Design Journal

Our Design Journal is a collection of informational editorials crafted by the minds of our team. We offer a back-stage pass to the product development world by exposing tough challenges, highlighting best practices, and offering strategic advice– all through the lens of our collective experience.

Systems Thinking: Required for Product Managers

The right product manager—with the right mindset—has a unique opportunity to be a shining, unifying light in a company of dedicated specialists. And making the most of that opportunity is what separates the true product visionaries from the paper pushers. Systems Thinking is the key.

Don’t Design in the Dark

Trick question: When you assemble a team for a product development project, who needs to be at the table? If you’ve worked in the product world for any length of time, you immediately recognize this as a charged and complicated question.

10 Must-Reads for Every Product Developer

Let’s be honest. As product developers, we’d rather be in our labs, plugging away at our latest project and actually, you know, creating. But even the most creative brains need to power-down and seek inspiration from other creative brains once in a while. It keeps us fresh…
And who doesn’t love seeing some amazing new design someone else has come up with? If only so that we can say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!?”
But sadly, the time of a product developer, designer, or manager is precious and limited, often with little time to search out spots for fresh ideas. So we’ll help you out!
Here are the top 10 items on our team’s collective online reading list (plus 1 shocking bonus item).

3 Product Development Horror Stories

As a firm, M3 Design has put a stake in the ground for Stakeholder Centered Design. We’ve been in the trenches. We’ve seen products developed overly focused on the end user vs. tuned into all relevant stakeholders. We’ve watched as stakeholder-related missteps made projects blow up. Here are 3 real-life tales of woe with 9 lessons you can take away to avoid disaster.

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.

#NoFilter Insights from CES 2018

CES is a whirlwind. With nearly 4000 exhibits spread throughout Las Vegas, it is humanly impossible to visit and dedicate time to each and every booth. Fortunately, we found the most interesting bits. M3 team members Heather Benoit and Christy Sepulveda break it down for you…

Large & Lean:
A 5-Lesson Refresher Course on Lean Methodology

Why is it that so many companies—particularly large, established companies—consistently struggle to innovate? It’s not for lack of trying. And it’s not for lack of understanding the value of breakthrough innovation and its frequent predecessor, lean methodology. Here’s a quick refresher on how you can apply lean methodology at your company.

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.

Finishing Well, Part 3

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, because it’s the moment upon which your entire product development (PD) program hinges—the fateful, make-or-break finish. “Finishing well” is a mantra at M3 Design, because it means creating a product that succeeds in the market and delivers results to your business. It’s how you win.

Finishing Well, Part 2

The key to successful product design and development isn’t inspired ideas, efficient execution, or thoughtful marketability. It’s some balanced combination of the 3—a balance that can be difficult to strike, and even more challenging to integrate into your process and culture on a consistent basis. In Part 2 of our series on Finishing well, we discuss the next 2 topics: Starting Well and Managing well.