Q/A with Kent Robinson, Senior UI/UX Designer
Meet Kent, the newest member of our team at Def Method. Kent Robinson is a designer and researcher passionate about building scalable applications. He has 7 years of experience in design, strategic planning, and team building experience, specializing in user research, rapid prototyping, and visual design.
How to Lead Your Product Part 2: Keep Calm in the Problem Space
I recently covered the first part of how to lead your product, with a focus on how to bring others along in uncovering insights from your User Research. You can do this with activities like affinity mapping, where you and your team work together to identify common themes emerging from your research, rather than giving them a fully baked user research report to read about your findings. The next part of the series discusses how to lead your product by keeping calm in the problem space, before jumping to solutions.
How to Lead Your Product Part 1
What is the difference between managing and leading your product? Don't Product Managers need to be able to both manage and lead? (The answer is: yes.) But in my career, I’ve found myself falling into a predominantly management mindset because it is more comfortable, more convenient and more controlled. I often need to often take a step back and ask myself where I can find more opportunities to lead my product, because I know it will result in better outcomes if I both manage and lead. I will be sharing tools and tips to do this across 5 articles in this series, each with a specific focus: user research, stakeholder requests, the product roadmap, communication, and feature prioritization.
Why Insist on Standups and IPMs
Standups and Iteration Planning Meetings (IPMs) are standard activities for every agile team, but on some occasions we will get push back from client teams who challenge us on why these meetings are important. We know these meetings are essential to realize the core beauty of Agile development through collaboration and iteration. We love to help organizations advocate for and get the most out of these touch points. Read on to learn more about implementing these agile practices and reach out to us if you think we can help your team improve their Agile processes.
The Anatomy of an Agile Backlog
At Def Method, we use Agile methodologies when working with client teams. The core tenets of Agile philosophy are central to how we operate - rapid software development iteration cycles and clear communication across the team makes for great products. Clear communication in agile stems from encouraging conversations around requirements rather than submitting lengthy, detailed specifications that no one will read. Below we’ve outlined the different types of communication pieces that are commonly used in Agile software development as part of the backlog.
Driving Alignment Around Goals
Why is misalignment around goals and expectations such a common problem for product professionals? How come product management consultants are more effective at addressing this issue, than in-house product managers (even when they are the same person!)? Below, Isabelle, our Director of Product, shares some thoughts on why she thinks consultants are able to do this better than in-house product managers, and she shares a technique used on many client projects to ensure alignment around goals and expectations.
Using Data Analytics to Improve Team Processes
What do you do when your team is working their socks off and yet they are getting little credit for the work being done, mainly because the team isn’t able to set clear expectations with the stakeholder? Read on to learn how, through collecting and analyzing operational data, I was able to quantify and improve the team’s processes and subsequently set realistic expectations with the product owner.
Fundamentals First: Learning iOS
This article focuses on my journey of learning iOS development, unique iOS concepts I’ve picked up, and lessons learned in terms of efficiently adding a new tech stack to my knowledge base.
A Guide to Studying for the Heroku Certified Architecture Designer Exam
This is a guide for preparing to take the Heroku Certified Architecture Designer exam. The Heroku Certified Architecture Designer exam can be a tricky exam to prepare for. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way while I’ve been preparing for the test myself.
Why now is the right time to dive into native iOS for the React engineer
You’re a web developer who knows React and, even though you’ve wanted to, you’ve never really gotten into native iOS development. Well, Apple recently codified many of the best practices nurtured by the development community over the last few years into two new frameworks, SwiftUI and Combine. And with these new tools, native iOS development suddenly has a developer experience that rivals most modern web development in its power and fluidity.
26 Ways to Get Unstuck in Software Development
Anyone who’s written software has been there: The code you’ve written looks correct, it should work and yet it doesn’t. You’ve been pulling your hair out and cursing for three days, trying everything you can think of until you try that one thing that makes it work. As a senior engineer and consultant, part of my job is helping others to get unstuck. This article pulls together and shares techniques that I’ve learned over the years for getting unstuck.
Running Successful Remote Retrospectives
Recommended tools, tips, and process for running remote retrospectives for work from home teams.
Test-First Programming for Improved Software, or Revisiting Red-Green-Refactor
We practice test-first programming because it enables us to improve the design of the system every day. We start by defining clear expectations for the system, in the form of executable specifications. Through constant refinement, we pursue simple and reliable designs.
Project Length Calculator
Are you curious about roughly how long it may take to create the application you are looking to build? Play around with our project length calculator to get rough, high-level estimates. Reach out to us and we'll run through a more detailed estimation process for you.
Code Reuse in the Delivery of Value
We make software in order to deliver the value to be gained from its use. The time and cost constraints inherent to the delivery of business value make it important to practice sound decision making in the most time-consuming and expensive software engineering activities: writing and maintaining code.
How to Communicate Effectively with Your Engineering Team
At Def Method, we work with many non-technical business leaders as well as technical team members and understand that it can be difficult when the two groups don’t “speak the same language”. If you’ve found it challenging communicating with your engineers, you are not alone, and we’d like to help. Here are some tips on how to improve communication with your engineering team and streamline your development process.
What is Continuous Integration?
If you ask ten people what they think about Continuous Integration, you will get eleven different opinions. Between various tools, rules and values, every developer/organization has a different opinion about what Continuous Integration (CI) is, what it means to the company, and how to implement it.
How to Run a Successful Project Retrospective
A retrospective provides a way to reflect on the software development work done in the past sprint cycle or cycles. It helps the team learn from past mistakes and improve their development process in the next iteration of work. We encourage regular retrospectives at the end of each development cycle.
Discovering Your Product Before Jumping Into Development
At Def Method, we work with a lot of companies looking to build out their MVP. To kick off this process, we encourage founders to go through what we call a Discovery Process. During this deep-dive workshop that lasts two to five days, the Def Method team collaborates with you to clearly outline what you’re building and how you’re building it. Through a series of intensive exercises and product design/prioritization, we help to align the team on product goals and scope.