“Until you’re profitable, you’re on fire. And when your house is on fire you don’t waste time on tying your shoes.”
This is the lesson Matome Bopape gave me after our failed attempt at trying to build a working relationship together. I admire his sense of urgency, the need for constant relentless and the great come back to the healthy business approach.
Yep. Healthy business approach.
Running a startup isn’t that different from running a corner shop, beauty salon or an auto repair service. You get to profits quickly or die.
Don’t take any breaks. Don’t waste your energy on things that don’t build growth. Fight for profits.
“It is important that user experience professionals see themselves as more than just a designer, that means influencing from executive level all the way to implementation” – Abdul Noutcha
This hit home for me and I remember why I have embarked on this journey of change with organisations, I started out as a graphic designer, became a web designer/ frontend developer and now I am a fulltime User experience specialist with a focus on building a relationship between business & its customers.
It’s really hard in South Africa to explain what I do, I have managed to influence how Absa handles it’s Retirement Annuity application process by not just designing some pretty screens but by being involved with the decision-makers from the get-go.
There was a ( Home / Household and Car Insurance ) project I was working and it was coming to an end and I remember meeting with a now-former project manager Johann van Jaarsveld at Absa’s Randburg offices, who came to offer me an opportunity of a lifetime because he had about my set of skills and boy am I glad I did not decline.
Johann is not your typical off the mill project manager, he has diverse skills, having been a developer for over 15 years, he understood what happens at the sweatshop (dev background).
After he briefed me about his requirements, we agreed on a freelance consulting rate, signed a contract and immediately started going through the little Business Analysis he had conducted.
Lucky for me Absa BRD ( Business Requirement Documents ) are simple to understand and I was able to add more context and clarity for a way forward to the which saved me time and gave me a good springboard.
Once I completed the BRD doc and got it signed off by both business and Johann, I was able to quickly create visuals ( High Fed Wireframes because we already had an established UI in place ) that added more clarity and this helped with the direction of the unknown IA structure.
It was interesting for me to sit with users, interact and question and ask why they would use a “future service” – The feedback I got helped to go back and design a better-improved solution at the end of the day.