Megan Leigh McDonald
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'Don't make me think.' Steve Krug

Megan Leigh McDonald

Deluged by Waterfall…

So I feel as if I’ve just landed in my new job and I’m in a large waterfall of information. This is my first exposure to such a large set of cross-functional team members and, frankly, it’s a steep learning curve in terms of the process. I’ve often been in environments that were highly structured with XP, Agile or Scrum. I’ve really enjoyed those in the past and love co-location with my team and the efficiency of communication that those methodologies bring with them.

I’m beginning to see, as I read up on everything non-XP/Agile that basically all other ‘methodologies’ were sort of retroactively lumped together and placed under the label ‘waterfall’. This involves a large amount of information, not unlike the water from the snow caps of Yosemite, rushing downstream at so many ‘knots per minute’ only to be tumbled over and over at junctures called ‘handoffs’ from one support org to another. These ‘handoffs’ truly are like the mad rush of a waterfall as all that information gets dumped from one level to another on its trajectory toward the city water taps.

In some ways, it’s a giddy experience as it strains all my skills and challenges me to be a better designer and a better professional. My understanding and use of data was already strong but continues to grow daily after each meeting I have with my product brothern. My communications skills are also expanding as I review with my cross-functional teams across vast distances from India to London. I’m also honing my speaking skills by giving Design Reviews in front of all the executives of my org. My documentation skills are also becoming more detail oriented, which is an area I’ve needed work on since kindergarten. Yes, I do appreciate Mrs. Montalvo for pointing out that I draw outside the lines, but was the ‘frowny’ face really necessary?

At any rate, my ‘giddy’ experience is enriching and just the kind of challenge I wanted at this point in my career. I am absorbing it all as fast as I can, making mistakes and learning from them.