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How Constraints Cultivate Growth35:11 with Shay Howe
Imagine a playground with no rules. The never-ending dodgeball game would dominate the entire blacktop space, pushing out the jump ropers and Red Rover players. It would never be your turn to go on the swings. And try as you might to remain honest, you'd still catch yourself cheating at Hot Lava Tag. In order for peace and progress to occur, rules are necessary. The same thought can be applied to designing and developing websites. Nowadays, our options are endless and as designers and developers we can build any website or application we wish. What these options don't guarantee, however, is that what we build will be of any quality or solve a real problem. Fortunately, we can rely on constraints to ensure our products are sound. By settling constraints, we force ourselves to be more productive. They help us make decisions, creating focus around the problem we are trying to solve. They improve our consistency, which provides a better experience for our users. And they help us grow, a valuable asset in times of innovation. Within this session, Shay will dive into different constraints and their benefits to building websites. Constraints are good and, when leveraged properly, allow us to truly flourish. It's your turn to go on the swings. Enjoy it.
[APPLAUSE]. 0:00 Thank you. 0:01 Cool. 0:03 Well as Paul mentioned, I'm here to talk a bit about constraints. 0:03 Specifically I wanna share some stories about how constrains have helped me. 0:06 And hopefully give you guys some insights around how you can leverage constrains. 0:09 This one include a bit of problem solving 0:13 and all around becoming better designers, better developers. 0:15 Now I wanna start with this. 0:18 If you could, imagine your childhood playground and, and think about the swings 0:19 and all your friends and, and kinda the chaos that ensued on that playground. 0:24 Now take that same playground, and strip away all of the rules. 0:28 What happens out there? 0:31 For me, like chaos just breaks out. 0:33 Dodge ball, begins to dominate the black-top. 0:35 Anyone that was jumping rope or playing 0:38 Red Rover, is totally thrown in the bushes. 0:40 It's not gonna happen for them. 0:42 I personally would cheat at Freeze Tag. 0:45 You could slap me and I would keep running and laugh at you the entire way. 0:46 Right? 0:50 And it would never be our turn to go on the swings. 0:50 No matter how hard we actually tried, we would 0:52 never be allowed to step foot on the swings. 0:55 And without these rules, there is no telling what will happen out there. 0:57 Now, I have to believe our industry is very similar to that. 1:01 Right? 1:03 Design and development isn't all that much different. 1:04 We can design and build anything we want. 1:06 We often do. 1:08 It's one of the most beautiful parts of what we have, as an industry. 1:09 We are problem solvers at heart. 1:13 But with very few limits and very few rules, how's that work out? 1:15 The possibilities are endless. 1:19 Those constraints are near invisible. 1:21 Is that necessarily a good thing? 1:23 Does that ensure that our lives will be 1:25 easier, and that we're going to be more successful? 1:26 I'm not so sure about that. 1:29 All right. 1:30 Without constraints, how do we do some of these simplest things in life? 1:30 How do we come to conclusions? 1:34 Or improve consistency? 1:35 How do we know that we're going to deliver that amazing user experience? 1:36 Perhaps more importantly, how do we know where to spend out time? 1:39 And where to say no? 1:42 Now watch that playground without rules, 1:44 we have trouble without constraints, this is 1:46 what I wanna take a look at today and dive a little deeper into. 1:48 I wanna begin with decision making, I 1:52 believe constraints help us make better decision. 1:53 They allow us to self adjust, self edit, they help put us back 1:55 on track when we start to lose sight of what we're working on. 1:58 If we could do anything, how do we know where to begin? 2:01 Or simply how to begin at all? 2:04 And how do we make those good decisions? 2:06 Now I, I, grew up in Ohio, is anyone from Ohio, out of curiosity? 2:08 No one? 2:12 That hurts. 2:13 well, Ohio does this weird thing, where in 2:15 first grade, they give everyone a walnut tree. 2:17 And I had no idea why they give us a walnut tree. 2:20 I, I guess that person didn't even really care at the time. 2:22 I just ran around school bragging to my friends that I 2:26 was gonna have the biggest, baddest walnut tree, anyone had ever seen. 2:28 And I was telling them that we'd be 2:31 climbing on my walnut tree, before anyone else's. 2:32 And I kinda understood the basics. 2:35 I knew water and sunshine, that helps trees grow. 2:37 But I wanted to dig a little deeper. 2:40 So I went over to the Teddy Bear Park and I found a park ranger. 2:42 I said, excuse me, Mr. Tree Cop. 2:45 It was already off to a bad note. 2:47 You can't call a park ranger a tree cop. 2:49 That doesn't work out very well. 2:50 But I asked him. 2:52 I said, hey, I want my trees to look like yours. 2:52 He's like, okay, well, it's fairly simple, right? 2:55 He's like, you have to prune your tree, early and often. 2:58 He's like, get rid of those low hanging branches, and those dead leaves. 3:01 He's like, you want the water and nutrients to 3:05 move up the tree, to the top of it. 3:06 He's like, don't let that tree, waste resources on 3:09 growth, that doesn't ultimately serve any purpose for the tree. 3:11 I followed that rule. 3:15 I kept care of the tree, I pruned it, removed those branches and 3:16 noticeably, my tree did grow taller, stronger, faster than all of my friends. 3:19 Right, that constraint of fewer resources actually helped the tree out. 3:23 Now Microsoft had a bit of the same constraint approach back in the 90's. 3:27 Think about the Windows air. 3:31 This is Windows 3, NT, 95, 98. 3:32 This is a true time of innovation for Microsoft. 3:34 This is also the time, when they invented Internet Explorer. 3:37 Great time for discovery for them. 3:40 And they created these constraints. 3:41 They would go out and hire three people, 3:44 for a project they knew would require five. 3:46 Now why would they do that? 3:48 They didn't do it because they didn't have the money to do it, or 3:50 that they couldn't find the people, or 3:52 just physically didn't have the desk for it. 3:53 They did it because they wanted to create 3:55 constraints that they knew self-motivated people would love. 3:57 These weren't people that were going to come into work 4:00 and punch in from nine to five and ride the desk. 4:02 Right? 4:05 These were people who were actually showing up, and they were there to 4:06 trade that extra work for autonomy and ownership around what they were doing. 4:08 These people were there to grow the business, not simply run it. 4:11 They were there to push it in new directions. 4:14 And with constraints, those people were forced to be 4:17 more creative and more productive, around what they were doing. 4:19 Now, given fewer resources, we have to make better decisions. 4:23 Excess resources can add to that cost of completing the task. 4:26 Right? 4:30 They're not always beneficial to the result. 4:30 I happen to believe Notorious BIG said 4:32 it very well, right, more money more problems. 4:34 Right? 4:38 With more people, we may have more problems. 4:38 If we have more options, we have more decisions to make. 4:40 And with more resources, we have more struggles in front of us. 4:43 We have to focus one, excuse me, we have to focus, on what will 4:46 have the largest impact, with the least 4:49 amount of effort around what we're building. 4:51 Now design is difficult for me. 4:54 Right? 4:55 Especially with new projects. 4:55 These blank canvases, empty code bases, they scare me to death. 4:57 Right. 5:00 I physically lose sleep, over thinking about this stuff. 5:00 We have all the options in the world here. 5:03 There's absolutely no guidance around some of this stuff. 5:05 I have to give myself boundaries, to decide how to 5:08 get started, and where to go once I do get moving. 5:10 Now, one of the very first things I did for 5:13 Bellay, was l created a blog for the tech team. 5:15 And I had this blank canvas and I was lost, I was stuck on it. 5:17 So the very first thing inside of this is that all right, I'll give myself a grid. 5:21 I used a vertical and baseline grid inside of this. 5:24 Now you don't have to necessarily use both of these types of grids. 5:26 But these are the type of constraints I wanted to give myself. 5:29 Know I took a look at the colors we had. 5:32 Generally speaking, we use blue and white, and we use 5:33 a bit of green and orange, yellow here as accent colors. 5:35 But I really started thinking about the types of pages we wanted to have in here. 5:39 What type of the navigation, information, architecture we're going to have? 5:41 Right? 5:44 Things for our open source projects and the team and such. 5:45 And I took a closer look at our typography. 5:48 Generally speaking, we use Open Sans. 5:50 Once we had the typeface identified, we settled on using the 5:52 [UNKNOWN] typographic scale, so we knew which font sizes to use. 5:55 And once we knew the font sizes we're gonna use, then we 5:59 could depict which font weights we're gonna use at different font sizes. 6:01 We can slowly work our way through this. 6:05 And we can embellish that design then, with details outside of it. 6:07 That's a very clean design with very limited resources, right? 6:10 I didn't have to waste time on frivolous decisions. 6:13 I simply let some of those decisions, come to me and work within these constraints. 6:16 Now, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, said it really well, right? 6:20 Constraints shape and focus problems and 6:23 provide clear challenges for us to overcome. 6:26 Adding constraints narrowed my options. 6:28 All the while, opening my eye to that design. 6:30 And I could look at that design and examine it more precisely, right. 6:32 I can make decisions quicker and easier, around what I was doing. 6:36 I could focus on the important aspects of that problem. 6:39 I could focus on getting started and getting moving. 6:42 Constraints led to those best solutions. 6:45 With more resources we have more options to consider. 6:48 So let's take a look at removing those unproductive resources. 6:51 Let's give ourselves, an initial set of constraints early on. 6:54 And we can grow that set of constraints, as necessary over time. 6:57 If I wanted to add another color or another font size to 7:01 that website for [INAUDIBLE] Tech Blog, I could have easily done that. 7:03 But I at least started the conversation with that set of constraints. 7:06 Right? 7:10 Let's make better decisions, through thoughtful reduction. 7:10 Avoid that idea of choice paralysis and use fewer resources in sight of this. 7:13 Now, additionally constraints will help us improve, our consistency and our cadence. 7:18 They foster really good design and really good habits. 7:22 They provide that value to our users and 7:25 they help us deliver an amazing user experience. 7:27 Now basketball started as this indoor winter sport and specifically they would 7:30 take peach baskets and drill them to each wall of a room. 7:34 And over time that peach basket would start 7:37 to fall apart, become brittle and start to deteriorate. 7:39 And finally someone came up with the idea and said 7:43 hey, let's use a metal, hoop, with a closed rope net. 7:45 And all that worked fine, but every time a field 7:49 goal was made, they had to physically retrieve the ball out. 7:51 So they had to get a ladder, or take a broomstick, and pop that ball out. 7:53 It took a decade, seriously a decade, for someone to realize, 7:57 hey, we should probably just cut a hole in the net. 8:00 Right? 8:02 That's insane to me. 8:03 Now this helps slightly, right? 8:05 The experience of the game, picked up a little bit. 8:06 But players still moved up and down the court fairly slow. 8:08 And the sport was losing a bit of traction. 8:11 So much, in fact, that in November of 1950, the Fort Wayne Pistons played 8:14 the Minneapolis Lakers and the score of a 48 minute game was 19 to 18. 8:17 That's not all that exciting. 8:21 Right? 8:23 The sport was losing traction. 8:24 It was starting to fade out. 8:25 So much in fact, that in November, excuse me, 8:27 in 1953, NBC decided not to air the NBA Championship. 8:30 They simply knew there wasn't enough interest 8:34 in the sport to gain traction on air. 8:36 Then stepped in Danny Biasone. 8:39 And Danny was the owner of the Syracuse Nationals. 8:40 He had a lot of time and money and energy and wrapped up in this sport. 8:42 He needed it to succeed. 8:46 And Danny started operating under the impression that people loved offense. 8:47 If teams could score more points, more people would show up to the games. 8:50 And Danny thought, well, it'd be idealistic 8:54 if each team could score roughly 80 points. 8:56 Now based off the average field goal percentages, that means 8:59 that each team needs to take 60 shots per game. 9:01 And Danny started to do the math. 9:04 He said okay, there's two teams and they each need to take 60 shots. 9:05 So that'd be 120 shots per game. 9:08 Now a game of basketball is 48 minutes long. 9:10 So that's 2,880 seconds. 9:12 So he started to do division. 9:14 2880 seconds divided by 120 shots, means that there 9:16 needs to be a shot taken every 24 seconds. 9:20 Danny invented the shot clock. 9:23 So he invited league officials in to watch his team scrimmage 9:24 and practice while using clocks at each end of the court. 9:27 And the team stepped it up. 9:29 Right? 9:31 They're getting up and down the court much faster. 9:31 They're scoring more points. 9:33 Everyone started to fall in love. 9:35 The players loved it. 9:36 The officials, the league, and the fans. 9:37 They all loved it. 9:40 Now that year after NBC decided not to air the 9:41 NBA championship, the NBA added the shot clock in 1954. 9:43 That year alone, teams scored 30 plus points more per game. 9:46 And attendance grew, by over 40%. 9:50 Danny then found himself in the basketball hall of fame. 9:54 Now regulation improved that experience in basketball. 9:57 Not only for players, but for spectators alike. 9:59 The rules made that sport better, right. 10:03 Those constraints actually helped improve the experience of that game. 10:05 We can learn from that. 10:09 And take that stuff and translate it to what we're doing online. 10:10 You can help us simplify and create consistency. 10:13 Now, for example, I was on All States 10:16 Web site the other day, renewing my car insurance. 10:17 And I recently moved and I though, you know I should double 10:20 check, what I'm actually paying, my premium rate, for what I have. 10:22 And I encountered this form. 10:26 It's a pretty good looking form, decent tool tip, it makes complete sense for us. 10:27 But as I was browsing the web site, I came across another form. 10:31 It's a very similar form, yet also completely different. 10:35 Right? 10:39 They've increased, or excuse me, they've inversed the gradient, on the button. 10:39 The border colors have changed, the text colors have changed, the input, the label. 10:43 Things were all kinda slightly different and as 10:46 a designer, it just didn't feel right to me. 10:48 It sat weird with me. 10:49 I thought, well perhaps, they use that same tool tip. 10:51 Perhaps that remain the same. 10:54 No, the design of that had also changed. 10:56 And as I'm browsing around the site, I come across, another forum. 10:59 Now this is that same start up quote now forum. 11:02 I couldn't quite figure out what was happening here. 11:05 Again, the borders had changed, the label placement, font 11:07 size button, all that stuff had slowly started to change. 11:10 Now the one thing that did remain consistent 11:14 here, was that icon for the tool tip. 11:15 And I thought, okay, that design of the tool tip has to be the same, kind of. 11:17 Right? 11:22 The size of it's a little bit different. 11:23 The position is a little random. 11:24 I couldn't quite what was figuring out, what was happening here. 11:26 So using my best logic, I decided to buy a new car. 11:29 I went over to Autotrader. 11:32 I don't have the best logic at times. 11:33 But I immediately noticed a handful of 11:35 inconsistencies here as well, specifically around the buttons. 11:37 There are green ones, white ones, red ones, blue ones. 11:40 Some of those buttons have arrows. 11:43 Some of those arrows are in circles. 11:44 Some aren't. 11:45 Not exactly sure what was happening here. 11:46 And overall, it just felt like a sign of a few loose iterations. 11:48 Perhaps different teams are working on different parts of this website? 11:51 And they were all working in different 11:54 directions and they're starting to slide off track. 11:56 And I have to believe if they're not careful, it slowly turns into this. 11:58 [LAUGH]. 12:01 >> Right? 12:02 This hurts. 12:03 There's really no point of return, coming back from this. 12:04 You're not gonna iterate your way out of this. 12:06 This happens with design, but this also happens with development. 12:09 I have to believe the code base 12:11 behind this, isn't all that beautiful looking either. 12:13 Right? 12:16 And consistency and standards, they're a problem. 12:16 They're a problem for everyone. 12:18 Now I, I don't mean to pick on Allstate, and Autotrader, and Ling's, right. 12:20 I face these problems every day. 12:24 Bellay has these problems. 12:26 Almost every product I've worked on, has a problem with consistency and standards. 12:27 We can use a bit of help. 12:32 We could use some constraints and regulation to help ourselves out here. 12:33 This is where I enter a style guide, right? 12:37 Style guide offers that constraint, for a better user experience. 12:38 Now if you're not familiar with the style guide, that would 12:41 be a document that helps outline the style of a website. 12:43 Perhaps you've heard it referred to as, a visual library or pattern library. 12:47 Right? 12:51 But helps increase and improve the 12:51 consistency and maintainability around what we're building. 12:52 Now one of the most popular ones that ever 12:55 came out, is the Global Experience Language by the BBC. 12:56 And it sets constraints for anything that they're gonna set out and build. 12:59 And it really documents everything they're going to need, right? 13:03 Different visual abstractions, design patterns. 13:06 Even the development restrictions that they need to 13:09 work with in their team should unify too, right? 13:11 And they take all these practices, and they 13:13 really, they unify on side of them, right? 13:15 They let a cohesive, more enjoyable design emerge outside of this, 13:17 and it provides that better user experience, for what they're doing. 13:21 And the idea caught on, right. 13:24 Style guides are becoming quite popular. 13:26 They're used by quite a few companies these days. 13:28 Google has one, Firefox, Starbucks, Salesforce, 13:30 Yelp, even today at Bellay we've 13:33 encouraged and started using a style guide around what we're actually doing. 13:35 Now these best designs come from simple and organized strategies. 13:40 Let's set and follow rules and do so consistently. 13:44 It's very easy to take short cuts and work around things, 13:47 but that always comes back to bite us in the end. 13:49 Let's slow down, and resist that urge to give in. 13:52 Right? 13:54 We can create a style guide, or pattern library, to help us out with this. 13:54 Then, we can use those regulations, to improve our experiences online. 13:57 [SOUND] Now constraints also come with this unexpected perk. 14:01 They allow us to think in this all-encompassing 14:05 fashion, and use challenges to increase our productivity. 14:07 [SOUND] Does anyone have any idea who this man is? 14:09 MacGyver, right? 14:13 This is the king of constraints. 14:14 We're talking about a guy, who can go in and defuse bombs with paper clips. 14:16 He builds lie detectors out of 14:20 blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and alarm clocks. 14:22 I saw him turn a coffin into a jet ski, in one episode. 14:25 I don't even know where he got a motor. 14:29 Doesn't make sense to me. 14:32 The man does it. 14:33 Specifically in one episode, MacGyver's stuck in this enemy compound. 14:34 And he has an injured man with him and a 14:37 woman that are stuck with him and they're kinda trapped. 14:39 The road's blocked, they can't really get out, 14:42 and the enemies are starting to encrode on them. 14:44 They're loosing traction, they have to get out of their quickly. 14:46 Exactly how does he pull this off? 14:49 Let's take a look. 14:51 >> Place of my own jeep [SOUND] give or take an inch. 14:56 This jeep looked the same as mine. 15:01 And the tracks outside were a close match. 15:03 None of that mattered of course, if I couldn't get the engine running. 15:06 All right, hold on. 15:11 Let's take a look at this for a second. 15:12 The roads blocked, so MacGuyver is stuck, he can't get out. 15:13 So he finds a jeep, and he finds a railroad track. 15:16 And using his logic, he realizes oh, the wheel 15:19 base of the jeep matches that of the railroad track. 15:21 I don't think I would have gotten there 15:23 myself, but that logic doesn't necessarily click for me. 15:25 But I get it. 15:28 I can see how that makes sense. 15:29 But the Jeep doesn't run, right? 15:30 Exactly how does this work. 15:33 How does he get this Jeep to run? 15:36 [MUSIC]. 15:37 >> Well, getting the engine going didn't seem to be a problem. 15:39 [MUSIC] 15:42 But keeping it going just might be 15:49 [MUSIC] 15:51 Radiator's bone dry. 15:53 And my guess was, a few bullet holes had something to do with that. 15:56 [SOUND]. 16:04 >> What? 16:16 Okay. 16:17 He can hot wire the Jeep. 16:17 That works, I get it. 16:20 But the jeep has bullet holes in the radiator. 16:22 Right. 16:25 Now, keep in mind that there's still an 16:25 injured man with him, And the enemies are really 16:26 starting to close in on, excuse me, close in on him, at this point, in the episode. 16:28 And time is absolutely of the essence. 16:33 He has to get out of there, and he has to get out of there fast. 16:35 Has anyone seen this episode, by chance? 16:38 You guys are all way to young for MacGyver. 16:40 Okay. 16:44 He pulls it off. 16:44 Let's check it out. 16:46 >> There are times you can't do a job all by yourself. 16:47 What I needed, was a little help from the locals. 16:51 Local chickens that is. 16:54 [MUSIC] 16:56 [SOUND] Egg whites are good for a lot of things. 16:58 Lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and plugging up radiators. 17:03 The idea is, the boiling water in the radiator will cook the eggs. 17:09 And they'll temporarily clog the holes. 17:13 That is, if the holes aren't too big. 17:15 [SOUND]. 17:16 >> That's incredible, right? 17:26 Despite all the constraints set in front of MacGyver, he simply stays focused. 17:26 He tries to solve one problem at a given time. 17:33 The road's blocked, so he find a jeep and some railroad tracks to get out on. 17:36 There's no keys, the jeep doesn't run. 17:39 Not a problem. 17:41 He can hot wire it. 17:42 The bullet, are [INAUDIBLE], there bullet holes in the radiator. 17:44 Well, obviously MacGuyver's gonna heat up some water 17:47 and put some egg whites in those, right? 17:49 [LAUGH]. 17:51 That's kinda insane. 17:51 He blocks out what isn't immediately important at the given time. 17:52 All right. 17:55 Yes, there's an interman, but simply enough, he can't help 17:56 that interman unless they can get out of there first. 17:58 Right? 18:00 If that doesn't happen, then they're both in trouble. 18:01 He simply gets to work. 18:03 He stays focused on what he's doing. 18:04 Now this was confirmed as 100% possible, by Myth Busters. 18:06 Right? 18:10 You can't actually plug radiator holes with egg whites. 18:11 You'll get out in enemy compound. 18:14 You will not be able to go on a road trip, though. 18:15 So, it's a short-term objective there. 18:17 But we have to get rid of those distractions. 18:20 We have to focus. 18:22 We have to never lose sight of the problem we're working on, and 18:24 the purpose of that problem, exactly who that problem is being solved for. 18:26 And we can use those constraints, so they work more effectively. 18:31 For myself, I give myself a to do list, almost daily, right? 18:34 I track what to do and when to do it. 18:38 And I really try and create this 18:40 prioritized game plan, around what I'm doing. 18:41 It helps me organize my mind, and I could take that free mental energy, and then 18:43 focus my attention on completing those tasks that I have laid out in front of me. 18:47 And I start to build momentum around crossing 18:50 off these tasks and growing inside of them. 18:53 Now to help with this, I follow a Pomodoro technique, a technique in 18:56 which I identify a task and I work on it for 25 minutes. 18:59 And once that does is done in that 25 minutes, I take a five minute break. 19:02 And I do this in cycles. 19:06 So I'll grab a task, work on it for 25 minutes, take a five minute break. 19:07 Grab a task, work on it for 25 minutes, take a five minute break. 19:10 And every four pomodori, so to speak, you take a longer break, perhaps a half hour. 19:13 And you work in these intervals and create flow around it. 19:18 Much like circuit training. 19:21 You're constrained to completing that given task, in a given amount of time. 19:22 It really helps you boost your focus 19:26 and your rhythm, around what you're getting done. 19:27 We have to ignore those shiny objects and distractions. 19:31 Right, focus on what's important, that purpose. 19:33 Get back to those basics and create a game plan that helps you out. 19:36 If a task seems too large, break it down into smaller tasks to work around. 19:40 Write those tasks down. 19:44 Build flow around completing them and knocking them off your list. 19:45 And then take time to actually reward yourself. 19:49 Take a few breaks. 19:51 Perhaps that's getting up, getting a cup of 19:52 coffee or checking Twitter, whatever it may be. 19:53 Right? 19:56 Reward yourself for that. 19:56 Improve your productivity, by removing those distractions. 19:57 Now constraints also help us bond together. 20:01 They increase our capabilities as a team. 20:04 They allows to really share our strengths across that team. 20:06 And we can accomplish more as a team than we simply could alone. 20:08 Additional perk to that, is that it also 20:12 helps us build leadership amongst the team as well. 20:13 Now, Canadian geese are kind of amazing. 20:16 They fly, over 900 Miles twice a year, up and down North America. 20:18 >> Woo! 20:22 >> Yeah! 20:23 [LAUGH] Is that Darcy? 20:23 >> It is! 20:25 >> [LAUGH] It is. 20:25 But there's a lot of constraints for these geese, right? 20:28 They face weather, fatigue, hunters, literally people trying 20:31 to pull them out of the sky, right? 20:34 But they bond together and they fly in this V formation. 20:36 And as they do this, birds in the back fly slightly above birds in the front of them. 20:39 They do this for a handful of reasons. 20:44 First of all, it helps reduce the drag of what they're doing. 20:46 But it also allows them, to improve their visibility. 20:48 And then when they do that, ithey keep track of one another. 20:50 It helps them with the accountability of all the birds in the flock. 20:53 And on top of this, it also increases their communication. 20:55 Right. 20:59 Those birds in the back honk at the birds in the front, for encouragement. 20:59 And as those birds in the front get tired, they slide out and move to the back. 21:03 They rotate leadership, around. 21:07 Now if a bird happens to get hurt or 21:09 injured, or has to go down for any reason, two 21:11 other birds will fly down with it, and stay 21:13 with it until that bird's ready to rejoin the flock. 21:15 Of which they can fly back up together, in that V formation. 21:18 And science have really studied this. 21:21 They're trying to get to the bottom [LAUGH] of why these birds are doing it. 21:23 What's they've come to find, is that these birds are actually 21:25 70% more efficient by sticking together and flying in this V formation. 21:28 As such, the birds are able to fly for over 16 hours straight. 21:32 That's incredible. 21:36 Now fish do a lot of the same patterns of behavior here. 21:37 Right? 21:40 They swim in schools. 21:40 They believe in that idea, of safety in numbers. 21:41 So them, it's easier to swim. 21:44 Swimming in the school preserves their draft and their energy, right? 21:46 They use less oxygen around this. 21:50 But they also appear larger. 21:52 They discourage predators around that. 21:53 It's easier for them to find food as they have more eyes looking up 21:55 for food, and as a group, they can tackle larger food objects to actually eat. 21:58 Now much like the geese, fish also share their leadership. 22:02 They, they use this consensus decision making, where 22:05 they allow the most experienced fish to lead. 22:07 And as they're swimming, if they approach that's something that's danger, or 22:10 an obstruction, they can pivot in smooth, and work the other way. 22:13 And as they do that, another leader from the opposite 22:16 side of the school, will then take leadership amongst the fish. 22:18 And if you've ever seen a gr, a school of fish, swim, it's kinda beautiful 22:21 to watch them sorta bounce around the water, 22:25 and pivot, and work their way through it. 22:26 And they're really agile around this. 22:28 They're much more efficient by sticking together and staying 22:30 in that school rather than swimming alone and getting trapped. 22:32 Now, both geese and fish, they self select their leaders. 22:36 They share that common sense of direction and common sense of community. 22:39 We could learn from this. 22:43 We could need to excuse me, we can take 22:44 this time and self organize much like they do. 22:46 He let the most qualified group of people lead and help make decisions. 22:48 If we do that, we can place clarity around our roles. 22:52 And what type of responsibilities we can share amongst the team. 22:55 We can do this by also giving ourselves, a set of constraints. 22:58 Now, my friend Michael Doc Norton, introduced me 23:01 to the idea, that he calls collaboration contract. 23:04 And simply enough it is a way to basically set a constraint to 23:07 get the right people to make a decision and help lead a team. 23:10 And it works a bit like this, essentially enough you 23:13 set, the context of a decision that has to be made. 23:15 Then everyone on the team selects their 23:18 desired role in helping make this decision. 23:20 And these roles are predefined. 23:22 And I'll explain that in a second. 23:23 And often times though there are going to be conflicts 23:25 inside of the roles that people want to be involved in. 23:27 But if we follow this to a T, it 23:30 helps us establish those leaders, and work towards that decision. 23:31 These are some of the roles involved. 23:35 There are seven of them explicitly. 23:37 The first one being Inform. 23:39 Inform is essentially saying, I'm going to make this decision alone, 23:40 and I'm going to inform the team of what that decision is. 23:43 The second one is explained. 23:46 And that's essentially saying, I'm going to make this decision. 23:47 But I will explain it to the team, as to why I made this decision. 23:50 Third is consult. 23:54 Consult is saying, look, I'm going to make this decision 23:55 alone, but I'll consult with the team before making it. 23:57 I'll hear your input, and your feedback. 23:59 But I'm still gonna make it alone. 24:01 Now those first three roles, are sole decision makers. 24:03 Those people are gonna make the decisions alone and carry them 24:06 out across the team, with or without, any help from the team. 24:08 Then there comes Collaborate. 24:11 And Collaborate is saying, look, I have to be in agreement with this decision. 24:12 I'm willing to work with others in making this 24:16 decision, but I have to be in agreement with it. 24:18 Then there's Advise. 24:21 Advise is saying, look. 24:22 I don't have to make this decision, but I really wanna 24:23 be heard and have some input, into what the decision is. 24:25 Then there is inquire. 24:29 Inquire is saying look, I don't really 24:29 have much feedback or input into this decision 24:31 but when you make it, go ahead and let me know what that decision is. 24:33 I'd love to hear it. 24:36 And abstain, is the end of it. 24:37 Essentially saying, look I don't have any input what this, what this decision is. 24:38 Don't necessarily really think it revolves around me. 24:42 Go ahead make it, don't bother in telling me. 24:44 Now conflicts will occur in here, right? 24:47 You may have someone who comes in and 24:49 say hey, I'm going to consult in this decision. 24:50 Essentially, I'm going to make it, but I'll hear you guys out in making it. 24:52 And we have another person on the team that's saying well, I'm going to 24:55 collaborate on this decision, meaning I have to be in agreement with the decision. 24:58 Right? 25:02 Those two people can butt heads a little bit. 25:02 If this is the case, everyone has to take a step down. 25:04 Consult needs to move into a collaborate role and work with a team. 25:07 And that person who was a collaborate, has to step 25:10 down and actually advise the person in the collaborate role. 25:12 And they have to work together, to make that decision. 25:15 And then you may have to opposite of that happen to you. 25:17 You may have someone, that is sitting in that consult 25:19 role, and everyone else is within that inquire and abstain role. 25:21 Essentially, they're saying, look, we don't have a lot of 25:24 input to the decision, like go ahead and make it. 25:26 But that consult person's like look, I actually need some input in making it. 25:28 At that point, consult has to step up to explain. 25:32 They're going to have to make that decision alone, and 25:35 then explain to the team, as to why they made it. 25:37 Now often times, we'll come across a situation 25:40 where everyone, falls in to that collaborate role. 25:42 Everyone wants to have some input on that 25:44 decision, and be part of the decision-making process. 25:46 When this happens, people have to step down. 25:49 Some people are gonna have to step down into Advise or Inquire. 25:50 If that seems like too difficult of a thing 25:53 to do, chances are the decision that's out there 25:55 to try and be made, needs to be broken 25:57 down into one or two or more decisions, right? 25:59 It's probably too large for the team to actually swallow at one given time. 26:01 Now once all these conflicts are resolved, you have to form 26:05 a committee around those people and go out and make the decision. 26:07 If everyone has to honor the role that they were defined inside 26:10 of that, and then abide by the decision that came out of it. 26:13 Now collaboration contracts have worked really well. 26:17 When I worked at Groupon we used them 26:19 across an engineering organization of 600 of us. 26:20 Right? 26:23 At Bellay, we used them across a group of 20 of us. 26:24 Right? 26:26 Large and small, it works equally as well, for both of us. 26:27 it provides a way for these teams to self select their leaders. 26:30 We put clarity around our different levels of 26:33 engagement by selecting which role we wanna have. 26:35 And it puts the responsibility on the team of that decision making process. 26:37 We own that decision, we can't complain to management, about our decision they gave 26:41 us and we can't bark about the different types of constrains involved in that. 26:45 We came to those ourselves and we 26:48 holistically self-organize, inside of making those decisions. 26:50 Now, teams that share a common direction and sense 26:54 of community, they get where they're going quicker and easier. 26:56 So, we have to take turns doing those hard jobs. 26:59 Step up and lead when and where necessary. 27:01 Stand beside each other around this stuff. 27:03 We can work together, by self-organizing, inside of it. 27:06 Now lastly, constraints help us surface our best work, right? 27:09 As designers and developers, we understand the power of limits. 27:13 Constraints offer us that opportunity for growth and innovation. 27:16 Now as I mentioned, I, I grew up in Ohio. 27:20 And the winters there, are pretty horrible. 27:22 Specifically one winter, it would rain, and then freeze at night, and 27:24 rain the next day, and freeze at night, the next day again. 27:27 And over a while a few inches of ice build up on some of 27:30 the trees and they started to fall over, taking down power lines with it. 27:33 Now fortunately my walnut tree made it. 27:37 It did not get taken down in the storm, but it was kind of a problem. 27:40 Once the weather finally subsided my father set 27:44 up and started cutting down some of these trees. 27:46 And as he's cutting down one of the trees, a piece of bark 27:48 flew off the blade of his chainsaw and got stuck in his eye. 27:50 It wasn't good. 27:53 My mother took him to the emergency room. 27:55 They were to remove the piece of bark, and everything was fine. 27:56 He was laid up on the couch for a few days. 27:59 But, what was specifically interesting to me, was his recovery process. 28:01 For recovery doctor's restrained his good eye. 28:05 They put an eye patch on his good eye. 28:08 Right? 28:10 The idea was, that by constraining his good eye, it 28:10 would force his bad eye to work twice as hard. 28:13 Right? 28:15 He, they would never allow his good eye to overcompensate for his bad eye. 28:15 It's known as constraint induced therapy. 28:19 It was meant to push my father out of 28:21 his comfort zone, and really make sure that he was 28:23 never left with a good eye or a bad 28:25 eye, and he simply had, two eyes of equal strength. 28:26 Right? 28:29 And it actually worked for him. 28:30 Now a few months after that, when the weather finally came time for 28:32 summer I was messing around with my friends and ended up breaking my humor. 28:34 So, it's the largest bone in your arm. 28:38 And I did this by landing on my elbow with my arm behind my back. 28:40 So the bone gets spun around under 28:43 intense amount of pressure and eventually just snaps. 28:45 Not good. 28:48 And I ran to my father. 28:49 He's an athletic trainer, so I thought hey, 28:50 he can figure out what's wrong with my arm. 28:52 I said hey dad pretty sure I broke my arm. 28:54 And he's like, why do you say that? 28:57 And I was like, well, essentially, if I try and stick my 28:58 hand out to shake you arm it sort of swings like a pendulum. 28:59 It's like, I don't think that's supposed to happen. 29:02 And I landed on my elbow, so I thought for 29:04 sure like, I, I my sense was I broke my elbow. 29:06 So, I'm telling my father, he's sort of poking 29:09 my elbow, trying to move it as much as 29:12 I let him, and he looking and he's like Shea, I have to believe your arm is fine. 29:13 And I looked at him, in those good and bad eyes, 29:19 and said, dad, if my arm's not broken, your eyes are. 29:22 Right? 29:25 The joke was on me, though, essentially, cuz three months after this 29:26 when the cast came off, my good arm went into a sling. 29:30 Right? 29:33 Doctors put me in that same constraint induced therapy. 29:33 When they did that I, I had to laugh, I was 29:36 like, Doc, you know that you operated on the other arm, right? 29:37 Like, you have this all wrong, this is backwards. 29:40 They ran me through the same thing my father went through. 29:43 Constraint induced therapy. 29:45 So, Shea, we're gonna constrain your good arm, to force you to use that bad arm. 29:46 Right? 29:50 We never wanna let your good arm overcompensate for your bad arm. 29:51 And when I would cheat and move my arm inside the 29:54 sling, they would take it and wrap it to my chest. 29:56 All right? 29:58 Imagine being the kid, walking around school with the arm taped to your chest. 29:58 That's pretty embarrassing. 30:01 But it worked, I did, I strengthened, I grew my bad arm, and today I'm fine. 30:03 I can go on monkey bars and do whatever it may be, right? 30:07 We can use these constraints, to stretch our limits, right. 30:11 Constraint-induced therapy is not comfortable. 30:13 My father and I were not happy campers during this process. 30:15 But we have to accept that we may be less than perfect. 30:18 And look to confront our weakness. 30:20 We'll double-down our strengths. 30:22 We'll learn something new. 30:23 We'll feel more confident in that process. 30:25 Now this Darby. 30:27 Darby is a really good friend of mine, a coworker. 30:28 We worked together for years. 30:30 Fortunately Darby is also, he's not injured in this presentation. 30:31 So, he's safe there. 30:35 But Darby is a back end engineer. 30:37 He is the complete opposite skill set of myself. 30:38 And for one project, we decided to swallow our fears. 30:40 And we decided to switch roles. 30:43 We decided to try this constraint induced therapy, on one 30:44 another and allow ourselves to focus on our weakest skill set. 30:47 And we'd help each other out along the way. 30:50 Now, I, I'm a designer, through and through. 30:53 I know enough about Ruby, and Rails, and Backends to be dangerous. 30:55 But I never really built a project all on my own, from scratch. 30:58 And that's essentially what I did. 31:01 I set out my module [INAUDIBLE] application, 31:03 the data base we were going to use. 31:05 I wrote all the controller actions, and helped develop, a routing system. 31:07 I handled, and learned, and focused on all things backend related. 31:10 But Darby did the opposite, right? 31:14 Darby went out and spoke with customers, he 31:16 performed research, created wire frame, jumped into visual 31:17 design, he built the front end of our 31:20 application, handling and learning, all things design related. 31:22 Now, Carl, who's gonna speak a little later today, put this really well. 31:27 He said avoid making decisions based on fear or greed. 31:30 Focus on what feels right and helps the people in your life. 31:33 But Darby and I did wasn't normal. 31:36 But we had to ignore our fears. 31:38 We created the constraints to help us do that. 31:40 Those constraints allowed us, to focus on 31:42 our weaknesses, and on helping each other out. 31:44 It pushed us in new directions. 31:47 We learned new skill sets. 31:48 And today, Darby and I work better together than ever imaginable. 31:50 When he comes to me and tells me, hey, we need to background some processes 31:53 on the server, because its loading up too much memory space and things are failing. 31:57 I, A, [LAUGH] I understand what that means. 32:01 B, I understand the complexity involved in what 32:04 it's gonna take to actually get that done. 32:07 And I can wrap my head around it and support him in getting that done. 32:08 If I take some user feedback to Darby. 32:11 He understands the weight it carries, especially if that means quite 32:14 a bit of work for him, in reordering some of the backend. 32:17 He knows the weight that that comes with, and is totally fine 32:19 with doing that, cuz he understands the pain and power of that stuff. 32:22 We can use those constraints to exploit our 32:26 weaknesses, and then turn those into our advantages. 32:28 For more innovative, we learn to face our fears. 32:30 And don't stress out on what you don't know. 32:33 Challenges are incredibly healthy. 32:35 We can use the support of a friend or the community 32:37 to help us out and work our way through this stuff. 32:39 Understand that, as long as you're 32:42 uncomfortable, you're actually growing inside of that. 32:43 Now my idea is that you would set out and embrace constraints. 32:47 There are obstacles that prompt us to open up our minds. 32:50 We can look at the bigger picture. 32:53 Make those abstract connections. 32:54 Art and design consist inside a limitation. 32:57 Right? 32:59 Often the most beautiful part of a 33:00 picture, is the frame, that it lives within. 33:01 Now Miles Davis set out and wrote Kind of Blue, without the use of a single chord. 33:04 That album is certified quadruple platinum. 33:08 It sold over four million copies. 33:10 That's incredible. 33:13 The artist, Pete Montern, helped start modernism by 33:14 limiting himself to 90 degree angles and primary colors. 33:17 That's a constraint. 33:20 If there was ever a runner up, for the king of 33:21 constraints, outside of MacGyver, I have to believe it's Doctor Seuss. 33:24 Doctor Seuss wrote Cat in the Hat, using 225 words. 33:28 His publisher thought that was a joke. 33:31 They were like, seriously? 33:33 And they challenged him. 33:34 They said well I, we bet you can never write a book using fewer words. 33:35 He said, no, no, I definitely can. 33:39 So he went out and wrote Green Eggs and Ham, using 50 words. 33:41 49 of those words are only one syllable. 33:43 The only word that has more than one syllable, is the word anywhere. 33:47 Now looking at today, right? 33:51 Twitter's constrained to a 140 characters. 33:52 That's the original size of a text message limit. 33:54 Google, they've constrained themselves to only using 28 33:57 words on their home page, at any given time. 33:59 the iPhone is constraint to a single button. 34:02 Mobile devices, as a whole, are littered with constraint. 34:05 Right? 34:08 Screen size, battery life, orientation, the works. 34:08 That list only goes on. 34:12 Now we have design and development frameworks. 34:14 But I have to believe we could create a framework for constraints as well. 34:17 If I could, this is where I would start. 34:20 I would say, let's make decisions, with fewer resources. 34:21 Let's improve our consistent with regulations. 34:24 Let's focus, by removing distractions, let's work together, by sub-organizing 34:27 and let's innovate, by moving out of our comfort zones. 34:31 Now people tell me, Shea, I don't like constraints. 34:35 They don't like the idea of it. 34:38 They believe that constraints hinder their capabilities. 34:39 I have to disagree with them. 34:41 I believe we have constraints for a really good reason. 34:43 Constraints offer us guidance for what's relevant for what's topical. 34:45 They let us know what's off course. 34:48 Do not confuse working with constraints, with making sacrifices. 34:51 Now much like that childhood playground, the 34:54 constraints and rules are there for a reason. 34:56 Right? 34:58 They make that playground safer and more enjoyable. 34:58 Embrace those constraints, and take your turn to go on the swings. 35:01 Thank you. 35:04 [APPLAUSE]. 35:08 [COUGH] 35:10
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