Coding Bootcamps Have a Fundamental Problem

One of the aspects of my role at Atomic Object involves hiring new employees. Throughout this process, I’ve come in contact with a lot of graduates from coding bootcamps across the United States. To date, none of these graduates have been a good fit for Atomic. This fact has led me to start formulating a theory: Coding bootcamps might have a fundamental problem. Read more on Coding Bootcamps Have a Fundamental Problem…

“Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable” Software Design

Ever had a refreshing ice-cold Mexican Coca-Cola in that sweet glass bottle? The bottle just looks and feels right. Now close your eyes. Imagine the Shell Oil logo. It became so iconic that the company dropped its name from the displays at their filling stations. What about the fuselage of Air Force One? It pops instantly into mind, right? Anyone who has ever been to Johnson Space Center in Houston will also remember the interiors of Skylab and the Apollo moon mission capsules. All these objects are the work of one man: Raymond Loewy. Read more on “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable” Software Design…

Why and How to Discuss Design with Developers

In Art & Design School, design critique can be brutal. It’s often focused on judging whether or not work is “good” or “bad.” Reviews of work can be scathing, leaving art and design students running from the studio in tears.

Many professors say that critique is part of preparing students for work in a real world where creative directors possess brutal egos focused on crushing their underlings. I’m not sure that world is anything but a delusion. I’m also skeptical that this form of critique does anything but leave students scarred with bad memories, hesitant to throw themselves into collaborative environments.
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When to Call in the Consultants

The decision to contract with a software consulting team is an important one. Bringing in a consulting team like Atomic Object when you don’t need one can be a costly capital mistake. Understanding when to bring that team in and when to let them go is equally important. I’ve recently been using an analogy that I find especially effective in helping potential clients make that call.
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Parallels Between Design and Leadership

When Carl messaged me a couple months ago, I knew something was up. He said he wanted to get together and chat about some important, but good things. I thought he might want to have a face-to-face conversation about me transitioning to a Delivery Lead role. I wasn’t sure what Carl would want to talk about, but becoming a managing partner in Ann Arbor wasn’t what I expected.
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Quenching the Fire of Clients From Hell

Have you ever seen the website Clients from Hell? It’s a collection of crowd-sourced horror stories about client interactions from across the tech industry. I don’t frequent it anymore, but I have found the stories humorous in the past. To be honest, the website could just as easily be called “Self-Entitled Designers from Hell” or “A Master’s Degree in How to Be Inept At Managing Client Expectations.”

While a blog full of tropes in which two parties verbally assault one another isn’t the most helpful thing ever created, I do think it serves to highlight a reality in software product design and development: Sometimes, projects go to hell.
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Kicking off an Experiment in Agile Family Management

I became aware of the idea of taking the “Agile” approach to software development outside of a technical environment and into the family when I heard a talk Bruce Feiler gave at TEDSalon in New York City in 2013. Feiler identified some of the pain I experience as a parent. I feel like I am constantly on the defensive. I struggle to keep up with daily emergent issues. I don’t get to focus a lot of my time or energy on long- to medium-term goals for my family. Lack of communication between family members often leads to both parents and kids feeling out of control. Sharing information is too laborious and time-consuming. Performance of all members isn’t adequately tracked for admonishment or reward.

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Heuristics and Practical Plans for Content Strategy

In my last post on content strategy, I talked about some high-level practices for strategizing around website content. I advocated for aligning content with user goals and being merciless toward your content when you prioritize quality over quantity. Successful content is useful to users and entertaining.

Now I’d like to look at some tactical practices that will help you connect with your users, ensuring that your website content is in line with their goals while helping your stakeholders execute their business model. Read more on Heuristics and Practical Plans for Content Strategy…

The Art and Science of Content Strategy

Most of the projects we take on at Atomic don’t involve a huge amount of content. The great majority of our work has to do with solving complex problems for humans through the intersection of software and hardware. However, I have had the opportunity to work with organizations for whom the path to a successful redesign project has involved wrangling large amounts of content. As a result, I’ve gained practice in the art of content strategy. I’ve seen what success looks like, and learned how to gauge when you’ve arrived. Read more on The Art and Science of Content Strategy…