I’m going to ditch my usual weeknotes structure (Good things; Learned things; Not-work things; Challenges; Achievements) this week because I’m lacking time and energy to populate all of those sections.
Instead I’ll just cover a few things of note from my week.
I published my first article for a while
Somehow I haven’t published any new articles on this site since April, so it was great to get one out this week.
I wrote about moving from content design to product management and how I’m feeling about that decision just over half a year in.
It was good to take some time to reflect on what I’ve learned and to be able to share those findings with others. I’m going to try and publish a bit more regularly over the next few months.
Telling our design system’s story
A while back, when I was still at Babylon, I was lucky enough to have a coaching session with design systems expert Nathan Curtis.
Something he advised me which stuck in my mind was to practice and hone the story of our design system. He said to concentrate on getting really good at delivering the main messages clearly and succinctly, which would help with stakeholder engagement and support. And I did, and he was right.
4 weeks into BT and I’m trying to do the same thing here. On Monday, I presented our squad’s work to some senior stakeholders, and although I got some tough questions, the overall response was really positive.
I’m coming to realise that so much of product management is about telling the story of your product in the right way, and that’s something I think my content design background is helping me with.
Building a design system roadmap
For the past few weeks I’ve been busy trying to set up a roadmap for the design system I’m product managing, including a path to launch.
Design systems are big, complex beasts, and a certain amount of foundational things need to be decided before you can start to move forward with them. When the task at hand is a multi-brand, multi-platform design system for a huge organisation, the complexity becomes significantly greater.
Thinking about how to untangle some component parts from the overall system so you can begin to deliver small amounts of value is no mean feat. Is an iterative approach to launching even possible when it comes to a design system like this?
I don’t have the answers yet, but I’ll share my thoughts here as they start to evolve.
Kitchens, kitchens, kitchens
As I mentioned in my last weeknote, we’ve managed to get some builders in to start our extension in about 2 weeks’ time.
The kitchen decisions I thought I had until next year to make are suddenly due as soon as possible, so I’ve spent much of the week getting deep into the world of worktops, cabinetry and kitchen layouts, and how to make them all piece together.
Are kitchens… actually… design systems?
Like most of England, I’ve been seriously considering whether to invest in an air-conditioning unit this week after having spent most of it sitting in an oppressive, sticky 33 degree heat.
Trying to conduct complicated, intense discussions about design system strategy when everyone is melting behind their screens is not the one.