Skip main navigation

Making time to do the things right

Watch Alex Cowan discuss the advantages to taking the time and energy to do a project right.
So much of the time, especially at a larger company, you have all these different people and they’re all multitasking on different projects. And it’s really hard to create time and space to do things right. And that sort of fractured perspective and partial attention really kills innovation and it kills agile and makes things really hard. In this video, we’re going to talk about a couple of ways to create time and create space and create focus around some of these methods. So you can get the time and attention you need from your collaborators to go through and apply them. Because a, that will help you drive to really good outcomes, and b, it will probably save everybody a lot of time.
It’s a lot easier to just sit down and do things right, then to kind of pick at them overtime. Also, there’s increasing emphasis on energy as well as time. So people have time, but they also have a finite amount of energy. So this is a good way to harness that energy and also make them feel better about what they’re doing, because they feel confident that they’re doing something that’s important and valuable.
The kind of key thing here, we’re going to talk about the use of design sprints, which are time boxed iterations of usually one week. But you can run some of the individual sessions that are within these design sprints if you don’t have a whole week. The idea is we have a very specific input and objective, and then we have a very specific output that comes out of these time box sessions. The great thing about time boxing, if you haven’t tried it or you’re not aware of it, is that you create just enough time to get through something and think about it in a meaningful way.
But not so much time that you fiddle around and get distracted and work on stuff that’s not core. So it sort of forces you to finish things good enough, which is really hard, but really important to applying some of these methods. because otherwise you’ll run out of time and you’ll fiddle and get distracted. I like to break the design sprints into four types. We have one for personas and problem scenarios, and there’s a resource by the way that you can find in the course about running these design sprints. This is a design sprint format where you go out and you investigate your customer, be they a buyer or user of your product.
And your output is primarily personas or problem scenarios. If you’re all good on this, there’s another one for motivation, basically running an MVP experiment. And there’s a format for doing that to create time and focus for that. If you’re good and you got a validated proposition that you want to go test, there’s a format for a usability sprint, where you can go and and test a bunch of alternatives to validate or invalidate the usability of the interface you’re thinking of building before you spend the time to build it. And if you’re all good on that, there’s also a format for considering architecture options.
At the end of this, obviously, you’re going to drive to working software and continue to look at this. I would encourage you to take a look at these. You’ll find in the resources that the schedules for these are very detailed. And you don’t necessarily have to use the schedules as is of course, they’re a starting point. But I think you’ll find that having those time boxes, having those very specific prescriptions for what to do, kind of frees you to focus on the substance of what you’re actually going to do.
As a product manager, design sprints or grabbing some of the sessions from within the design sprints, may be a really good way for you to create the time and focus you need with your collaborators to practice some of the things that you’ve learned how to use this week.

In this video, Alex discusses ways to create time, create space, and create focus around some of the methods learned in this course, so you can get the time and attention you need from your collaborators to go through and apply them. This will help you drive to really good outcomes, and it will probably save everybody a lot of time.

Alex says that “people have time but they also have a finite amount of energy” so you need to harness the energy. Do you have any methods you have used to create time and space to do things right at your workplace?

This article is from the free online

Digital Product Management

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education