razor cuts - a blog about managing projects, people, and the communication between them.

But how do you *know*?

The case for (and against) testability There’s an old saying in the ad world, attributed to John Wanamaker: ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half’. Designing systems can feel a lot like this – agonising for hours over which features people will find valuable, which […]

Let your ideas brew

Let your ideas brew

A change of context is always a welcome one. At the Future of Web Design conference, the leading lights of the web design world shared their thoughts and expertise to engage and inspire – talks illustrated with beautiful slide decks and a pleasing amount of profanity. For a mind that is constantly juggling the myriad […]

My son at 2 years old, finding out how steering works.

Getting under the hood

A lot of the web people I’ve met over the last couple of years (designers, developers, user experience people, content strategists, information architects, and so on) seem to love physical products, and not just the latest gadgets – at the upcoming Build 2012 conference for example, there are workshops in axe restoration and leather craft. […]

Signature focus

The focus of signatories on a piece of work rises exponentially as the point of their signature approaches. We sometimes hear; ‘the boss doesn’t read anything until the last minute, and then he wants a load of changes.’ Its frustrating, but its also human nature – the busier we are, the thinner our attention is […]

The Evil of Mandatory Fields

The Evil of Mandatory Fields

Forms are a vital part of an information business – they’re the primary way that organisations capture data about their users, and often the mechanism by which they understand what their own teams are doing. But, if they’re so useful, why is it that no-one likes them? I’ve been working with a large organisation in […]

Dark Matter, Part 2: Articles of Faith

In the last Razor Cuts post, we wrote about the gaps in expectations – the dark matter between people – the place where unwelcome surprises lurk, but there is a better, nobler, side to the dark matter equation: Faith. Sometimes we work with people who naturally take responsibility, people who have the ability to imagine […]

Dark Matter: the unspoken meaning in what people say

Dark matter is a theoretical concept in Physics, which arose from physicists being unable to account for the behaviour of stars and galaxies from the light, energy and mass that they could see. ‘There must be something else to explain it’ they thought, and so the theory of dark matter was born: a theory that […]

Just say ‘No’ – the key to focus

‘Focus is about saying No.’ This was Steve Jobs’ most memorable quote from his first public appearance on his return to the helm at Apple in 1997, when he’d spent the previous six months cutting and focusing the Apple product line – returning the company to profitability, and providing a framework to develop the iMac, […]

The network effect in projects

In 1980 Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of the Ethernet standard for connecting computers over a short distance, developed a theory that came to be known as Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. Essentially this means that the greater the […]

The Problem with Solutions

The Problem with Solutions

In the race for progress, we often rush for the first solution that presents itself, and rarely spend enough time thinking about the problem itself. Charles Kettering – a man who counted the electric motor, automobile paint, the modern fridge, and the first aerial missile among his inventions –  said ‘a problem well-defined is a […]