Step away when it doesn’t feel right.
A product, a service offering, an idea is rarely built alone in a cave somewhere. Even truly great books don’t work that way. Often they go through revisions, edits and arc feedback periods until you have an awesome work of fiction. I get that. It took me a half year to learn that honestly within a professional context but I get it now.
For example I am building an international trade course for Portland Community Colleges Small Business Development Center. It is targeted at New to Export Companies. When I began the project back in February 2011 during the Alpha we sort of imagined that, but I’d never built a course. I was still cocky and thought I knew best about international trade and what was necessary. I learned though as I began constructing it yes I knew the subject but I didn’t understand exactly what needed to be conveyed to my user and how to do that best.
I had to get over myself first. I had to forget what was flashy and pretty. I had to start listening to the people signing my checks. I had start placing myself in the position of a busy small business owner and manager. Luckily back in August 2011 I was given a second chance to do that with the beta development of the project.
At this point I had already begun reviving long dormant html and css skills and started working on learning not just how to use jQuery plugins but how to use the library and really how java-script works which it turns out isn’t so different from symbolic logic and discrete math. You have know idea how glad I was for that. However through that journey and some delving into InDesign to design interactive documents I began thinking more and more about the user and reading books to that affect.
I’d always understood users, locating them and profiling them, even figuring out what they desired. Still there’s a difference between that and defining an experience that aligns to the profile and needs of the user. There’s also more often than not more than just an end-user to be considered. Your client, your boss, the service technicians, your own internal customer support are also users. And meeting everyone needs while a challenge is never impossible. I’ll talk more about this in my next post on the international trade project and the various iterations in design until we reached a balance provisioning of service for all users.
OK enough rambling here’s the point of this post-Understand this as an entrepreneur, working in a group you will one day be forced to make a choice about whether to stay or go. I’m not talking about money or other personal life demands. That’s so not what I’m concerned with. I’m talking about your faith and belief in the product you and the team are working on. Without confidence, faith, and/or belief in whatever your helping to create; will you honestly do your best? I do not love the price point on the international trade project, I most certainly do not like the background img I have to use on some parts to keep brand integrity. Yet, the content, the delivery and the crafting put into it I have faith in. I know it is good. The team did a good job and our efforts will enrich the end-users life and be easy to manage for the SBDC.
I can’t say the same about a start-up group I joined back in October. I had hoped we work towards creating something disruptive, awesome and that changed the way users approached our topic of focus. I could be wrong and the product may be awesome and take off. If it does I’m totally going to feel like an ass. Still I don’t think I am. That’s the point of this post. When it doesn’t feel right, you often need to just step away.
I know what I think the product should be be based on research and exploration by myself and the team. We simply came to different conclusions. So I’m going to build a new team and design a product that I feel does service users with an experience and need fulfillment totally unmatched by anything yet. Cause if I don’t someone else will and I totally want be able to say 1st bitches.
- castersblues posted this