2 min read

And so it goes.

Prior to working at IBM Design in 2015 I rarely, if ever, used the word pivot. And then after entering the product design world, it suddenly became a regular work in my lexicon. Apparently the word “change” wasn’t symbolic enough to describe the action a team takes when it has received new data to suggest a different move will produce better results. Ah, see, I did it again. “Results” are what you get back from a medical test whereas design teams produce “outcomes.” My colleagues and I led ad hoc design teams for six-week sprints. After two cohorts we had enough data to know that our teams will likely need to pivot two or three weeks into their work. It was regular enough that we baked it into their road map and prepared them for the inevitable time when changes were necessary to achieve the best result. Which they often did.

I don’t like to use the word pivot too often because it indicates a switch whereas most of work and life just needs an adjustment. There have been too many pivots for me in the last couple of years—more than I would have liked but that seems to be the way of the world right now. Not just for me, but for too many folks I know.

This week I was ready to launch a new project after months of work gathering a team, discussing the future, laying out a road map, and even assigning responsibilities. We were super close to going live on Wednesday when bad news struck before we hit the deploy button, thankfully. I think the only thing worse than having to work through change is going live with a new project only to have it die on the vine a short time later. If I wanted to live through that kind of drama I would have gotten into restaurants. 

Having said that getting right up to go time only to pull back in the last minutes has produced some phenomenal results. Ryan has taken point on additional market research that has led to very positive and dramatic improvements to our go-to-market plans for Jump Ship! And Same Team Partners gets better and better each day as we have brought on new and different perspectives to improve everything from our service offerings to community development. So it’s not all bad. While I’d love to reduce my use of that word in life, it’s a hell of a lot better than other words like stop or end.

Eventually, we’ll get this third project off the ground. Time to regroup, take care of each other and be realistic about what we can do with a new team configuration. I’m still bummed about this week but curious, and somewhat excited to see what comes from yet another pivot.