That roller coaster feeling…….

Blog 2. Tue 10 Mar 2020

Making a difference by design…

That roller coaster feeling…….

Know that feeling when you’re in a roller coaster and you can see the big loop coming up ahead of you… that sinking feeling in your stomach… that ‘hang on for the ride’ feeling… Great fun at an adventure park, a bit less so at work.

Want to know the one thing that slows down design projects? The thing that throws out your timeline and with that your budget?

It’s loopbacks.

Loopbacks are the number 1 slowdown of product development.

If I could only give you one tip to help you to design better products faster and more profitable, it would be this: watch the loopbacks!

We all know loopbacks. We start with an idea, think we know the solution (the great cookie recipe), put it together and then find out when it comes out of the oven (production line / test kitchen) that it doesn’t taste how you intended it? You throw away the burnt cookies and have to start again? Recognise the feeling? That ….’ arghhh, no! I thought I’d ticked that off, now I’ve got to do it all again!’ feeling?

Yep, that’s a loopback. And with having to do it all again (now with less enthusiasm) you are unexpectedly spending more time on the project, pushing out the project timeline, taking up more resources, delaying other projects as a result. Often it forces you to reduce scope (you can’t do it all) or you’re adding in risk (taking shortcuts) to still meet the deadlines.

If only you could prevent loopbacks….

What happened? Basically, you learned something a bit late in the process. (If you’d known what temperature to set the oven to, you wouldn’t have burnt the cookies).

How could you have known that earlier? (= Bring the learning forward?) Lots of ways: ask others, run some tests, etc. But it all starts with being conscious that you are doing something new, which means you will have to learn.

I’ve learned the best way to start your project is with a question to the wider team: what is it that we really need to understand for this project to be a success? Work out what the key things to understand are, then start learning. Bring the learning first. It makes all the difference!

Because rollercoasters in an adventure park are great fun, but at work I’d rather be at the end of a project quicker and in good shape. And you get to the end of a roller coaster a lot quicker if you take the loop out!

Onwards & upwards,

ps. Want to learn how to get rid of the loopbacks? I am delivering 1-day training programmes in Nelson and Auckland in the next few weeks. A great way to learn about the basics and the latest thinking in product development. Details here.