Michael Wang

Michael Wang

Product Designer at Lyft

I design for apps and stuff @lyft. Previously cofounder @getteleportapp, previously-er @facebookdesign, @hugeinc, @odopod.

8 action items

Push for a solution that’s not supported by data

    • If you find yourself pushing for something that contradicts the data, first ask yourself if you fully understand what the data is telling you. Remember: data doesn't lie; it only reflects the reality it was asked to measure. In other words, it’s impossible to disagree with data. You can only disagree with the conclusions drawn from data. As product designers, we can’t ignore data that contradicts our perspectives and opinions. We have to operate within the bounds of reality. We can, however, challenge the conclusions drawn and outline the flaws and limitations of even the best designed experiments.

    • Understand the constraints of how the data was acquired.

      Do you agree with the methodology? Were there flaws and limitations in how the data was measured?

    • Hypothesize the story the data is telling.

      Understand what the data actually means in order to make a strong case for your plan of action. Did your team misunderstand the results?

    • Challenge the conclusions that are drawn from the data.

      Use the qualitative data at your disposal. E.g. Can you find evidence that the data is measuring short-term gains at the expense of longer term goals?

    • Provide actionable next steps.

      Can we re-run the test under more reasonable conditions? Could we propose a different metric to be measuring instead? Can you articulate why your (seemingly) contradictory direction actually accounts for the data?

Get teammates to adopt a new process

    • Change is one of the hardest things that an organization can do, especially at scale. Because of this, there is no one answer to this question, but there are ways better your chances. Before you start pushing your process unto others, there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself. For example, are you the right person to advocate for change? Have you built up enough trust in the organization by demonstrating value in the area you claim expertise? Are you willing to set aside your personal objectives for the benefit of the organization? If so, let’s get started.

    • Before embarking, arrive at a shared reality with your colleagues.

      You can probably personally articulate the need for change, but do the other stakeholders in your organization agree with you? A common mistake is to push for change without first agreeing on the root problems and vision. Down the road, it may cause sudden friction or impasses when everything seemed to be going well, stopping momentum in its tracks. There are many methods for teams to do this. A planning sprint with brainstorming exercises, for example, helps align goals as well as the vocabulary necessary to speak about the problem.... See more

    • Ask the team to define what success looks like.

      If your team can’t agree about the goal it may cause progress to stall, or people to balk at the prospect of losing something that they have become comfortable with. Identify blind spots and pitfalls by diving deeper and get more specific by asking: In order to meet this goal, what has to be true? Imagine a future where instituting your new process failed. Why did it fail?... See more

    • Stay flexible about the outcomes.

      You may have a process you are familiar with, or learned from an industry leader, but there is rarely a situation where one-size fits all. Embrace the wisdom of your colleagues and allow the team to collectively shape the process to something that uniquely fits your culture. Understand you can’t always have things your way, and that this is healthy. Even if you “fail,” take comfort in the progress that was made.... See more

    • Maintain momentum by championing your wins.

      See a glimmer of hope? Good! You’re not done yet. Champion improvements that are directly attributed to the new process and socialize the benefits of the new system to maintain momentum. Finally, acknowledge others who have brought the team to this new path.... See more