July 13, 2021

Driving an Experience-led Product Development Process


Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

I prefer an experience-led product development process. I could probably write a book on this one. For now, I’ll provide the core of my POV.

An experience-led process yields better outcomes. It de-risks going to market by ensuring you’re solving an actual customer problem and people desire what you’re bringing to market. It’s a measure twice, cut once approach where you avoid building things that no one wants.

Experience-led means the technology is in service of the experience, not the other way around. MVPs aren’t determined by what engineers can build in three months. If you’re only delivering the minimal, you probably aren’t delighting anyone.

Experience-led product development requires a cross-functional team and leverages human-centered design. It produces concrete artifacts that set the north star vision, materials to socialize, and aligns people through a shared understanding. It makes the future tangible.

A key artifact is the experience roadmap, outlining the path to the north star. It’s broken into experience releases that show the services and features required to power that experience. This keeps the team focused on customer value and impact, not just shipping something.

Experience-led means you widen the aperture at the beginning of the process to be inclusive. Not at the end.

Experience-led means you’re not working on features or pages, you’re thinking holistically about end-to-end experiences. Customer journeys are a thing.

Experience-led means the prototype determines the requirements. The actual experience you want to deliver is then deconstructed to figure out what to build first. The whole, then the parts.

If you’re interested in more on this topic, let me know.

May 1, 2021

How Design Creative Summit

I’m excited to join an awesome lineup at the HOW Design Creative Leadership Summit — focusing on emerging challenges faced by leaders in design, product, and engineering. Increase your impact by becoming an in-house intrapreneur and staying creative, productive, and sane as a leader in our new remote world.

I’ll be joined on the virtual stage with Maureen Carter (she, her, hers)Ryan RumseyArianna OrlandRania SvoronouChris WilkinsonFelix LeeDan Mall, and Stephen Gates, sharing insights and approaches on how to lead teams to get results. 

In my talk “Leading Innovation: Making Design Your Competitive Advantage”, I’ll share insights and frameworks of how to spearhead design-driven culture, followed by a 30-min Q+A.

February 1, 2021

Expedia Group Arrivals

I had the pleasure of being featured on the Life at Expedia Group blog as part of the New Arrivals series. In this interview, I talk about my journey into Experience Design, what excites me about Expedia, evolving us into an experience-led company, and the impact I plan to make this year.

January 11, 2021

New Adventure

Last week I started a new journey as Head of Design for Expedia Group.

I’m energized and humbled by the opportunity to demonstrate the power of an experience-led company and to reinvent the travel industry. Those that know me well, know how strong of a match this is. In this role, my passion for building strong Design culture, shaping agile organizations, and driving product and service innovation through human-centered design will merge with my life-long connection to travel.

It’s an honor to become part of this amazing company and lead such a talented Design organization. Huge thank you to everyone at Expedia for the exceptionally warm welcome.

I’m excited to help define what’s next for Expedia, the travel industry, and beyond.

August 14, 2020

Embracing Change

Sharing this quote from Bruce Mau, co-founder of The Massive Change Network. When you're leading transformation, it's all too easy to not acknowledge what is already working.

How do you help people embrace change?

Here’s a good rule of thumb: for every one change initiative, create two celebrations of what’s already working. Emphasis on what’s working may seem redundant, but it often reflects a neglected reality — and the effect is to create a “field of safety” that makes change easier to accept.

Before people can embrace innovation, they need to feel safe. Therefore, the best way to foster change is to reinforce stability. In our rush to initiate change, we often ignore what’s already working. We take it for granted. If you want to fix what’s wrong, first celebrate what’s right and expand it where you can. Before building new structures, recognize the ones that are fine as they are. Applaud success and accomplishments. And make this celebration visible: be sure that people see it.”

— from Mau: MC24

July 31, 2020

Accelerated Transformation

With summer in high gear, the myriad of post-pandemic reports are touting rapid change and prep for a new normal. Companies have been talking about the transformation they’ve undergone during the pandemic, including Satya Nadella stating in an earnings call, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

Companies have moved quickly during this time, leveling up to meet the new digital demands of customers, addressing technology debt, outdated infrastructure, and software tooling — all with the goal to come out the other side leaner and more agile in this new environment.

COVID-19: Implications for business
Amazon Pushing Deeper into Banking in the Post-Pandemic World
Open Banking Gets a Big Jump Start from COVID
Accenture’s CEO: 5 rules for rethinking digital transformation during COVID-

June 25, 2020

The Business Impact of Design

I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Forrester's report The Business Impact of Design, which was published in June and recently promoted by InVision.

Envisioning and designing great experiences is only one lens of design leadership — you have to be able to demonstrate the business impact your work is having. Without that, it's just a shiny object.

May 8, 2020

Making Digital More Human

The digital usage numbers are big right now, with analysts saying much of that uptick will stick. But I’d like to look at this through a different lens for a moment… taking a more human perspective, both on future expectations and behavior.

Just because customers are using digital channels more, doesn’t mean that they will automatically be satisfied with their experiences. In fact, they will come to expect more from digital experiences. The pandemic has been a digital forcing function for consumers and businesses, with many people becoming familiarized with experiences they haven’t used much in the past. Once they get acclimated, that’s when the expectations rise. Especially when they continue to use other digital experiences as the benchmark — not just financial institutions.

As people’s lifestyle and behaviors are changing across work, home, and social interaction, so are their behaviors related to the products and services they use, enjoy, and find valuable. While some people’s lives have been adjusted or evolved, some have had their worlds turned upside-down. And with wellness taking center stage when people take stock of what’s important, a part of that is financial wellness.

How does this change our mindset in how we approach our work? How does this shift what is important in the experiences we deliver to our customers?

As customers’ priorities and lifestyles are re-evaluated, how does that influence their behavior going forward and what do they expect from us? What should they expect from us? How will we evolve with the changing landscape to best meet their needs in this new world? How do we make digital more… human?

From virtual parties to ordering food, how Americans are using the internet
JD Power Covid-19 Pulse Surveys
5 Human Truths That Experiences Need to Address (pdf)
A gigantic experiment reshaping how we work and live
The Virus Changed the Way We Internet
Remaking banking customer experience in response to coronavirus
This is how COVID-19 could change the world of work for good
COVID-19 Is A Before-And-After Moment In The Digital Transformation

April 9, 2020

Transforming User Experience in Banking – Business Insider Report

Last December, I had the pleasure of being interviewed for a report released this week: Transforming User Experience in Banking.

“A human-centered design mythology offers the best way to truly understand customers and develop solutions that meet their needs — solving real customer problems and delivering experiences that resonate in market. However, it’s just one part of the whole. In order to be successful, this approach needs to be customized according to your company culture and DNA.”

The report outlines strategies that financial institutions are using to deliver a superior customer experience. It covers org structure, practice/process, research, measurement, and the importance of keeping the customer at the center of design initiatives.

March 27, 2020

Digital Transformation Momentum

We’re in an interesting moment in time right now.

Now, more than ever, people are turning to digital ways to get things done. Mobile and video chat usage are through the roof, Amazon orders have surged, and gyms and trainers are sending daily workouts through IG TV/Stories. People are having virtual happy hours, conferences and music festivals are going remote.

What we’re experiencing right now is going to force many companies to become digital. And it’s going to set a precedence that will accelerate changes that businesses had planned to take years to complete.

What does that mean for banking? What opportunities do we have to leapfrog legacy mindset to foster an environment of transformation and business agility — to change the way we operate in this new world? And why wait?

How can we…

  • move faster on innovations that have been in the backlog or on the shelf?
  • reorganize our key talent to be agile and focused on driving change?
  • cut through the clutter and deliver on North Star customer experiences?
  • shorten our timeline to get to the future? Because the future is now.

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