Articles by Gray McCord

User Centered Design Is Dead

User centered design is dead. Yes, I said it. And I meant it. It’s not that I’m anti-user, of course. User centered design is critical to the success of most—if not all—products. Which is why we at M3 obsess over user needs every day. But it’s not all we obsess over. Because the user is just 1 piece in a large and complicated puzzle.

7 Steps to Smarter R&D Strategy:
A Planning Guide

When should you incrementally improve your existing products? And when should you develop replacements?
I have an answer for you—a powerful technique that involves applying some smart design thinking. Get this R&D strategy right, and your path to success should become crystal clear.

Lies, Damn Lies and the Product Development Process

Project plans are an important part of any product development process. Without a plan, it is next to impossible to coordinate the resources necessary to create a successful product. But why are some plans great and others disasters? How do you go about creating a project strategy that your team can execute successfully? Here are 7 tips you can use to create a great project plan…

Stakeholder-Centered Design

User-centered design is absolutely critical to the success of most, if not all, products. But it’s not enough, especially when we consider high-value complex systems, where many different stakeholders must interact with the product successfully. If anyone in the chain has a poor experience, the success of your product is put at risk.

Only one of those stakeholders is the user.

Bold Predictions for the Apple iCar

Over the past few weeks, there have been all sorts of interesting rumors concerning a possible foray into the automobile business by our favorite purveyor of consumer lust, Apple. Being an ex-Ford engineer, I have a basic understanding of what it takes to design, build, sell and service a car line, so my first reaction was total disbelief. Auto manufacturing is hugely capital-intensive, highly regulated, and has low margins compared to Apple’s current business. Why the heck would Apple want to get involved in something like this?

3D Printing the Future

Low cost “desktop” 3D printers seem to be getting lots of “buzz” these days, and rightly so. As described in the M3 Design Journal article “Low-Cost 3D Printers”, the cost, reliability and capability of that class of devices is improving at a rapid clip. But where else might 3D printing, or more accurately, “Additive Manufacturing” be headed, and how might it affect product development in the future? Let’s explore.

Do it right the first time (NOT!)

I don’t think any other six words in the English language have done more damage to product developers than “Do it right the first time”, otherwise known as “DRIFT”.

Generalists vs. Specialists

Back during the last Internet bubble (think drive-by venture capital and sock-puppets), I was part of a team that was developing high-reliability systems for the telecommunications industry. My manager at the time called me into his office for a chat about what he was looking for in his team.

“Gray,” he said, “We are going to change the Telecom world and the only way we can do that is with a team that is absolutely expert in Telecom and only Telecom. I don’t want any generalists. I want people who are an inch wide and a mile deep.

Embrace Complexity

Rube Goldberg mousetraps and aircraft cockpits. The word itself can send shivers down the spines of product developers and users alike. Complexity is a key component of every product development project and product success requires that it be embraced like everything else. It’s just harder to do so.

5 Game-Changing Technologies

One of the cooler things about my job at M3 is that I get to spend time evaluating “what’s next” in technology. Today, I’d like to share five innovations that have the potential to generate some pretty serious disruption over the next decade or so.