This was first published on my blog.

There is no denying it, in recent years the trend has been towards specialization. While specialist can command a higher price from a select audience for the short-term, this is not a great way to build a long-term career. Let’s look at what some of the challenges are of specialization and just how much should you diversify your skills.

For starters, as mentioned, specialists can command a higher return for their hard-won sharply honed skills, but they also have a limited audience to sell those skills to. Without a wider range of competencies…


There is nothing truer than Genchi Genbutsu (the Lean concept of “go and see”) and GOOB (Steve Blank’s wisdom to “Get Out of the Building,” and echoed in Lean Startup methodology).

The concept of Genchi Genbutsu is credited to Taiichi Ohno, one of the creators of the Toyota Production System. According to Eric Ries in Lean Startup, when Lean practitioners in Japan were asked what was the most important principle of Lean, Genchi Genbutsu was cited over and over. Genchi Genbutsu is sometimes Westernized to “Get your boots on.”

If you read Steve Blank’s blog or read either of his…


During a workshop with the awesome Rich Mironov (author of The Art of Product Management), Rich had everyone at the workshop do a simple and quick exercise that clearly shows the cost of context switching.

It is amazing, but there are still people who believe they can do it all by multitasking, even though multiple studies show this is not the case. Humans simply do not multitask well.

I knew a designer that complained about a developer who focused on tasks in a linear order. The designer wanted the developer to multitask. The problem is that constantly context switching as…


Making Magic: Aligning Design and Engineering

When engineers and designers team up, magic can happen. Everyone is more engaged — user research findings and usability testing results are shared with everyone, engineers are invited to walk-throughs of early designs and asked for feedback and input, designers are aware of technology constraints and the structure of data that can be surfaced from the system to users, and a whole lot more — meaning good ideas and thinking are spreading throughout the team to help build an awesome product for users.

Unfortunately, in some companies the engineering and design teams are siloed from each other. Whether the…


It happens to everyone. The pressure is on, deadlines are looming and there is a lot on the line — but there is one problem. You, or your team, has hit a brick wall. There are problems in need of solutions and the solutions are just not cutting it. It happens to everyone, to whole teams, and it can happen to you — it likely has. What now? How do you jump start creativity?

There are a number of ways to get things going again — we’ll look at a few.

The first thing to do is relax — it will be OK. That’s a lot easier said than done, for certain, but stress and creativity can be like oil and water. Necessity is the mother of invention, but stress is simply not going to help. Here are some options to remove some of the stress and get your brain to start solving the problem at hand.

Option 1: Stop. Just step away, stop working on it and go to lunch or to a…


Even with discount testing, you sometimes need subjects fast and cheap. One easy place to find subjects is a nearby cafe. Here are some suggestions for doing this.

DEALING WITH THE CAFE’S STAFF

Firstly, I always buy something at the cafe right away, this is to show I understand this is a place of business and am a patron. Another way to endear yourself to the store is to buy gift cards as payment to subjects. That said, I’ve found people prefer cash.

Remember even though you made a purchase, if the cafe’s staff does not like what you are doing they will let you…


If you haven’t heard, there is now a UX Debate Club in New York. This freshly minted Meetup group has already had its first meeting and planning is underway for more. But you may be wondering do we really need a UX debate club? What is there to debate about User Experience? Is there even anything debatable about UX? And those are all fair questions that I will address.

The first rule of UX Debate Club is to talk about UX Debate Club!

But, what is debatable?

Before starting the group, I did what any User Experience person would do, I spoke to potential…

Michael Calleia

Helping companies design and build better products. User experience and product management consultant, coach, and facilitator. Founder of @HumanistCo

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