Update—November 29, 2017: thanks to you, we sold 77 books on Giving Tuesday—and raised US$385 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation! Thank you very much!
Back in the late 1980s, when I was a student in library school, we debated what the dawning “information superhighway” should be. Some classmates saw it as a huge boon to the global economy. Others argued that “information wants to be free,” and money shouldn’t taint public access to the Internet’s information bounty.
I’ve worked at both ends of the spectrum—as a librarian and as a publisher—and have always taken the middle road: “Information doesn’t want to be free–it just wants to be used.” Although the pendulum has swung back and forth, we’ve managed to find a middle road that works well enough for most of us.
It all may change in the US if the FCC’s proposed changes to Net Neutrality are approved.
Companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T would likely transform their policies from customer-unfriendly to completely hostile to the free and open exchange of information. It could jeopardize your career, your kids’ education, free speech, independent journalism, and just about every aspect of contemporary life.
I’ll leave you with links to learn about Net Neutrality and the FCC’s proposed order from two of our great nation’s most trusted and respected sources: the American Library Association and The Oatmeal. Please read them and spread the word. Thank you.
It’s hard for me to believe that Rosenfeld Media turns 12 today. To celebrate, I thought about ordering brownies from Zingerman’s (my favorite bakery in the world). But hey, it’s more fun to share your birthday with friends.
Here are two sweet ways to celebrate the day from wherever you are…
Enter to win a free library pack. Yup, that’s literally the complete set of Rosenfeld Media ebooks (over 30 books) for your personal or team library. Here’s how:
Tweet your answer to this question: What one book do you wish someone would write for you, right now?
Tag @RosenfeldMedia and add hashtag #Happy12thRM
Tweet it out before midnight PST today, October 31st
We’ll announce the results on hashtag #Happy12thRM
Get 12% off all books in our stores today. Use the Happy12thRM code to stock up on classic design and UX titles, learn how to select the right technologies for your team, or boost your business and leadership skills.
We’re so thankful for your support over the years. And hope our books, trainings, conferences continue to help you grow and succeed.
The upcoming DesignOps Summit isn’t just a conference—we’re looking at it as a way to help define what design operations means. Read all about it (Lou Rosenfeld in Medium). And learn more with this lovely resource list compiled by Melissa McGrath.
If you work in Enterprise UX, would you take our 3-minute user research survey below? We’re gathering an industry look into what pressing topics and trends impact your UX work in the enterprise.
Your Input Will Shape the Next EUX Conference. Literally.
If you check out the programs for past Enterprise UX conferences (here’s 2017’s, 2016’s, and 2015’s), you’ll see that we invest a hell of lot of effort in designing it. Dave Malouf, Uday Gajendar, Lada Gorlenko, and I will use the survey results to tailor the 2018 conference to the topics that you want most.
One out of every ten respondents will be randomly selected to receive a free Rosenfeld Media ebook. To enter, please respond below by September 29.
We’ll share the results in a later post so that you can see what top topics are trending right now. Thanks in advance for helping!
Fill out my online form.
I quit my career as a IA consultant because I got tired. It wore me out to hear clients gripe about their technology. How, say, SharePoint made it impossible for them to improve the customer experience. I felt bad for them. And even worse for their customers. Because once company picks its software, good bloody luck changing it.
That’s why I’m so happy to get our newest book—The Right Way To Select Technology—out into the world. Organizations must stop falling for marketing pitches and buying the wrong technology. And stop wasting time and money. And I can’t think of better authors to tackle this than Tony Byrne and Jarrod Gingras. Their firm, Real Story Group, has been evaluating software for 16 years. They’re renowned for being technology-agnostic and fiercely independent.
If you’re helping to choose technology for your organization, Tony and Jarrod’s book will help you make good choices. You’ll also negotiate better deals and make your users happy. It’s short, witty, and available today here at Rosenfeld Media or via Amazon. I hope you enjoy it!
When you think of project management what pops to mind? Overpacked gantt charts? 500 “urgent” emails flooding your inbox? Brett Harned knows another way to move you towards efficient processes and happy coworkers. He’s put his wisdom into a new book Project Management for Humans. I interviewed Brett to get to know the human behind the book.
Meet the Author
What did your childhood bedroom look like?
I kept it neat and organized. Even my “messes” were tidy. Like this huge stack of CDs I’d reorganize depending on my mood: alpha by artist, by genre, by favorite, or most played. I pinned things to a cork board rather than the walls.
When did you first catch the bug for project management?
Razorfish recruited me for a role as a PM. When they first reached out I didn’t know what that was! I’d been an account director with some project management responsibilities, but it wasn’t a formal role. As they explained what it was to me, I thought, “Oh yeah, that’s totally up my alley.”
What does everyone need to know about project management?
Everyone manages their own work in some way. Some people are good at it. Others? Not so much. If you want to be a good teammate, freelancer, business owner, you have to pick up some skills that will help you move things along and complete projects successfully.
Some folks have told you they’ve never worked with great project managers. Why do you think this is?
In digital, the role is new and undefined. We’ve always dealt with deadlines and budgets, but no one owned them. Now we’re see more PMs on teams, no standards of practice exist yet. This makes it tough for anyone to be truly good at the job. I want to change that! I wrote this book to help us take a step forward to design the role of PM for the digital industry.
Have you ever had a project management fail? What happened? What did you learn?
Where to start? I’ve failed a lot, and learned much each time. Once I managed a website redesign project where the UX team had designed some amazing forward-thinking functionality. It tied to the client’s strategy and took them in the right direction. The client loved it and all appeared well.
Until I showed the wireframes to my developers and they told me the functionality was completely out of scope.
I’d failed to double check with the developers before seeing the client. Now, it fell on me to fix it. I was nervous to deliver the bad news back to the client. So I engaged the help of my team and my I to prepare for the conversation. We walked through possible scenarios. If the client gets upset, what do I do? If he doesn’t like the options I’ll present, then what?
I got the client on the phone and broke the news. I apologized and suggested other options that might work. He was definitely disappointed, but the project ended up doing really well. Most experienced people understand that scope creep happens. The best way to address it is head on—and come with alternate solutions.
What gets in the way of successful project management?
Fear. If you’re too nervous or scared to have a needed conversation, or force an issueyou’ll fail. If you ignore minor issues, they’ll get worse. Be confident in your own problem solving skills and invite your team in to tackle issues as soon as you can.
What’s the biggest benefit of successful project management?
Good project management makes everything else easy. Work happens more smoothly when you you provide a level of organization and transparency. And communicate in a timely with the people on the project. If a PM runs interference on communications to let the team focus on the work, the team ends up feeling happier and being more productive.
If members of my team are hopelessly disorganized and resistant to changing their ways how can I help them?
Remember that not every solution will work for every team member. Be flexible with the way you manage and communicate people. If people are completely resistant, explain to them why organization is important. After they get that, work with them on a solution that makes them comfortable.
What do you recommend folks read from the book to motivate themselves to dig in?
The first chapter in the book covers what project management is, and how it applies to everyone. It’s not just about having a PM on a team; it’s about understanding how project management practices can help you get work done. I also think that the personal stories in the book help to relate very basic, non-work interactions to the principles and practices of PM.
What other profession would you like to try if you could?
Maybe I’d start a small business like a restaurant, or work outdoors. No matter what I did, I’d be able to use my experience as a PM and consultant to help me.
Knowing what you know now, what advice you’d give to your younger self?
Be you. Follow happiness. (Thankfully, I feel as though I’ve done this for the most part)
Lou Rosenfeld tackles the differences between producing books and conferences, and how to make conferences a little deeper—like books! Read on in Medium.
Those who know me well will laugh, but I actually started out as a project manager. It was the late 80’s. I was in grad school when group projects first became the rage. But professors didn’t bother to teach us how to manage the projects they assigned us. So my teammates and I would scramble around like ants without a trail to follow. We’d duplicate each other’s work, fall behind schedule, point fingers at each other. Eventually I’d volunteer for the dreaded responsibility of tracking our projects. Except I wasn’t equipped for the role so things turned from bad to worse. I could’ve used some guidance back then. Like Brett Harned’s project management book, Project Management for Humans–that just came out today!
Maybe like me, you fell by accident into project management. Or you work with project managers and yet, things feel close to coming unglued. Project Management for Humans teaches you how to recoup your time, resources and sanity. It’s a short, practical and enjoyable playbook you’ll want to read and keep handy to help you resolve problems before they mushroom into crises.
Even if you’re a professional project manager, Brett’s project management book can help you too. It goes beyond teaching traditional systems. You’ll learn how to tackle the interpersonal challenges that can often derail a project in unexpected ways.
The timing for our newest book Designing Agentive Technology couldn’t be better. AI has moved from being the “next big thing” to being the thing for designers to grapple with. I’ve even done some research that demonstrates how important AI and machine learning are to UX people.Technology has been getting smarter for years, and many of us have already been integrating AI into designed experiences. Think Siri, Alexa, wearables, automatic pet feeders, self-driving cars.
If you’re venturing into the world of AI this year (or just thinking about it), there are two reasons you should consider picking up a copy:
You can read a free excerpt from Designing Agentive Technology from Designing Agentive Technology in today’s A List Apart. The book—like all of our titles—is available in just about every format you might need: a lovely color paperback, and PDF, MOBI, EPUB, and DAISY digital formats. You can purchase your copy from us directly, or make Jeff Bezos even richer. Let us know what you think of Designing Agentive Technology.
- It’s practical. When it comes to AI, there simply aren’t a lot of books—yet—that provide such practical guidance to designers. Kudos to Chris for making designing agents clear and concrete.
- It’s necessary. Technology always races ahead, forcing us slow-moving humans to catch up with its impacts. Those impacts can be troubling and even destructive. We need to work harder to humanize the technologies we create, and no single group will be more important to those efforts than designers. See this book as preparation for rehumanizing AI.
We’ve cued up our next virtual conference for Tuesday, April 25 and it’s called To Be Designed. If you’ve been wondering how to keep pace with new trends in design, don’t miss this one.
To Be Designed will give you a taste of the “near future” of design—the stuff that’s far out enough to be fascinating, but not so far out that you can’t imagine ever working on it in your career.
What kinds of topics will we cover? Well, like always, we asked YOU. 331 of you responded, and here’s what you suggested:
By popular demand, the presenters will cover aspects of how AI intersects with design, wearables, conversational UI, smart objects, and—perhaps most importantly—the ethics required to navigate the near future.
And you’ll hear from six speakers we know you’re going to love—because you suggested them! We’ll announce them soon! In the meantime, you can register today at the early bird rate and take it on faith that like our previous conferences, we’ll deliver a well curated program for you.
Or wait until March 24, when the speaker lineup goes public––and when the regular ticket rate will apply).
Looking forward to having you join us on April 25!