On Starting Over by David Sherwin

The rarest gift is the ability to begin again, with clear expectations of where to aim.

Getting anything right the first time is hard, both in art and in business. As you complete any sort of project, it’s inevitable that along the way that you’ll discover what the work needs to be. The final product is rarely what you had intended. And as creators, we are often blind to the flaws woven through our work.

Read More

The Limits of Prototyping by David Sherwin

Prototypes are useful for soliciting early customer feedback and iterating on your product design. You may need a prototype to fully understand an idea and communicate that idea to your stakeholders. Creating prototypes can help you create the right design and ensure that the design is right. Prototyping is a fundamental activity in the design thinking process, and it has even appeared in recent self-help books as a way to experiment with major life decisions.

But I disagree with the notion that “everything can be prototyped, and everything is a prototype.” If we start looking at everything in the world as a bunch of models and treat them as such, we are creating problems downstream for our teams and our products.

Read More

The Monkey in the Tree by David Sherwin

One day, a monkey appeared in the tree outside the front door of my apartment building. He was on one of the upper branches, his body partially obscured by green leaves and pink flower buds. Only about a foot tall, he had dark brown fur and a wide toothful grin. He probably wouldn’t have been able to keep upright if it weren’t for the velcro on his hands and feet.

Read More

What Decisions Did We Make Today? by David Sherwin

Individual decisions end up becoming team decisions. Teams get misaligned when they don’t acknowledge this fact, and find ways to socialize individual decisions to see how they factor into a team’s work output. Often decisions happen within specific disciplines: Engineering decisions happen with engineers, design decisions with designers, and so forth. 

The following ritual encourages cross-silo communication and reinforces open communication habits, and can prove valuable for any team struggling to incorporate individual decisions into their team’s work. 

Read More