getting the more irritates me because when you someone gives you an invitation says I would like you to review this for me please you you really need to respect that and so you know I thank you so much I'm glad you value my opinion is any area that you want me to look at that sort of thing try and be useful tribally constructive and because those are the sorts of review I want to be the reviewer that people come to and so you know what I really appreciate your feedback it was there I was helpful and not saying that they submitted and and they are very vague on board with you suggest some your suggestions and at other times I've had people come back to me and say look I agree with you but you were restricted by this business of business or even agreement contract to adjust I hate that's fine I understand it's no big deal so I guess as a reviewer the key thing to remember is it so easy to be nitpicky when you're not the designer or or worse that perhaps your designer or yourself so people are dying I find this a lot with people that aren't aren't engineers or aunts designers or programmers they tend to be a lot of them tend to be very very nitpicky about things there either they say nothing or the really really nitpicky so I guess that the point is that you need to get feedback focused on relevant and that's that's important you need to respect the designer and their design review can obviously something is completely in screwed up and wrong you have to tell them if you go and explain why but in the end you need to be a stand behind any of the feedback that you give so you can't just of this design is terrible is not why I would have died go that's totally the wrong attitude you need to go in with I respect this designer they put their workout they are respected design here is what I think could be done to improve while he is I think is not working the way I would expect and can frame it that way and be kind right is a people by putting their work out there on display you need to be nice about you can't just be a jerk arm I dispose the outcome of being, eventually perhaps if you are a jerk enough time designers. Getting us to be reviewer in that reminds me of a few weeks ago what the likely art but remain sent me a website to review and just underwent anything to do it but I identically rather than make a bubble list or just described I'd stick a few different screen charts in and arm and a Cinnabar QuickTime mother screen recorder on my Mac and just recorded myself going through and talking about it and the two things that were really interesting is that notices wine arm as he commented afterwards I spent working longer on it and I thought I did are it was like media 20 minutes later was a really decent bit of of kind that a review is a good amount of time and yet it felt much and I know it actually was much much shorter than it would have been had ads like tapered roller soul there was some immediate valuate I found Barrett that the flipside was that immediate very very easy for me as a reviewer to essentially united to be kind while cutting rates are to say here's what's wrong and here is why and I know what you're trying to do here but you know you need to change this little bit about it and established it to make it so that everything was was constructive all the way through and I thank you packet subsequently was using my voice to express what was going on and I could even use the mouse on the screen to Kano to solely obviously driveline like I was pointing at it in an arm you you really need to think about that I was like to be outright if you like your essentially your other the previous team just got hit by a bus and is now your project you it so there's no point there is never going to be a benefit to just tearing down with some of that here is if it's bad if it is just objectively bad IR is wrong then you give them the benefit of the doubt say okay then Mr you know that they're not just putting crap value because they don't care that they miss something someone has been advocated someone needs to read something and just tell them just tell them that he was here's what you need to do that is different and here's why and giving that I was having it you know I was spinning in the same direction rate that you're you're just trying to get as we all rolling batteries cut some dance in it you're trying to get it are going the same way a analyser that can be so much that comes from your time so much that comes from our the way you and you reveal that you can be incredibly critical of the way through but if you and on an up note just because the way that we act in another way our brains work as humans prepare way more attention to the ending of things than all the rest of it arm so you can be in even if it's just a little stupid thing like saying it up at the end of every little bit of criticism is that that is basically the thing I would change itself also almost their rates are misguided and I was just covering the things throughout just always take that little bit of the sting out of arm and it adds up because it's it's always been fine if you're dealing with a younger designer younger someone that I was the artist hasn't had enough time to really build up a thick skin arm you could be missing a real big difference in how they respond to you because of your possible rewind the other way than it's gonna be about absolutely right and you can put a better it's all about a deliberate and showing that respect and delivering a constructive feedback because a good litmus test a good liquid litmus test as to whether or not your feedback is personal or whether or not it's professional is to justify it if you cannot justify why you think it should be grey as opposed to pink let's say rate then you if you can't justify then why should you give those feedback basis – just opinion gay feedback is not all I say I was just opinion feedback isn't just about opinion there has to be an opinion that is driven by an improvement rate of change for change sake is pointless anyone can change something for change sake but you need to provide some kind of path and reason and rationale behind why you would change the way you would change it and and that's a good way of filtering out something is valid feedback or in my opinion anyway so just to quickly get back onto the list are almost done and that is if you have a group meeting and you put the design out there a week ahead of time and you've been invited to it to God's sake if they've given your weeks notice don't leave it to the night before the meeting or the day before the meeting to review a worse than that during the meeting you happy times I've seen people have had one week two weeks notice for a review that have come in and I said okay so it was a chance to review the documentation of the design and half the room say are now we have no time to be busy now the same people that very same people if I have put out the night before were for the help say how dare you put out the night before we innocuous a chance to review it is frustrating as all hell so as it is a reviewer it's your job because you were picked to do it today just rush through your review take your time you've been given sometimes use it and if you knock you to do that gnocchi give it time that you should sharpen the review should give me feedback because you deserve to you need to put time aside for this year yet when it's tricky forearm in a decision that that valuing of this time value of the prizes needs to happen arm and a high level II are true only in things like Beyoncé yell out better reusing of your inaugural invader to be a better it's going to type was making offices doing a good job of reviewing such a jar while getting paid for it just you think it's almost singular near you in late it if you're in a company and why question are you getting paid anyways rates of media balances out there about you properly trained for it are you in or is the rest of your workload being adjusted to recognise that it's because it is a really is a pretty intense thing to do if you're doing a great absolutely and if you're initiating against me about people that say I would like to do a Beta test of your app and I asked myself the question before my hand up with someone like for example recently our Fremont is doing up an application and so salient was to do a review on this now let me know I saw a bachelors and longer I I don't feel like I can do at the time that I did 92 at the moment but you maybe maybe in future months I have somewhat higher be able to do that I don't want to go and give someone are Hope that I'm going to review something if I know was too busy to do a good job of it and to me it's fairer to the designer to do it that way it's unfair to say sure you would like to see that you have a look at the psychologist, call the nearby tweed bar or whatever only just carry on their merry way if there is just getting reconciled to the letter that the review meeting thing if your environment is a review meeting and I think one of the things people need to appreciate in this comes out a whole paying attention and taking it seriously is distractions like phones and laptops and even side conversations I've had people come to design reviews and they haven't spoken to someone in the room in six months the site of a Abyssinian while you what's been happening with the kids would happen with the boat to be cajoled out of the lake lumber as you know that's not really time guises as my design review here and I need your focus so whenever you doing that you're wasting everyone else's time and it reduces the overall effectiveness of the review so you gotta respect that I was comes back to being the reviewers to coming back to respect respect time that's been put aside and and so on and obviously that's all implicitly assuming that your manager or managers manager has said you have got a budget of X number of set of your weekly design reviews go do it when you work for a large full forearm design consultancies they will simply battle be part of your mandate easier you have allocated 20% of your every week for reviews and allocates you to reviews or as as as a senior engineer I was allocated to our through four different projects I was naturally designer on but I was asked to come in to do technical reviewer so you and your allocate a portion of your week so that you can disconnect your comment about your management have to buy into this of you from from a company point of view if you're better if you're a sole proprietor in your selling your own app that doesn't matter it's only as important as you want to make it and if you've got someone else you reviewing someone else up for free because it does take time and effort what you paid for a limo but I guess it's a goodness of your heart thinks our friendship thing in OR nearby lefty can be a bidirectional thing because philosopher developers will get other software developers that they are friends with or become friends with the reviewer software for each other so it's, like you so agile bits might get's arm black pixel to review some of their software and vice versa you and if a beta testing you know and that that's great because then you get a feeling of everyone sort of sharing the review load and you've got people are good at what they do recognise what I do in each company and Yates meaningful valuable feedback and I think that that's that's a good balance because very few again there is in your you're rarely actually competing with the competition rate over your there's very few of the letters is that there is a widening of resources out there to dry inside our insight any community letters are in your I was out developers or web developers in graphic design people doing industrial design you you can you guys as I get that that's that's one aspect of of one approach to any other one I think also that would maybe just be me… In my experience with that the testing I've done it again it has been really really clear what the expectations are arm saving this user thing a bunch out in a one out that I used like this for my review was our morning if people know this is if they know me and my friends as the calculator out my review was basically our this is this is good it works well make it more like a calculator that you obviously, just so I don't have to look out of because that's I use calculator and it is now sometime is not a gay guy would move this year and existing tenants literally make its final and that there is no other time I'll ever be using the thing that I use calculators as are you I get so used to using turnkey garden of the Tan Guiana on a keyboard and I never looking at it sole if I know where everything is offered me the most important thing is that the buttons aware of my fingers feel they should be applied and if anything else changed it was it just was gonna be an also-ran from you now was that was it sold pretty that's like literally there is no other point in having me involved there are because I'm just I don't feel I'm I'm another user is that that's how I would use thing by on the other hand like some other outlet under Ben much and I'll more complex are in old large-scale applications that I don't think I would ever actually be able to go through and do intensive testing of all the things unless there were like real serious both my workflow and media back keys was better is is to simply just beyond immediate what's meant a lot of times is that you crashes you out you know you want is getting a lot of people on it so that you can find educators and find his bugs in a pop-up soul are you I think it is it's kind like the focus on the structure of those individual review before it broke out in person like a real review meeting if you play some that seem thinking to how your Dorling out are your your app to your beta customer so that maybe there is a group that really is meant to be hard-core users and their really focused on our on the particular aspect of the our particular workflow and edit you as you maybe workout is concentric circles gets the point that essentially is just you know it is your just throwing people out so you can try to find bugs arm and your fishing are we just like that you know you know which groups which get exactly the other point I was big I cast the net wide like that then people are reviewing it the reviewer need to take it seriously so if base it is no good going back to the software developer in particular and say gatecrashed me a few times you our insight world that really does not help in any way at all please God how did you get to that point where I crashed you so you only ear that's a working with arm wing within his or software development are well applications whatever learning how to elicit that feedback the right way arm in a bit developing a script that you work with people developing in IEEE powder and that you're running all the time our help so much because you you will hear that all the time is that it is work is also helpful what we're trying to do what did you do what you're stuck to have happened what happened got call gravels redirect anchors is pretty close to the race wrap are there but I Yates it's Austria I once had feedback on on some go control problems were having and are the operator just drag me into the room and I'm like okay so why what's going on but I was just using it and then it just crashed and what we mean you are just using it and he looks at me and he waved his hands in front of me like I was just using it one giant like discount I feel like such a bad programmer anyway okay so final final point as a reviewer and they will wrap this up is be thorough with your review and you review comments because design is not easy I care what field you're in design isn't easy there are a lot of conflicting priorities this delay can be in measurable amounts of complexity that is not visible to you as an end user but you are asked to provide feedback as a as a reviewer onset as input to the design so you can actually make it a better end result but you have to what actually wants to do that so honestly I think that the reviewer plays Justice key apart as a designer in having a good outcome you want to talk more about this you can find giant on Twitter at John Chitty seen one after that and check a giant state tax distortions outcome they can send email you consented to giant distortions outcome and that Alexander can reach me on Twitter at feel like southbound show announcements and related materials I found show account at pragmatic challenge causing everyone thank you�
Duration 1 hour, 7 minutes and 40 seconds Direct Download

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TechDistortion Companion Article:

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Ben Alexander

Ben Alexander

Ben created and runs and Fiat Lux

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.