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Project Management & UX

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I will be doing a short talk at the next PMI WLEC meeting, January 12th. That's Project Managers in Western Lake Erie, aka Toledo Region. I am going to give them an intro to the user experience and software developer communities around here, and see what we might want to do together.

Below is what I wrote to help me prepare and give them some sense of what I want to cover. I will pull up a few web pages along the way to provide some context and trigger discussions.

Many software project managers are finding that they need to collaborate with user experience teams in order to accomplish the organizational results required for business success. User Experience professionals do more than make screen looks pretty. They do more than make features usable. They make the experience of using the product or service delightful. UXers often also use design methods to lead strategic customer decisions and stakeholder engagements.

As software development teams adopt agile, scrum and lean methods to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, they are also exploring how to collaborate with user experience professionals. Design is becoming an important competitive advantage in e-commerce, mobile app and other software marketplaces. Intranets and enterprise software are expected to be as good as consumer applications.

Project managers, software developers, and user experience designers all need to work together for projects to be successful. Shouldn’t we also be learning together and networking with each other “outside the office”? Let’s talk about what PMI WLEC is doing this year, what the software, tech & design communities in the Toledo Region are trying to accomplish, and see if we can do some things together. For example, we have already collaborated on EPIC’s Connect IT, where we had a PM roundtable to go along with application development and IT infrastructure topics.

The next (best) opportunity for learning together and networking might be the 4th User Experience Toledo Region conference on February 3rd. It will be at the Toledo Museum of Art and features remote speakers by Rosenfeld Media. The topic is PRODUCT management and user experience (not quite the same as PROJECT management, but close). The world-class experts include Jeff Gothelf, Jeff Patton, Laura Klein and Christina Wodtke. Learn more at User-Experience.org.

About Keith Instone - Keith is a user experience consultant and experience planner. He has “global” clients (like Lenovo) that he works remotely with, “midwest” clients (like a consumer products company in southern Ohio), and “local” clients (like Owens Corning). They usually hire him to make their technology easier to use but he often ends up helping them change the organization and culture that is getting in the way of people-centered design.

His most intense experience with PMI-certified colleagues was during a 10 year stint with IBM, where he worked with a wide rage of “pure” PMs and “UX” PMs. He was part of the first cross-IBM Agile UX working groups, which did early attempts at integrating agile software development and user-centered design processes.

Today, he is active in building up the UX and software tech communities in the Toledo Region. Check out User-Experience.org, TechToledo.com, and the community calendar ToledoTechEvents.org to join us.