Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Patterns for achieving change

How do you go about changing the role "user experience" plays in your business?

A new book by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising entitled, "Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas" describes 48 patterns (i.e., recurring best practices -- strategies) "for driving and sustaining change in your organization." And it presents a framework -- a pattern language -- for how the patterns work together at different points in the change process.

The following paragraph from the end of chapter 5 provides a flavor:
"If you've been able to apply the patterns in this chapter, you've been busy! You've had a meeting using the pattern Piggyback or Brown Bag. Perhaps you were able to Do Food and you scheduled the meeting at The Right Time. Your brought some interesting books or articles, hoping to Plant the Seeds and point to External Validation for your new idea. You talked about the Next Steps for your fledgling effort and maybe you used e-Forum to help Stay in Touch with people who are getting interested in your work. If you were really lucky, your collection of like-minded folks has started to form a Group Identity."
Patterns of a different sort, and how they can work together effectively, are described in a May+June 2005 interactions article entitled, "Success with User-Centered Design Management." According to the authors, "Doing good design work is actually the easier part of the software user interface design process. The real challenge lies in getting (good) designs realized in a product." Formalize Communication, Manage Expectations, and Facilitate are among the patterns, or "principles," that Jeremy Ashley and Kristin Desmond argue can be applied to meet this challenge.

Patterns described in both publications can help you figure out how to address your particular challenge regarding changing the role "user experience" plays in your business.

(My thanks to John Thomas of IBM Research for refering me to the book on Fearless Change, and to Luke Kowalski of Oracle for referring me to the interactions article.)