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Remote Meeting that don’t suck

Atlassian recently did a study to find what were the biggest distractions in the workplace. You might not be surprised to hear that culprit number two was meetings. So here’s our guide to running collaborative, productive meetings that don’t suck.

Some Hard Truths About Meetings

According to the study, on average employees go to about 60 meetings each month, with attendees saying that half of all these meetings were a waste of time. This adds up to about 31 hours of unproductive time each and every month.

Putting the numbers aside for a second, it’s not hard to imagine how someone’s energy might be sapped through sitting through countless, pointless meetings.

Even when we manage to invite the right people in the right room, Atlassian found that:

  • 91% of people daydreamed during meetings
  • 96% of people have straight up missed meetings
  • 39% of people have slept during…

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How the wrong KPIs will lead your organisation to successfully achieving negative results.

In uncertain, complex, and ambiguous times where change is the only constant, it is easy to lose sleep to heavy-hitting questions about your business.

  • Is my organisation heading for a cliff?
  • Am I moving too slow and not taking on enough risk?
  • Are the naysayers right and I should take their advice?
  • Are the naysayers wrong and I should trust my instincts and push forward.
We have all been there!

If you’re like most, the go-to position for fending off insomnia are your KPIs. You put our faith in data, because cold hard facts can never lead you astray.


The problem with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

As the saying goes you cannot manage what you do not measure. …

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Scale Your Team Without Breaking Your Culture

Practical strategies on scaling your team so that when things take off, you’re ready.

So it’s finally happened — your company has developed a new product that people absolutely adore. With the growth of the product, you suddenly have the capacity to scale and also, a sudden demand to scale. Like, right now.

Most companies in this position jump into action, hiring rapidly and aggressively without pausing to form a strategy or consider the long term impacts of sudden growth.

But simply adding new people doesn’t immediately increase productivity or capacity. In fact, in many cases the opposite happens.

People aren’t like modular furniture, you can’t just attach new teams to meet new capacity needs. People are complex, have egos, competing agendas and needs. Many times, capable and experienced people are hard to find and earnest people do terribly in interviews. …

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Like flowers in a garden, teams will only thrive when the conditions are conducive to growth.

You can’t simply demand a team be autonomous and expect them to perform from day one, especially if they have not worked this way before.

High performing teams need:

A Sense of Purpose

All teams need a reason for being. Each member of the team need to be able to answer the question, what do you do and why is that valuable?

Give teams a clear mission and priorities. Focus on giving them the why and allow them to be self-organising around what and how.

Open Communication

For teams to self-organise, they need to be able to discuss their ideas and thoughts without fear.

Open communication requires excellent listening skills, mutual respect and trust. …

The values, principals and application

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How we experience, interact with and perceive technology will change more in the next ten years than it has in the previous 50 — hard to believe I know.

We are already addicted to swiping on six-inch touchscreens.

Fully immersive, reality-augmenting intelligent experiences are coming, and our monkey brains will be no match for their seduction.

Experience designers will play a pivotal role in shaping these new experiences, which means experience designers will play an essential role in shaping the human experience for the next generations.

As the design industry matures and gains influence within organisations, and as digital health and wellbeing become as foundational as nutrition and physical fitness, it is important we as designers ‘suit up’, get ready and be equipped to advocate for people. …

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Redesigning the job title in the age of Spotify

Many of you will remember having a physical music collection, your own tangible manifestation of your musical identity.

It wasn’t that long ago, but music streaming services have now relegated our once prized collections to our attics and glove compartments.

Our favourite songs are no longer trapped as Track 13 on a CD that was long ago scratched. We can now play it on constant loop, or place it as track number one in a playlist of our other 100 favourite songs. We can share it freely and enjoy countless remixes and covers all over YouTube and Vimeo.

The way we organise and experience music has fundamentally changed. …

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A passionate team with decades of experience helping teams create products and experiences people love.

Together we’re building a model that leads to true capability uplift within organisations and help teams be responsive and resilient in complex, fast-paced environments.

We want to do this while also helping you and your teams deliver true business value and meaningful customer experiences.

Contact us and say hi ✌️

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The Beaker & Flint story

Many people see organisations as large machines: a series of parts, processes and pieces that can be simply moved around and restructured.

Organisations are not large machines.

An organisation is a large group of people who share their own unique culture. …

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Fitting research into agile teams

At its best, UX research surfaces insights and enables progress; at its worst it just gets in the way.

There are many objections to conducting UX research, but the most common I hear is ‘We don’t have enough time.

I can certainly sympathise with this inclination to ‘just get it done’.

With the move away from overly managed waterfall projects, to cross-functional agile teams, it can be hard to find where in the process research best fits.

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Is your UX researcher part of the cross-functional agile team, or are they split out as their own separate business function?

How is it possible for a team to be simultaneously researching, designing, building and testing the same feature? …

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You are conducting user research — whether you know it or not

As a UX designer, I have heard lots of reasons why not to conduct user research. Usually, I hear the classics, ‘we don’t have enough time’ and ‘we don’t have enough money’, but occasionally I’ll also get ‘users don’t know what they want’, or ‘you’re the UX expert — why don’t you just decide?’

…and there are so many more.

The dilemma:

As a UX designer, when you face an objection like this, what should you do?

The true answer:

Avoiding user research isn’t an option.

The more tactful answer:

Once someone outside of your development team starts using your product, they are user testing it — they are using it. …

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A guide, not a template

The first thing a good UX Designer should tell you about creating a persona is that if you just blindly follow a template, you have missed the point. User research should inform the layout — don’t let the layout constrain the research.

Put simply, don’t just follow a template.

Sadly, this advice is not very helpful when you are starting out, staring at a blank sheet of paper trying to create a set of personas.

‘Isn’t making a persona a waste of time? What’s the point?’

Personas are all about building empathy amongst your team. Great software gets made when the people who make it care about the people who use it. That means during every meeting, when making any decision, in every design and with every line of code, you should first be thinking about your users. …


Ben Ralph

Start-Up Founder, Head of Product Innovation ⚡️, Executive Editor of The Lab Book.

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