I recently helped a friend perform a usability study and got a chance to see how he worked—and how his working affected where the actual finish line was. Inspiring stuff. The magic was not in the tools he and his team were using, but the speed and focus applied to the project.
Most projects resemble a game of Tron. Decisions that you, or your team, made three turns ago create roadblocks for decisions yet to be made. Sometimes budgets are to blame, other times platforms change their TOS, but more often it’s a case of getting caught staring at the finish line and missing the pothole two steps ahead. When you take the time to watch how someone else performs product design & UX (and trust me, this was, a performance) the spectator in you extracts process details and connects dots.
Meanwhile, back in my friend’s office, they are not manhandling an idea towards a subscribed goal. Instead they are letting the goal drive them towards some thing, some idea yet to be flushed out, nailed down and fully defined. The process of Lean, and being nimble, is just as exciting staring in from the outside as it is rolling in the trenches. Pull the curtain back, way back and get a good look.