Sideways move

getstarted

#1

Hi everyone, I have been a Senior PM/ Strategist in the digital industry for many years. I come from the time of the generalist when the PM did the wireframing, IA, specifications, process flows etc… (I have a digital design background)

After a few years overseas I have comeback to a PM position and the only tangible outcome of this experience is that I need to move my career sideways to UX. So having now made this decision I have a million questions, which I am really hoping some of you seasoned UXer’s may help with. I am hoping to start with two :slight_smile:

[B]Folio[/B]
I have enough experience for a folio of work (with obvious gaps especially in the area of testing and user research processes) except that alot of this work would be 2-3 years old now and my most recent experience is in ‘pure’ PM. So the question is, is it worth putting together a folio if its a bit old and shows gaps in what is now considered proper UX practice?

[B]New position[/B]
My current strategy is a sideways move. See if I can slot into a team in a mid-level capacity and develop experience in the processes and techniques there? To experienced UX’ers do yo think that may be a viable pathway? ie would you consider a senior PM with loads of experience a worthy addition to your team?

Hope these questions make sense guys and any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Andrew


#2

Hey Andrew,
Welcome! I think we can help you out.:slight_smile:

1 – Yes! It is definitely worth putting together a portfolio. Regardless of whether it covers all of the aspects of UX, it will be indicative of how you think. If you want some tips, you might find this article helpful, and if you want inspiration, [URL=“http://uxmastery.com/10-inspiring-ux-portfolios/”]this might be useful. Once you’ve put something together, feel free to post here for feedback. We’re currently helping noquarter out with his portfolio [URL=“http://uxmastery.com/a-collaborative-ux-project-the-power-of-community/”]here, and James with his [URL=“http://community.uxmastery.com/forum/careers/5695-portfolio-review”]here.

2 – I’ll defer to the others on this one. I’ll send some eyes this way. :slight_smile:


#3

Welcome Andrew :).

I agree with Hawk about the portfolio. Definitely create one, and then swap out bits with more relevant stuff when you take part in projects. You want to show that you have the soft skills, and how you can work as well, which doesn’t matter how old the work is. If it is old, and you wouldn’t necessarily go about it in the same process, that could be a good thing to add. Say what you would do differently now and why. That shows learning :).

Now in terms of slotting into a UX team, I’d say it depends on whether you are wanting to be a generalist or something more specialised. If you’re going general then I’d say definitely. Fresh eyes, possible new perspective while still having a lot of knowledge around PM, and a can-do attitude who is still willing to learn. Everyone brings a different set of skills to the table.


#4

Thanks Natalie and HAWK.

I’ll start on the portfolio straightaway, and those links are definitely useful. Thanks also for your thoughts Natalie on the sideways move. I am wanting to move into pure UX and specialise, but have obvious demands around feeding a family and paying mortgages etc… so trying to slot into a UX team as you suggest may be the way.

Is this something you think you can talk directly to recruiters or employers about? My thoughts are to be honest…ie present myself directly as someone wanting to move across, who has the skills (especially the software and project lifecycle skills) but needs support in doing this. This is how I will present myself when going for UX jobs. A bit risky as there are plenty with just UX experience but I am not sure there is any other way.

Pardon the indecision, but this is a big career move for me and I want to set-off on the right path initially. Thanks again for your support.


#5

You make a very good point. Personally I think it is best to be open and up front about your capabilities, and also letting them know what you want to get out of the job as well. You don’t want to get into a situation where they think you can do more than you feel comfortable with, or where they feel you have over-sold your capabilities.
The only thing I see is you may have to start at a lower level and work up in terms of level and remuneration.


#6

Welcome James. My experience is that many UX roles have a lot more overlap with Project Management than you may realise.

As Hawk mentioned, we’re happy to help out with shaping your portfolio if that would be useful.

Matt


#7

OK then here goes - this is incomplete but I want a sense check on this.

I have added a few examples. I am attempting to move across so have bits and pieces of the UX process that was part of my role as a PM and Strategist in the past - I have two other projects that I will add but I really want to see if this is on the right path.

Please excuse poor image quality (but there is a larger filesize there) and maybe it needs a good proofread but I got a bit stuck. Any feedback appreciated and of course it would be great if you could not republish elsewhere or share outside the forum (for good or bad reasons) :slight_smile:

Here is a link - there is a low-res and a slightly higher one here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3nlw9i92j0uz22r/AABIsv3dHBTAqRM5XKRtm6jxa?dl=0

Thanks,
aj


#8

Ok so I only had a few minutes to spare and I’ll have a proper look tomorrow at the finer details and give you some useful feedback… but my first impression of it?

WOW. Seriously WOW.

It’s beautiful! And I’m not just saying it’s pretty- It grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. I actually want to read it and look at your images!

Like I said, I’ll sit down with it tomorrow to give it the proper attention it deserves to help you refine it further but I just wanted to let you know what my first impression of it was while it was still fresh!

Well done!


#9

You have NAILED that @Andrew_Lamont

It’s clean, professional, packed full (but not overpacked) with the right kind of information, and still has a personal touch. Nice work.

(I should add that a couple more projects would perfect it.)


#10

Hey Andrew,

As promised, I have pulled together some detailed feedback for you! Overall I think it’s amazing and I had to be pretty nit-picky to find improvement suggestions! But I want to help you make it as awesome as possible and I’ve listed my feedback below organised by page.

Page 1
This is AWESOME!

Page 2
Consider adding a space between the headings and the paragraphs – it feels a bit squashy to me and might benefit from a little breathing space.
At the end of “where I want to go” there’s a full stop missing at the end of the last sentence.

Page 3
Skills - I noticed you have rated your skills on some but not on others. It might just be me but I think it might be worth exploring a way to present that information differently. I think it’s kind of cool when people self assess all their skills including what they’re crap at – to me it shows self awareness. Just a thought.

Page 4
I like how clean this page is but it did take me a moment to realise what the purple boxes relate to (might just be me). The information designer hiding in me would also aim to keep the text orientation consistent- that large text quote is great but I’m finding the alignment a bit distracting and I think it would look cleaner if it were left aligned to match the rest of the text.

Page 5
I like this page

Page 6
Breathing room needed between the headings and the text but otherwise really nice- the formatting is consistent and I like the layout change

Page 7
Nice

Page 8
I like sketches! See breathing room comments

Page 9
See breathing room comments

Page 10
This one is my favourite page- I like the outline around the images! It feels like I’m seeing a snapshot of what happened like through a window. Does that sound weird?
See breathing room comments

Page 11
See breathing room comments

Page 12
This is a very strong way to finish that also shows personality and shows that you’re a nice normal human :slight_smile:

Hope this is helpful! Looking forward to seeing the end product!


#11

Sorry guys - been delayed on the update. Hopefully will finish tonight. Is anyone here going to UX Australia?


#12

I am! I’ll be at the Optimal Workshop booth this year! :slight_smile:


#13

Hey guys - here it is again. I took on board a fair bit of your feedback ASHM. The baseline grid got removed to increase the space between the H2, but the result is OK. I also added skills in a table - not as nice, but much more readable. I also added a couple more projects.

I am not sure whether to preface the folio with this being a small snapshot of relevant work - I have been doing this awhile and have worked on countless projects, but I guess that what the CV is for. Any thoughts on this appreciated :slight_smile:

[URL=“https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3nlw9i92j0uz22r/AABIsv3dHBTAqRM5XKRtm6jxa?dl=0”]https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3nlw9i92j...XKRtm6jxa?dl=0

Cool - I think I will get tickets and come-up to the conference.

Thanks,
Andrew


#14

Great work @Andrew_Lamont !

I like the Paradise Foods example- love seeing non digital UX!

Hey with the Zoo- what on earth is the KJ Method? I know a girl who signs her emails as KJ but other than that I’m a tad lost…

I have a question for you about skills- is there a particular skill that you’re currently developing/learning/training in? Is there something that you’re kinda crap at but you’re working to improve your skills in? Even if it’s just one, I personally think it’s always nice to see what people are working on in terms of professional development and how they self assess what they suck at. To me it shows that the person is self reflective, aware of their limitations and is committed to continuous improvement.

Oh and with skills- do you have any experience in user research and testing stuff? Not just the tools but things like facilitation and talking to humans. I think that stuff is worth including.

Yes- you should go to the conference!


#15

Hey ASHM - yeah I have heaps of gaps. I talk with humans all the time, but in the formal setting and in a ‘UX context’ not so much. Most of my projects don’t have that connection. I was thinking about this earlier - to what weight do you offer something you don’t know in a portfolio?

I want to work in a team to develop these areas and also understand how different techniques and processes contribute towards an end goal. Why one technique is more valuable than another in a particular circumstance.

KJ method is essentially an affinity diagramming technique http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMC_86.htm

May see you up there!


#16

I have three of them on my CV at the moment in my skills table (portfolio is a work in progress…): Information Design, Facilitation and Axure and I use shaded rectangles to show proficiency and those three get one of the five shaded boxes each. If I had to use my words, I’d say ‘beginner’ or ‘developing’- depending on which fitted better with the language used for the skills I’m more advanced in. It’s my way of showing that I’m interested and I’m growing- with facilitation for example, I can facilitate a focus group and run usability testing in my sleep but I’m not at the level where I can run a full day workshop with 30 stakeholders in the room and in my current workplace that’s an important skill for a designer to have.

Thanks for sharing about the KJ method- didn’t know that had a name! :slight_smile:


#17

Final iteration I hope:

Great to meet you at the conference Ash! hope to catch-up again soon.

Cheers,
Andrew


#18

It’s awesome! :slight_smile:
It was lovely to meet you too! I was going through my photos of the post conference party and managed to get one of you wandering around with that abandoned beer that I happily adopted! It was a really nice and somewhat sweet beer- what was it called again?


#19

You sound like a girl after my own heart Ash!


#20

OK only a few months to late but I remember the beer - Little Creatures Bright Ale :slight_smile: