Off the Hook: December 2018

My monthly journal about the journey to transform Hook&Loop and #ensw

Many of us in NY and the Philippines (not forgetting our remote US team members 🍻) enjoyed some time off before ringing in the New Year. It was well earned after the momentum we built in 2018. Last year’s journey at Hook&Loop was all about Infrastructure:

Establishing a process, culture, and value contribution at scale that addresses user and business need—today and tomorrow.

The team began 2018 not really trusting each other collectively and without a shared belief in what we were doing—no clear roles and lines of ownership; nor the ability to clearly articulate the value contribution we were making. As a result, some of our talent departed making the opportunity to develop a new business model: four UX services emerged including native mobile work based on all the best that SaaS delivery has to offer. As each month passed we made progress as a team delivering work that fulfills our strategy.

I believe that the work is the culture. I started seeing better collaboration, deadlines being met, deliverables that exceed what was promised or expected. We even began having the conversations that went beyond the work towards creating a healthier org that cares about each of our personal well-being. Monthly strategy reviews are driving accountability and strengthening our unity. In the last months of 2018, there was excitement around the shared belief that we could really achieve what we set out to do.

I am grateful for the team members who took this journey with me, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy to for us to unify. Together we changed the work and our relationship, and our delivery at Infor. I can’t wait for 2019—the year we grow beyond the walls of development and better position our outputs in the market. Thank you Loopers—vets and newbies—for stepping up with me and committing to our work.

Whoah 👶—Biggest Success

A different perspective validates what you already thought you knew

I hate to fly so I was glad that three of our team members were excited to travel to Sweden for Infor’s M3 TechEd, to talk to not only power-users of M3, but also IT decision makers who are keen to hear about enhancements and plans for future innovation.

Here’s what was different — and exciting — about this user conference: The new H&L showed up to present and fact find. You can check out the team’s account of their experience below ⬇️

After 18+ months of figuring out what we believe and how to deliver, we now have a shared organizational POV on User Experience with the most strategic ways to scale it back into the enterprise. While the team was there to listen, they were also there to present and evangelize the new H&L processes that’s the result of our collected intelligence. And guess what? It was well received, got lots of attendees engaged in the conversation, and validated our gut instinct on what to evolve.

Demonstrating the desirability of our processes and work, we’ve already had the CSI and Infor Nexus teams tell us they want what we’re offering. But it took our team traveling to Stockholm to prove to us that we have a pulse on what the product experience needs to be.

Aww 💩: Biggest Opportunity to Learn “for me”

Operating in multiple dimensions as an Infor Exec

A few weeks back, we had our annual Leaders’ Summit with strategic meetings around all areas of Infor’s business. It was a mad scramble for me — the day before given the last minute invitation to demonstrate UX progress in product. It turned out somewhat successful — highlighting the positive changes, but to be honest I wasn’t able to fully seize the opportunity.

There were a few times that I should have been better prepared, especially due to our unique perspective on Customer Service via mobile. I would have loved to be on the docket to discuss the Design System program, adoption and demand for the new version—how it decreases time in implementation.

Lesson learned. It’s hard to get ahead of every chance you have to delivery your story. Especially when you have to piggy-backing off of our development colleagues’ presentation. At times, being a corporate exec I loose sight of this—I still want to feel like I am part of my team that’s doing—lesson is that you need to be more vigilant about having stories ready to go. Without losing the passion and drive like when I ran my own company. I have a global team and a C-Suite that’s counting on me for very different things. My challenge for 2019 is to represent Hook&Loop, represent Infor and still be me.

Infor on Infor + Hook&Loop

Our Business Innovation team (IT) has a mandate to get Inforians on latest version of our products, at times even before they are available. This helps to ensure we deliver the best customer experience. The three mobile products Hook&Loop has been design-leading are already in the mix.

  1. HCM Mobile Optimized—beta 2000 employees at the moment
  2. Infor CRM Mobile: Scheduled evaluation call for January
  3. Infor Expense: Onboarding at the current moment

Major win here: we get more immediate, unfiltered feedback from users who have a vested interest in the success of the product. There’s something really powerful having a conversation in the elevator with a colleague who you happened to run into about their experience with one of the apps. It can happen to anyone of us here at HQ — and you never know who’s going to offer feedback — or what they’re going to say. It’s a great way to keep us on our toes — ready to talk about our decisions and learning to probe for more details and actionable insights.

Keeping the excitement and urgency alive one second at a time

We track progress and demonstrate our outputs by targeting them to Inforum, our global user-conference. When the NYC team came back to the office on January 2, they were greeted by a countdown clock. September 23 in New Orleans might feel like a distant future but it will be here before we know it. Here is to sticking to our plans!

Hey H&L designers, can we get a formal typeset for Inforum2019?

Soft launch: H&L site and new branding for 2019

Congrats to the team for launching V1 of our new website right before the holidays. We have aggressive plans for a more robust V2 launch at the end of March. What’s really important about this experience is the new look and feel for the H&L brand. We’ve purposely kept the H&L branding minimal which really allows our work to stand out and speak for itself.

I keep saying that the Product is the Brand and the Brand is the Product — so it’s time to start walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

Shoutout @j_macaluso for walking the walk too—building out and enhancing the overall site experience.

TechTalks: Artificial Neural Networks

Big shoutout to Luca Columbu, our Lead Mobile Development Manager for orchestrating H&L’s first TechTalks. The inaugural topic was Artificial Neural Networks and the fundamentals around what it is, how data is used (training/test) and a practical example to help arm the team in our mobility decision making. In the spirit of sharing, here are the references from the sess:

Some references are here:

The first invite was sent out as a trial to Hook&Loop, but we have plans to open it up to all HQ employees and via webcasts.

Solution Consultants are on point

Erik Traverner, a solution consultant for Infor’s CX suite visited our team in NYC to talk about market saturation, competitive landscape, and where we should head with CRM. The discussion and its outcomes led our team looking at what we are building with a different lens — and to identifying a way of adding additional value all while differentiating our CRM app.

I always had a feeling that Infor’s SCs could be uber helpful to our team, and this session validated that. SCs are the closest to our customers with their needs while keeping a close eye on what the market is doing — or say they are doing. A good product/service is one that captures a user’s needs and differentiates the offering. Next visit you get a t-shirt and please consider yourself a Looper!

Bringing in the Holidays

What an amazing piece of machinery.

An H&L holiday tradition is the team White Elephant ($20 limit!). This year’s gift exchange did not disappoint — either with unexpectedly great gifts (gift cards, wireless mobile charge pad, Amazon Echo Dot) which made the swapping fierce and those other gifts that are likely to reappear at next year’s White Elephant. But everyone’s a winner this year — I got a Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine for our floor (and it’s awesome, if I say so myself). Freshly ground beans beat the pre-packaged Flavia machine every time.

I ❤️ team

December bday shout outs to Becca, Julie and Oge and thanks to Thea for coordinating the killa dilla burrito birthday lunch in celebration.

Two new members are joining our team in January: Welcome Gaetano Pollice who will lead Program Management, and Kenton Quatman, a Product Designer transferring internally from Infor’s Digital Transformation team. Welcome back to Hook&Loop, playa 😉!