IxD Managers (was: d schools)

9 Oct 2007 - 10:59am
6 years ago
26 replies
756 reads
Dante Murphy
2006

[snip]
This is where most will end up, because too often the next step in pay
grade is only achievable by moving into management.

This of course is a terrible idea because it takes the best designers
and promotes them into management, where they can't design.
[/snip]

[snip]
But to become a manager, when "managing" is an entirely different
discipline and requires different talent, just to conform to a broken
system, seeking better rewards, seems like the wrong path to me...
[/snip]

I'm an IxD manager, and I still design. A lot. My boss, who is a VP,
also designs. A lot.

Becoming a manager doesn't lobotomize you. Sure, not everyone has the
aptitude or interest to manage others, but I find it very rewarding. In
fact, I won't seriously consider any position that doesn't give me the
opportunity to mentor, recruit, and reward other IxD professionals. I
get as much a kick out of that as I do from executing a good design.

As I've mentioned in other posts, I created the role of "Principle IxD"
in our group to attract and retain the kind of designer who just wants
to design, and doesn't want to be burdened with managerial
responsibilities. It's a role I've held in the past (and enjoyed), so I
know its value.

If you're in an organization that doesn't have capable designers in
management positions, or doesn't have a Principle IxD-type role...the
burden is on you to educate your peers and continue to demonstrate the
value you add to your company. Like every other IxD with 10+ years
experience, I've had to do this many times. It's a hard fight, too
often unrewarded, but the landscape is much better these days than it
was in 1998 when you were either a programmer, a graphic designer, or
unemployed.

And if you can't change the world you're in, move on. The opportunities
are out there, and the IxD managers are waiting for you.

Dante

Dante Murphy | Director of Information Architecture | D I G I T A S H E
A L T H
229 South 18th Street, 2nd Floor | Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA
19103
Email: dmurphy at digitashealth.com | www.digitashealth.com

Comments

9 Oct 2007 - 11:27am
Joseph Selbie
2007

I want to second Dante's comments. I am a manager and a designer. In fact, I
built my company doing both. I don't get to design as much as I would if I
was without my other responsibilities, but I still take the lead on projects
and spend time in the creative nexus of design -- just me and the screen.

I would also say that in many ways managing has helped me be a better
designer. I appreciate the *dynamics* of creating good design -- which is
more than the brilliance of a particular solution (although that is
necessary). I think it also has made me a better interpreter and persuader
to the business and approval team (the client). I can win them to designs
that might have been left by the wayside if I hadn't been able to get them
to appreciate the advantages.

I am a firm believer that design is a holistic process -- and being a
manager and designer has given me a more holistic understanding of the
entire process.

If you like facilitating teams and team processes, I wouldn't hold back from
a management position for fear of not being part of the design any longer.

Joseph Selbie
Founder, CEO Tristream
Web Application Design
http://www.tristream.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Dante
Murphy
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 8:59 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] IxD Managers (was: d schools)

[snip]
This is where most will end up, because too often the next step in pay
grade is only achievable by moving into management.

This of course is a terrible idea because it takes the best designers
and promotes them into management, where they can't design.
[/snip]

[snip]
But to become a manager, when "managing" is an entirely different
discipline and requires different talent, just to conform to a broken
system, seeking better rewards, seems like the wrong path to me...
[/snip]

I'm an IxD manager, and I still design. A lot. My boss, who is a VP,
also designs. A lot.

Becoming a manager doesn't lobotomize you. Sure, not everyone has the
aptitude or interest to manage others, but I find it very rewarding. In
fact, I won't seriously consider any position that doesn't give me the
opportunity to mentor, recruit, and reward other IxD professionals. I
get as much a kick out of that as I do from executing a good design.

As I've mentioned in other posts, I created the role of "Principle IxD"
in our group to attract and retain the kind of designer who just wants
to design, and doesn't want to be burdened with managerial
responsibilities. It's a role I've held in the past (and enjoyed), so I
know its value.

If you're in an organization that doesn't have capable designers in
management positions, or doesn't have a Principle IxD-type role...the
burden is on you to educate your peers and continue to demonstrate the
value you add to your company. Like every other IxD with 10+ years
experience, I've had to do this many times. It's a hard fight, too
often unrewarded, but the landscape is much better these days than it
was in 1998 when you were either a programmer, a graphic designer, or
unemployed.

And if you can't change the world you're in, move on. The opportunities
are out there, and the IxD managers are waiting for you.

Dante

Dante Murphy | Director of Information Architecture | D I G I T A S H E
A L T H
229 South 18th Street, 2nd Floor | Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA
19103
Email: dmurphy at digitashealth.com | www.digitashealth.com
________________________________________________________________
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To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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9 Oct 2007 - 11:32am
bminihan
2007

Thanks for posting this, as I'm in the same position, and agree that management is not mutually exclusive from having talent or performing engagement work. I pull my weight as a team member just like the rest of my team, but focus primarily on mentoring and providing input that helps everyone move forward. We don't have much of a design shop, so I'm a rare breed around here, anyway.

I liken the need for senior design positions or "tactical design managers" to the emergence of "web architects" from the web development crowd over the years. It seems a good fit for those senior technical people who have a ton to contribute to system and enterprise design, who don't need or want to manage people directly. They can contribute and mentor without the formal manager title and reporting relationships. If a company can afford the headcount & resources to have them, I think both are very useful.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- Dante Murphy <dmurphy at digitashealth.com> wrote:
> I'm an IxD manager, and I still design. A lot. My boss, who is a VP,
> also designs. A lot.

9 Oct 2007 - 11:42am
russwilson
2005

Out of curiosity, how many people do you manage?

It's not a binary equation (i.e. you don't stop designing the
minute you start managing). But the more your mgt responsibilities
increase, the less you are going to be able to design. (and vice-versa)

It's not one or the other -- and you can be very successful doing a mix.
The question is what do you want that mix to be? (50-50, 60-40, 40-60...)

And, if you aren't willing to manage, in most cases you will hit
a ceiling in compensation and status. And I'm not sure that's ideal.
What makes managing other resources more valuable than being a star resource?

(this is coming from someone who has moved into executive management and
sometimes questions the philosophies)

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of bjminihan at nc.rr.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 11:33 AM
To: Dante Murphy
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] IxD Managers (was: d schools)

Thanks for posting this, as I'm in the same position, and agree that management is not mutually exclusive from having talent or performing engagement work. I pull my weight as a team member just like the rest of my team, but focus primarily on mentoring and providing input that helps everyone move forward. We don't have much of a design shop, so I'm a rare breed around here, anyway.

I liken the need for senior design positions or "tactical design managers" to the emergence of "web architects" from the web development crowd over the years. It seems a good fit for those senior technical people who have a ton to contribute to system and enterprise design, who don't need or want to manage people directly. They can contribute and mentor without the formal manager title and reporting relationships. If a company can afford the headcount & resources to have them, I think both are very useful.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- Dante Murphy <dmurphy at digitashealth.com> wrote:
> I'm an IxD manager, and I still design. A lot. My boss, who is a VP,
> also designs. A lot.

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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9 Oct 2007 - 11:58am
bminihan
2007

Good question =]

We have a pretty small team of about 6 people (including myself). I've had as many as 8, and have managed technical projects as well as the day-to-day UCD work. I'm kind of an anomaly in that I'm used to providing 5-6 different services for any given employer, so I like the 70%/30% manager/designer role.

Then again, I just quit my job because a) the company has gone backwards in its acceptance of UCD and design practices, and b) due to (a), I have lost two of my team members this year and could likely lose the rest of them. I'm moving on to a CTO role at an Internet startup, where I'll build the entire tech team from scratch. Most likely, my design role there (after the first few months) will be a contributor more than a prototyper, but I've evolved to appreciate the strategic impact as much (probably not more =]) than the hands-on design work.

- Bryan
http://www.bryanminihan.com

---- "Wilson wrote:
> Out of curiosity, how many people do you manage?
>
>
> It's not a binary equation (i.e. you don't stop designing the
> minute you start managing). But the more your mgt responsibilities
> increase, the less you are going to be able to design. (and vice-versa)
>
> It's not one or the other -- and you can be very successful doing a mix.
> The question is what do you want that mix to be? (50-50, 60-40, 40-60...)
>
> And, if you aren't willing to manage, in most cases you will hit
> a ceiling in compensation and status. And I'm not sure that's ideal.
> What makes managing other resources more valuable than being a star resource?
>
> (this is coming from someone who has moved into executive management and
> sometimes questions the philosophies)
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of bjminihan at nc.rr.com
> Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 11:33 AM
> To: Dante Murphy
> Cc: discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] IxD Managers (was: d schools)
>
> Thanks for posting this, as I'm in the same position, and agree that management is not mutually exclusive from having talent or performing engagement work. I pull my weight as a team member just like the rest of my team, but focus primarily on mentoring and providing input that helps everyone move forward. We don't have much of a design shop, so I'm a rare breed around here, anyway.
>
> I liken the need for senior design positions or "tactical design managers" to the emergence of "web architects" from the web development crowd over the years. It seems a good fit for those senior technical people who have a ton to contribute to system and enterprise design, who don't need or want to manage people directly. They can contribute and mentor without the formal manager title and reporting relationships. If a company can afford the headcount & resources to have them, I think both are very useful.
>
> - Bryan
> http://www.bryanminihan.com
>
> ---- Dante Murphy <dmurphy at digitashealth.com> wrote:
> > I'm an IxD manager, and I still design. A lot. My boss, who is a VP,
> > also designs. A lot.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help

--

9 Oct 2007 - 12:15pm
Dante Murphy
2006

[quote]
Out of curiosity, how many people do you manage?

<...>

And, if you aren't willing to manage, in most cases you will hit a
ceiling in compensation and status. And I'm not sure that's ideal. What
makes managing other resources more valuable than being a star resource?
[/quote]

I manage 5 other IxDs, and have approved headcount for at least one more
this year. The vision for our department is to continue incremental
growth until we're about 15 strong, after which I think we'll just
manage attrition.

I probably spend about 50% of my time executing design, 30% of my time
researching the discipline (filling the vacant principle role), and 20%
doing explicit management tasks. I think there is a lot of implicit
management, mentoring, etc. in what I do and how I do it, but I don't
think that's what you were asking.

I think that as the group grows to that 15-person strength, the ratio
will shift to 40/20/40. I don't foresee ever dipping below 40% time
with my feet on the ground...I just love what I do too much to get away
from it. That might harm my chances of becoming a CEO, but honestly, my
chances weren't very good to begin with.

Regarding the second comment...design is far from unique in this regard.
You can't become an Admiral if you aren't willing to command other
sailors. If you want to make the big bucks on the football field, be
the quarterback, the guy who makes the decisions when the play is in
motion, the guy who touches the ball every play. I don't fault the
system for capping the rewards to one-dimensional people, no matter how
brilliant they are at that one thing. Additive ability should command a
higher salary and title.

Now, I don't think that substituting a manager for a designer should
result in a higher reward. Hopefully that trend is in its death
throes...I've been there, and it's usually been a recipe for
dissatisfaction. I like the idea of a meritocracy...if you add more
value to the company, you get more moolah. Humbly, I think I do.

Dante

Dante Murphy | Director of Information Architecture | D I G I T A S H E
A L T H
229 South 18th Street, 2nd Floor | Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA
19103
Email: dmurphy at digitashealth.com | www.digitashealth.com

9 Oct 2007 - 2:35pm
Dave Cronin
2005

I'm not sure that I see that "designing" and "managing" are mutually
exclusive activities.

While I certainly have less agency or direct control when working with
people (as compared to a rendering tool), on a good day I feel like I
can actually have a greater impact on the creation of a great product or
service than when I'm pushing pixels (which I also still do).

If you look at other fields of design (like architecture) some of the
folks who do the most effective and compelling work are able to do so
because they're able to marshal the talents and capabilities of large
groups of people.

-dave

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wilson, Russell
> Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 9:42 AM
>
> Out of curiosity, how many people do you manage?
>
>
> It's not a binary equation (i.e. you don't stop designing the
> minute you start managing). But the more your mgt
> responsibilities increase, the less you are going to be able
> to design. (and vice-versa)
>
> It's not one or the other -- and you can be very successful
> doing a mix.
> The question is what do you want that mix to be? (50-50,
> 60-40, 40-60...)
>
> And, if you aren't willing to manage, in most cases you will
> hit a ceiling in compensation and status. And I'm not sure
> that's ideal.
> What makes managing other resources more valuable than being
> a star resource?
>
> (this is coming from someone who has moved into executive
> management and sometimes questions the philosophies)

9 Oct 2007 - 2:59pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I totally agree with David here (and its not just b/c we share the
same name). I think "directing" is a core activity of successful
design. There is so much collaboration in our fields between
different design mediums that the directing of design, leading
strategic design, etc. that are usually embodied in the manager role
are vital to design success.

On that turn, it is also really important that everyone that that
manager manages knows that the manager can DO design as well as any
of them.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

10 Oct 2007 - 9:50am
Phillip Hunter
2006

Here, here! Though managers do well to also learn how to handle having a
team member who is more talented than "the boss".

ph

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
Malouf
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 12:59 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] IxD Managers (was: d schools)

I totally agree with David here (and its not just b/c we share the
same name). I think "directing" is a core activity of successful
design. There is so much collaboration in our fields between
different design mediums that the directing of design, leading
strategic design, etc. that are usually embodied in the manager role
are vital to design success.

On that turn, it is also really important that everyone that that
manager manages knows that the manager can DO design as well as any
of them.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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10 Oct 2007 - 10:13am
Mark Schraad
2006

For many years I have had designer on my staff that were smarter and more skilled that I. It is one of the primary guide posts in hiring... and it has always been a joy to work with superior talent. Expertise bubbles up - even when decision have to be made further up.

Mark

On Wednesday, October 10, 2007, at 10:50AM, "Phillip Hunter" <phillip at speechcycle.com> wrote:
>Here, here! Though managers do well to also learn how to handle having a
>team member who is more talented than "the boss".
>
>ph
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of David
>Malouf
>Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 12:59 PM
>To: discuss at ixda.org
>Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] IxD Managers (was: d schools)
>
>I totally agree with David here (and its not just b/c we share the
>same name). I think "directing" is a core activity of successful
>design. There is so much collaboration in our fields between
>different design mediums that the directing of design, leading
>strategic design, etc. that are usually embodied in the manager role
>are vital to design success.
>
>On that turn, it is also really important that everyone that that
>manager manages knows that the manager can DO design as well as any
>of them.
>
>-- dave
>

10 Oct 2007 - 12:00pm
Christopher Fahey
2005

I think we should distinguish between two types of management here.
There's managing a design group or team, and then there's managing a
business. These are different things, although there is overlap. The
difference is that managing a business encompasses everything that
managing a design team does, plus a lot of other stuff:
* Marketing & Advertising
* Accounting and Taxes
* Infrastructure, Physical Plant, and Technology
* Business Development, Mergers and Aquisitions, Strategic partnerships
* Sales and distribution, supply chain management
* Legal
* etc.

This is what MBAs usually mean by "management". Managing a design
team is qualitatively narrower in scope than managing a business. It
just is. When business people talk about management at a strategic
level, they're not thinking about majors and sergeants, they're
thinking colonels and generals.

What's more, I'm not sure that managing a design team requires much
"business-specific" education anyway. It takes a lot of talent and
the ability to do many things other than hands-on design, of course.
But most designers, I think, can learn to manage designers simply by
working with other designers and having the genuine desire to take
responsibility for and take charge of people and projects.

Moving from designing stuff to managing a design team requires that
you adjust your priorities a little bit, and take on new
responsibilities and develop new skills. But moving from managing a
design team to managing a business of any substantial size (50+)
requires a profound and fundamental change of focus, I think, a
change that for almost anyone who tries will putt hands-on design,
and even intimate design team management, far into the background.
Many designers are capable of this, but not as many as I would like
to see. Perhaps it is because, as Bruce Nussbaum pointed out (in his
response to my response to his response to my response to his
article), design is so much fun and spiritually satisfying that so
many of us hate to push it far to the side in order to take on the
kind of responsibilities managing a business entails.

-Cf

Christopher Fahey
____________________________
Behavior
biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com
me: http://www.graphpaper.com

10 Oct 2007 - 10:57am
Joe Sokohl
2004

There is, however, a huge difference between being a manager and a
leader. Managers manage resources; leaders inspire people.

In my new role, I'm having to manage 35 people, most of whom are in
another country (in fact, all except for 1, come to think of it). So I
have to adjust to different cultures, time zones, and histories--and I
find that I spend (unfortunately) much more of my time managing
project resource requests, Internet access requests, soft- and
hardware requests...and less time leading UX initiatives, approaches,
and directions. Now, that's a bad perhaps on me and my company, but
there it is.

When I managed a small documentation team in the early '90s, my boss
(VP of development) said, "When you get to be a manager, you can't
do the cool stuff." Indeed. That's left to the single contributors
& perhaps team leads.

But the bosses? We just MBWA (manage by walking around).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

10 Oct 2007 - 3:20pm
Peter Merholz
2004

Chris, I think you've put forth a pretty narrow view of design
management.

> What's more, I'm not sure that managing a design team requires much
> "business-specific" education anyway. It takes a lot of talent and
> the ability to do many things other than hands-on design, of course.
> But most designers, I think, can learn to manage designers simply by
> working with other designers and having the genuine desire to take
> responsibility for and take charge of people and projects.

This is true only if you're managing down. But I think a successful
design manager needs to be able to manage up and out as well. This is
where design managers who were once designers fail -- they don't
really understand the role their team plays in the bigger
organizational picture, and so they can't advocate for the team to be
used to make an impact on business planning and strategy. Such design
teams become little more than execution shops, carrying out others
wishes.

Some of the best design managers I've worked with are those with more
traditional managerial backgrounds (MBAs, etc.) who were able to
appreciate the contribution that design plays in a business' success.

If we want our design teams to be more than paper-hat-wearers taking
orders from others, and to be listened to by people around the
organization, people with "business-specific" educations are going to
be some of our greatest colleagues.

--peter

10 Oct 2007 - 4:05pm
Dave Malouf
2005

wow! ok ... gulp!
I completely agree w/ Peter Me on this one.
If you are not managing in two directions you are doing a disservice
to yourself and your direct reports. This requires direct knowledge
of the business and how it runs. you need to manage budgets, you need
to take responsibility for P&L, even as a design manager, even as a
mid-level design manager at a large corp.
The life of any manager should exist as much in MS Project, Excel,
and PPT as it does in Visio, Illustrator, Photoshop, and MindMapper.
You can't only be focused on design. You need to be aware of the
business' effect on your group and strategize for contingencies and
evangelize accordingly.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

10 Oct 2007 - 4:25pm
Mark Schraad
2006

Managing up is what learning to present your work is really all about.

Mark

On Wednesday, October 10, 2007, at 04:21PM, "Peter Merholz" <peterme at peterme.com> wrote:

But I think a successful design manager needs to be able to manage up and out as well.

10 Oct 2007 - 6:18pm
Kontra
2007

I examined some of the questions involved in 'design thinking' here:

Managing design vs. managing designers vs. managing business
http://counternotions.com/2007/10/10/managing-design/

"If what designers want is more power to decide on some of the
fundamental problems their organizations face, they can do that
without having to become managers of organizational processes. But
first, they have to be invited to the table %u2014 the table of
strategic decision making."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

10 Oct 2007 - 10:42pm
Preston Smalley
2007

Thanks Dante for kicking off this discussion. I couldn't agree more that in order to be an effective IxD Manager you must first and foremost be a designer. Also as someone finishing up his MBA, I also agree with Peter Me and David that managing engagements with business leaders is critical.

I see the role of IxD manager as both inspiring the designers on your team to acheive more and more effective designs as well as building support for that work within the wider organization. The IxD manager should be breaking down walls and barriers which should enable greater creativity. Finally, the role of IxD Principal simply complements this role and finds perhaps a different balance between design and talent management activities.

As a brief plug, I'm looking for an IxD Manager to join my team at eBay. If you're interested, let me know.

http://jobs.37signals.com/jobs/2271

Thanks!
Preston
Director of Interaction Design
eBay, Inc.

11 Oct 2007 - 2:06pm
Peter Boersma
2003

Chris wrote:
> [..] design is so much fun and spiritually satisfying that so
> many of us hate to push it far to the side in order to take on the
> kind of responsibilities managing a business entails.

Yeah, that's probably why, when I co-managed just 7 designers (in the management-management sense), I put in my 60 hours of management (I was still learning and felt I had to put in the hours!) and *still* kept designing for 20 hours every week...

That lasted 7 months. By then I had realized that full-time management-management wasn't my thing (yet?) and that I preferred a somewhat more designer-y role.

Now I am a senior designer, mentor of 3 designers, and only partly responsible for managing the 10-person UX department. I feel healthy :-)

Peter
--
Peter Boersma | Senior Interaction Designer | Info.nl
http://www.peterboersma.com/blog | http://www.info.nl

13 Oct 2007 - 3:52am
Kontra
2007

"[There is a] common perception that a "sales guy" can sell
*anything*, be it cars or jeans or computerware. This view holds that
the domain of business is not determinant, the process is. You learn
the process (at business school), you're good to go.

As the inadequacy of this approach is exposed we now have another
trend: inject the sales guy with some appreciation of the domain,
surely now he can do even better. Welcome to 'design thinking,' the
finishing school for the Steve Jobs wannabes out there, if you will."

I explore this tension further at:

"The new managerial class: cure for design?"

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

14 Oct 2007 - 12:39am
Kontra
2007

(Sorry, the link was dropped in transit earlier.)

"[There is a] common perception that a "sales guy" can sell
anything, be it cars or jeans or computerware. This view holds that
the domain of business is not determinant, the process is. You learn
the process (at business school) , you're good to go.
As the inadequacy of this approach is exposed we now have another
trend: inject the sales guy with some appreciation of the domain,
surely now he can do even better. Welcome to 'design thinking,' the
finishing school for the Steve Jobs wannabes out there, if you will."

I explore this tension further at:

"The new managerial class: cure for design?"
http://counternotions.com/2007/10/13/cure-for-design/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

14 Oct 2007 - 10:41am
SemanticWill
2007

Yes but from your blog article
""How are monopolies lost? One day, the monopoly expires for whatever
reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they're no longer
listened to… Who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy… And so the
company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it
doesn't… Look at Microsoft — who's running Microsoft? Right, the sales guy.
Case closed."

For those asleep in reason and rhetoric classes - that is not an argument.
It fails every litmus test for an argument and the fact that Steve Jobs
allowed such a hollow and insipid failure of intellect says a bit either
about him, his PR flackies, and the journalist to stoned to recognize a
subject from a verb.

On Sat, 13 Oct 2007 22:39:51, Kontra <counternotions at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> (Sorry, the link was dropped in transit earlier.)
>
> "[There is a] common perception that a "sales guy" can sell
> anything, be it cars or jeans or computerware. This view holds that
> the domain of business is not determinant, the process is. You learn
> the process (at business school) , you're good to go.
> As the inadequacy of this approach is exposed we now have another
> trend: inject the sales guy with some appreciation of the domain,
> surely now he can do even better. Welcome to 'design thinking,' the
> finishing school for the Steve Jobs wannabes out there, if you will."
>
> I explore this tension further at:
>
> "The new managerial class: cure for design?"
> http://counternotions.com/2007/10/13/cure-for-design/
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
-------------------------------------------------------
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------

14 Oct 2007 - 11:13am
Mark Schraad
2006

“First off, I think the positioning of ‘design thinking’ in the
article is misleading.”

Why do you think so?

Because design thinking is much more than teaching mba's about
design. And is is most certainly not teaching the mba how to design.
It is also much more than than the wikipedia definition explains as
well. Go back through these archives to update your definition of
design thinking.

“rather than hold sales a business types up as villans”

Why not? Look at the record of the sales guy I mention in the
article, Ballmer, either in sales or the design of products MS sells:
pretty disastrous. We have a ton of examples. I do hold them
responsible.

Because they are not villans... they are doing what they know and
what they should be doing. Frankly, sales people have more tacit
knowledge regarding the customer and the market than most designers
do even after researching. They just have difficulty interpreting,
acting and telling about it. One of the key tools for marketing and
design is how to extract that knowledge. It's tricky and very hard to
do... but also very very helpful for anyone trying to develop the
'next' round of product. Sales people can be a huge asset and great
allies. The us against them mentality you propose is destructive.
Rather than conquering... consider collaborating.

“I don’t believe that it is as simple as designers wanting more power.”

Designers should want more power, the power to make decisions, which
are so far made for them.

My point here is that it is not about 'power' for power's sake. Most
designers want to design... and design better. To the extent that
they are empowered to do that, most do not have a hunger for power. I
believe that some, but not all, designers would make great CEO's -
only because (and if) they have a strong empathy for the customer.

“To many decisions are made prior to the designer’s involvment”

Exactly. And that’s not going to change until and unless designers
get the power to sit at the decision table.

Read up a bit on history... maybe regarding Genghiz Kahn. I would
suggest "Parable of the Tribes". Conquering for short term gain is
one thing... but presiding over that domain in the long term may not
be something designers want or are up for.

“many of the designer’s methodologies (design thinking) can be
implemented in functions not typically considered within the domain
of design.”

That’s a shortcoming for designers to overcome then. I do see
designers as problem solvers but with certain knowledge, experience
and sensibilities unique to them.

I love the confidence and the ego - and even the homer in you.
Rooting for designers to rule the world is an interesting thesis and
one that makes me smile. It does not feel though, that you have
really thought through the long term impact of your proposal. I do
not think designers as a lot, are any more adept at running large
companies that sale, mba's, engineers or the maintenance crews. If
you are a lurker on this board, you know that a whole lot of
designers here want nothing to do with the 'design thinking'
movement. They just want to design. Personally, I do not feel it in
any way threatens how designers will operate in the future, but many
here disagree. There is a notion that when mba's and others adopting
some of the methods and perspectives inherent in design thinking, it
will lessen the value of designers. I think quite the opposite. It
will present a workplace with more respect for design, and make it
easier for designers to sell their ideas. But I also think we
(designers) need to learn more about the language and perspective f
the executive suite in order to be more effective.

Mark

On Oct 13, 2007, at 6:39 PM, Kontra wrote:

> (Sorry, the link was dropped in transit earlier.)
>
> "[There is a] common perception that a "sales guy" can sell
> anything, be it cars or jeans or computerware. This view holds that
> the domain of business is not determinant, the process is. You learn
> the process (at business school) , you're good to go.
> As the inadequacy of this approach is exposed we now have another
> trend: inject the sales guy with some appreciation of the domain,
> surely now he can do even better. Welcome to 'design thinking,' the
> finishing school for the Steve Jobs wannabes out there, if you will."
>
> I explore this tension further at:
>
> "The new managerial class: cure for design?"
> http://counternotions.com/2007/10/13/cure-for-design/
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help

14 Oct 2007 - 4:29pm
Pedro Neves
2007

I have no big opinion about that, I think that each one must follow
their paths, if they are more creative or more management style, the
most important it's the final product or service, and in that point
of view can affect citizens, users.

The management, the coordination, it's an important task but it's
just a task, don%u2019t let the power affect the good strait
production and creative side of human nature.

sevenpedro( at )gmail.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

14 Oct 2007 - 11:34pm
Kontra
2007

"Because they are not villans... they are doing what they know and
what they should be doing."

I explored the currently contentious relationship between business
and design in a new article:

"For too long designers have been content with receiving from
technology and business pre-defined problem spaces within which to
operate...

Still, designers remain as enablers, not determiners. While bad
design can cause a project to fail, good design is not sufficient
enough to save it. This is because the fundamental decisions defining
the problem space around a project are almost always made by business.
Design, while no longer a mere appendage to technology, remains
peripheral to business nevertheless."

Compartmentalized design: Designers emasculated
http://counternotions.com/2007/10/15/designers-emasculated/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21259

15 Oct 2007 - 10:45am
Dave Cronin
2005

I absolutely agree with all of this, as well as Peter's comments.

If a design "manager" doesn't have some sense of responsibility (or at
least interested awareness) of all of those pesky things you list below,
there's almost no way that that the design team is coming up with
appropriate solutions that solve real world problems within relevent
business constraints and market opportunities.

To me, design is about bringing all of these things together in a
creative way. Artifacts and outputs aside, it's just not that different
than "good business."

(By which, I do not mean, in any way, to devalue design.)

-d

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On
> Behalf Of Christopher Fahey
> Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:01 AM
> To: IxDA
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] IxD Managers (was: d schools)
>
> I think we should distinguish between two types of management here.
> There's managing a design group or team, and then there's
> managing a business. These are different things, although
> there is overlap. The difference is that managing a business
> encompasses everything that managing a design team does, plus
> a lot of other stuff:
> * Marketing & Advertising
> * Accounting and Taxes
> * Infrastructure, Physical Plant, and Technology
> * Business Development, Mergers and Aquisitions,
> Strategic partnerships
> * Sales and distribution, supply chain management
> * Legal
> * etc.
>
> This is what MBAs usually mean by "management". Managing a
> design team is qualitatively narrower in scope than managing
> a business. It just is. When business people talk about
> management at a strategic level, they're not thinking about
> majors and sergeants, they're thinking colonels and generals.
>
> What's more, I'm not sure that managing a design team
> requires much "business-specific" education anyway. It takes
> a lot of talent and the ability to do many things other than
> hands-on design, of course.
> But most designers, I think, can learn to manage designers
> simply by working with other designers and having the genuine
> desire to take responsibility for and take charge of people
> and projects.
>
> Moving from designing stuff to managing a design team
> requires that you adjust your priorities a little bit, and
> take on new responsibilities and develop new skills. But
> moving from managing a design team to managing a business of
> any substantial size (50+) requires a profound and
> fundamental change of focus, I think, a change that for
> almost anyone who tries will putt hands-on design, and even
> intimate design team management, far into the background.
> Many designers are capable of this, but not as many as I
> would like to see. Perhaps it is because, as Bruce Nussbaum
> pointed out (in his response to my response to his response
> to my response to his article), design is so much fun and
> spiritually satisfying that so many of us hate to push it far
> to the side in order to take on the kind of responsibilities
> managing a business entails.
>
> -Cf
>
> Christopher Fahey
> ____________________________
> Behavior
> biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com
> me: http://www.graphpaper.com
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org Unsubscribe
> ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe List
> Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines List
> Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

16 Oct 2007 - 11:55am
Christopher Fahey
2005

Coming back to this thread a little late...

On Oct 10, 2007, at 4:20 PM, Peter Merholz wrote:
> Chris, I think you've put forth a pretty narrow view of design
> management.
>
>> What's more, I'm not sure that managing a design team requires much
>> "business-specific" education anyway. It takes a lot of talent and
>> the ability to do many things other than hands-on design, of course.
>> But most designers, I think, can learn to manage designers simply by
>> working with other designers and having the genuine desire to take
>> responsibility for and take charge of people and projects.
>
> This is true only if you're managing down. But I think a successful
> design manager needs to be able to manage up and out as well. This is
> where design managers who were once designers fail -- they don't
> really understand the role their team plays in the bigger
> organizational picture, and so they can't advocate for the team to be
> used to make an impact on business planning and strategy. Such design
> teams become little more than execution shops, carrying out others
> wishes.

I think I'm defining "design management" more narrowly than you are.
I'm defining it as a role where all of the manager's direct reports
are hands-on designers, where the design manager's job is to decide
what designers do and how they do it. The design manager's job, in my
mind, involves defining standards and methodologies, hiring/
recruiting, mentoring, knowledge sharing, assigning the right people
to the right jobs, and of course actually designing at a strategic
level.

Whenver a design manager does things that don't have to do with
helping their designers design better, they are not practicing my
definition of design management. They are practicing other types of
management. They may be still managing designers, but it's no longer
design management. Otherwise we might as well say any CEO who has a
designer somewhere in their organization is a design manager. It
doesn't count as design management unless you are making a lot of
smart design decisions.

You can do both, of course. You can be a design manager and a
business manager. Peter, you and I are such people. But make no
mistake, the skill sets and the tasks you perform, the talents you
need to possess, and the strategic insights you need to generate, are
quite different in these two areas. I know that I for one come face
to face with the "jack of all trades master of none" problem when I
switch gears between meeting company accountants and interviewing an
IA for a job.

Anyway, I don't see how you can say that a designer who has learned
to manage designers cannot also learn to "manage up" in an
organization. Are you putting a lid on what a designer can do? I
don't see the logic there. One need only look at Hollywood film
directors to see how a person who is essentially a design manager has
to plug in to every aspect of their company's, and their industry's,
business, including "upward", in order to be able to make great
products and lots of money.

> Some of the best design managers I've worked with are those with more
> traditional managerial backgrounds (MBAs, etc.) who were able to
> appreciate the contribution that design plays in a business' success.

Respectfully, I find this hard to believe, at least under my narrow
definition of what a design manager does. I find it hard to believe
that more than a handful of MBAs on Earth can make design-specific
leadership decisions. I find it hard to believe that an MBA can
define a design process, hire great designers, define new design
research directions, guide design teams in the right directions,
critique design concepts, etc. (any more than an MFA can structure a
corporate merger or build an accounting department).

I will guess that behind every person you are thinking of as a "best
design manager" there is a great design leader who has a traditional
design background. The Jonathan Ive to Steve Jobs, if you will
(although Jobs himself is not an MBA, either, of course). The
business manager does his or her company a great service by realizing
the importance of such design leaders in their organization,
championing them and helping them develop -- But it's not your MBA
"design manager" who shapes the actual design direction of the R&D
group, the brand development people, etc. It's a *designer*, or a
design leader, who does that work.

Perhaps you'll say that "leadership" and "management" are different
things. Okay. Maybe it's a semantic thing. Which begs the question:
Why have a term called "design management' when design managers don't
have to do design-specific work? Why not call them "design savvy
managers"?

> If we want our design teams to be more than paper-hat-wearers taking
> orders from others, and to be listened to by people around the
> organization, people with "business-specific" educations are going to
> be some of our greatest colleagues.

I agree with this 100%, at least the last part. I just find it a
little weird, even a little offensive, to have that role described as
a "design manager". What you seem to be advocating is that design
teams are still basically paper-hat wearers, only now their design-
appreciative MBA bosses get to call themselves "design managers"
instead of just "managers". MBAs are great and valuable colleagues
for designers, especially those who understand a lot about design,
and ultimately they make great corporate leaders... but unless they
are very talented and have trained themselves in hands-on design
skills (as some have), they cannot be true design leaders.

Seriously, it sounds like you're saying that design-savvy MBAs are
better at managing designers than business-savvy designers are. I
completely disagree with that. Oh boy do I disagree with that.

Along similar lines, David Malouf wrote:
> The life of any manager should exist as much in MS Project, Excel,
> and PPT as it does in Visio, Illustrator, Photoshop, and MindMapper.
> You can't only be focused on design. You need to be aware of the
> business' effect on your group and strategize for contingencies and
> evangelize accordingly.

This is a more modest objective than what Peter was saying, and I
agree with it. A design manager does need to do these things. A
design leader who decides which design resource does what and when,
and maps it out in a Gannt chart, is a great example of where design
leadership requires management skills.

My original point, however, was that aquiring these skills is
perfectly possible within a designer's normal work purview. You do
NOT need to go to business school and get an MBA to use MS Project.
You do NOT need an MBA to learn how to hire designers and how to run
a design project, how to estimate and track costs for design, or how
to fit a design process into the rest of the company's various cycles
of business, marketing, technology etc development. This level of
design management should rightly be part of every designer's
vocational development. I agree with this idea completely. I also
happen to think that this education does not require going back to
school for an MBA.

But when one is making a Gantt chart for planning the work of non-
designers, however, one is not doing design management. You're not a
design manager when you hire a lawyer to go after an overdue
collection. You're not a design manager when you negotiate the rent
for your new office. You are managing business.

When Steve Jobs is handed a prototype of a new iPod and tells the
designer "this sucks", he's doing design management/design
leadership. I'll concede that. But when he tells his engineering
group that they need to locate a cheaper chipset factory to knock 7%
off the iPod's manufacturing costs, he's managing his business. When
he decides that the stock should split, or that they will buy X
company's technology instead of licensing it, he is making business
decisions, not design decisions. In contrast to the previous
paragraph, I don't expect any designer to acquire these skills during
their professional design development careers. if they want these
skills, they will need to go off the design ranch (perhaps even
getting an MBA). That's totally cool, but it's not design.

And of course a leader of a design team may spend the vast majority
of their time doing management work, especially if their position
requires them to manager non-designers as well as designers. I
certainly do for much of the time -- analyzing accounts receivable,
reviewing contracts, talking with lawyers, purchasing equipment. But
when I am doing that work, no matter how good at it I am, I do not
think I am still in the world of design very much. I am doing things
that are not at the core of my skillset.

None of this is to imply that designers don't help themselves
immensely by learning business and strategic management skills (not
just MS Project, I mean C-level business strategies). But the more
time you spend doing that stuff, the less design leadership you are
providing to your team and company. You are heading down a path
towards transforming your career and your role fundamentally -- and
there's nothing wrong with that if you think that you are ultimately
better at management than you are at design. If that's the case, go
get the MBA.

But the last thing we need is for the very best designers to spend
90% of their time in MS Project or Excel every day, or spending all
year researching retirement and health plans for their staff, or
playing golf with shareholders. A great design leader doesn't need to
actually work in Photoshop and Visio all day, either, or be doodling
in their sketchbook all day -- but they should be using their design
expertise and talent to help shape design in their organization
through hiring, researching, education, etc. Design is a craft that
requires masters who lead other designers. Let's not lose sight of that.

Peter seems to be seeing only these two options:
1) Designers hang up their sketchbooks: Designers essentially stop
leading the practice of designers and become business managers who
deeply understand the value of design in their business.
2) Design-savvy management: Business managers learn about design,
become champions for it, and then manage designers in their businesses.

I like this third option:
3) Design-powered business: Businesses restructure to permit design
leaders to maximize their abilities at design and design's impact on
the company but without requiring the best designers to stop leading
designers.

Or even this fourth one:
4) Design-led business: Businesses are run by designers who have
business experts to help them with all the business stuff.

Wow, that's a lot of typing. Peter I hope you look over my sometimes-
strident words with a grain of salt and find some kind of way that
we're merely talking about semantics, because I suspect that we are.
We all want businesses to put more value on what design can do for
them, and we all want designers to be all that they can be.

Cheers,
-Cf

Christopher Fahey
____________________________
Behavior
biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com
me: http://www.graphpaper.com

16 Oct 2007 - 1:01pm
James Melzer
2004

I think there is a key distinction here between management, process
improvement and leadership. Chris is mostly talking about middl one
and Peter about the later two, if I understand their positions
correctly. Senior executives are ideally responsible for all three
areas, although only management is absolutely necessary to get by. How
many CIOs provide true leadership? Or set the methodological bar for
systems development, operations and information management practices?
Painfully few, I think.

Perhaps we are setting the bar a bit high for this exemplary design
manager. Are they really a manager at all? It sounds like two or three
different positions would be more realistic.

~ James

== James Melzer =======
http://www.jamesmelzer.com
http://del.icio.us/jamesmelzer
== Sent on my iPhone ====

On Oct 16, 2007, at 12:55 PM, Christopher Fahey <chris.fahey at behaviordesign.com
> wrote:

> Coming back to this thread a little late...
>
> On Oct 10, 2007, at 4:20 PM, Peter Merholz wrote:
>> Chris, I think you've put forth a pretty narrow view of design
>> management.
>>
>>> What's more, I'm not sure that managing a design team requires much
>>> "business-specific" education anyway. It takes a lot of talent and
>>> the ability to do many things other than hands-on design, of course.
>>> But most designers, I think, can learn to manage designers simply by
>>> working with other designers and having the genuine desire to take
>>> responsibility for and take charge of people and projects.
>>
>> This is true only if you're managing down. But I think a successful
>> design manager needs to be able to manage up and out as well. This is
>> where design managers who were once designers fail -- they don't
>> really understand the role their team plays in the bigger
>> organizational picture, and so they can't advocate for the team to be
>> used to make an impact on business planning and strategy. Such design
>> teams become little more than execution shops, carrying out others
>> wishes.
>
> I think I'm defining "design management" more narrowly than you are.
> I'm defining it as a role where all of the manager's direct reports
> are hands-on designers, where the design manager's job is to decide
> what designers do and how they do it. The design manager's job, in my
> mind, involves defining standards and methodologies, hiring/
> recruiting, mentoring, knowledge sharing, assigning the right people
> to the right jobs, and of course actually designing at a strategic
> level.
>
> Whenver a design manager does things that don't have to do with
> helping their designers design better, they are not practicing my
> definition of design management. They are practicing other types of
> management. They may be still managing designers, but it's no longer
> design management. Otherwise we might as well say any CEO who has a
> designer somewhere in their organization is a design manager. It
> doesn't count as design management unless you are making a lot of
> smart design decisions.
>
> You can do both, of course. You can be a design manager and a
> business manager. Peter, you and I are such people. But make no
> mistake, the skill sets and the tasks you perform, the talents you
> need to possess, and the strategic insights you need to generate, are
> quite different in these two areas. I know that I for one come face
> to face with the "jack of all trades master of none" problem when I
> switch gears between meeting company accountants and interviewing an
> IA for a job.
>
> Anyway, I don't see how you can say that a designer who has learned
> to manage designers cannot also learn to "manage up" in an
> organization. Are you putting a lid on what a designer can do? I
> don't see the logic there. One need only look at Hollywood film
> directors to see how a person who is essentially a design manager has
> to plug in to every aspect of their company's, and their industry's,
> business, including "upward", in order to be able to make great
> products and lots of money.
>
>
>> Some of the best design managers I've worked with are those with more
>> traditional managerial backgrounds (MBAs, etc.) who were able to
>> appreciate the contribution that design plays in a business' success.
>
> Respectfully, I find this hard to believe, at least under my narrow
> definition of what a design manager does. I find it hard to believe
> that more than a handful of MBAs on Earth can make design-specific
> leadership decisions. I find it hard to believe that an MBA can
> define a design process, hire great designers, define new design
> research directions, guide design teams in the right directions,
> critique design concepts, etc. (any more than an MFA can structure a
> corporate merger or build an accounting department).
>
> I will guess that behind every person you are thinking of as a "best
> design manager" there is a great design leader who has a traditional
> design background. The Jonathan Ive to Steve Jobs, if you will
> (although Jobs himself is not an MBA, either, of course). The
> business manager does his or her company a great service by realizing
> the importance of such design leaders in their organization,
> championing them and helping them develop -- But it's not your MBA
> "design manager" who shapes the actual design direction of the R&D
> group, the brand development people, etc. It's a *designer*, or a
> design leader, who does that work.
>
> Perhaps you'll say that "leadership" and "management" are different
> things. Okay. Maybe it's a semantic thing. Which begs the question:
> Why have a term called "design management' when design managers don't
> have to do design-specific work? Why not call them "design savvy
> managers"?
>
>
>> If we want our design teams to be more than paper-hat-wearers taking
>> orders from others, and to be listened to by people around the
>> organization, people with "business-specific" educations are going to
>> be some of our greatest colleagues.
>
> I agree with this 100%, at least the last part. I just find it a
> little weird, even a little offensive, to have that role described as
> a "design manager". What you seem to be advocating is that design
> teams are still basically paper-hat wearers, only now their design-
> appreciative MBA bosses get to call themselves "design managers"
> instead of just "managers". MBAs are great and valuable colleagues
> for designers, especially those who understand a lot about design,
> and ultimately they make great corporate leaders... but unless they
> are very talented and have trained themselves in hands-on design
> skills (as some have), they cannot be true design leaders.
>
> Seriously, it sounds like you're saying that design-savvy MBAs are
> better at managing designers than business-savvy designers are. I
> completely disagree with that. Oh boy do I disagree with that.
>
> Along similar lines, David Malouf wrote:
>> The life of any manager should exist as much in MS Project, Excel,
>> and PPT as it does in Visio, Illustrator, Photoshop, and MindMapper.
>> You can't only be focused on design. You need to be aware of the
>> business' effect on your group and strategize for contingencies and
>> evangelize accordingly.
>
> This is a more modest objective than what Peter was saying, and I
> agree with it. A design manager does need to do these things. A
> design leader who decides which design resource does what and when,
> and maps it out in a Gannt chart, is a great example of where design
> leadership requires management skills.
>
> My original point, however, was that aquiring these skills is
> perfectly possible within a designer's normal work purview. You do
> NOT need to go to business school and get an MBA to use MS Project.
> You do NOT need an MBA to learn how to hire designers and how to run
> a design project, how to estimate and track costs for design, or how
> to fit a design process into the rest of the company's various cycles
> of business, marketing, technology etc development. This level of
> design management should rightly be part of every designer's
> vocational development. I agree with this idea completely. I also
> happen to think that this education does not require going back to
> school for an MBA.
>
> But when one is making a Gantt chart for planning the work of non-
> designers, however, one is not doing design management. You're not a
> design manager when you hire a lawyer to go after an overdue
> collection. You're not a design manager when you negotiate the rent
> for your new office. You are managing business.
>
> When Steve Jobs is handed a prototype of a new iPod and tells the
> designer "this sucks", he's doing design management/design
> leadership. I'll concede that. But when he tells his engineering
> group that they need to locate a cheaper chipset factory to knock 7%
> off the iPod's manufacturing costs, he's managing his business. When
> he decides that the stock should split, or that they will buy X
> company's technology instead of licensing it, he is making business
> decisions, not design decisions. In contrast to the previous
> paragraph, I don't expect any designer to acquire these skills during
> their professional design development careers. if they want these
> skills, they will need to go off the design ranch (perhaps even
> getting an MBA). That's totally cool, but it's not design.
>
> And of course a leader of a design team may spend the vast majority
> of their time doing management work, especially if their position
> requires them to manager non-designers as well as designers. I
> certainly do for much of the time -- analyzing accounts receivable,
> reviewing contracts, talking with lawyers, purchasing equipment. But
> when I am doing that work, no matter how good at it I am, I do not
> think I am still in the world of design very much. I am doing things
> that are not at the core of my skillset.
>
> None of this is to imply that designers don't help themselves
> immensely by learning business and strategic management skills (not
> just MS Project, I mean C-level business strategies). But the more
> time you spend doing that stuff, the less design leadership you are
> providing to your team and company. You are heading down a path
> towards transforming your career and your role fundamentally -- and
> there's nothing wrong with that if you think that you are ultimately
> better at management than you are at design. If that's the case, go
> get the MBA.
>
> But the last thing we need is for the very best designers to spend
> 90% of their time in MS Project or Excel every day, or spending all
> year researching retirement and health plans for their staff, or
> playing golf with shareholders. A great design leader doesn't need to
> actually work in Photoshop and Visio all day, either, or be doodling
> in their sketchbook all day -- but they should be using their design
> expertise and talent to help shape design in their organization
> through hiring, researching, education, etc. Design is a craft that
> requires masters who lead other designers. Let's not lose sight of
> that.
>
> Peter seems to be seeing only these two options:
> 1) Designers hang up their sketchbooks: Designers essentially stop
> leading the practice of designers and become business managers who
> deeply understand the value of design in their business.
> 2) Design-savvy management: Business managers learn about design,
> become champions for it, and then manage designers in their
> businesses.
>
> I like this third option:
> 3) Design-powered business: Businesses restructure to permit design
> leaders to maximize their abilities at design and design's impact on
> the company but without requiring the best designers to stop leading
> designers.
>
> Or even this fourth one:
> 4) Design-led business: Businesses are run by designers who have
> business experts to help them with all the business stuff.
>
> Wow, that's a lot of typing. Peter I hope you look over my sometimes-
> strident words with a grain of salt and find some kind of way that
> we're merely talking about semantics, because I suspect that we are.
> We all want businesses to put more value on what design can do for
> them, and we all want designers to be all that they can be.
>
> Cheers,
> -Cf
>
> Christopher Fahey
> ____________________________
> Behavior
> biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com
> me: http://www.graphpaper.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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