DonnaM » Blog Archive » Things you should know before working with me

Things you should know before working with me

I have often thought about how I work with people, and how people work with me. My work is a bit odd, and I’m a bit odd and people don’t always know what to expect.

So here’s a guide to what you need to know before working with me (in the context of me doing interface design and information architecture work for a project):

  • I may spend a long time seeming to do very little. Don’t panic – I’m thinking. Exactly what you pay me to do.
  • I spend a lot of time with earphones in. That means I’m trying to think and concentrate amongst the chatter of an office, not that I’m anti-social.
  • If you give me a gantt chart all arranged in linear order, I’ll nod and get to the end on time and budget, but not by the path you set.
  • I spend a long time gathering information and thinking, and little time producing towards the end. Once I have nailed an idea, all else is straightforward and fast. So if you think I’m going to miss a deadline because I haven’t produced much, stop worrying.
  • Outputs need inputs – I have experience, but I can’t design a good system out of nothing. I need to base it on something. Don’t stick me in a corner and not let me research and talk to people.
  • Teams are good – I have lots of experience at what I do. But so do you and the team. Let’s work together to create something great. Don’t make me work by myself and expect me to produce miracles.
  • I’ll occasionally rant and get passionate. That means I care.
  • Give me challenging work, give me time to work through it and we’ll get there. Don’t expect me to to hard work in the same time I do easy work. That’s just dumb.
  • If there isn’t enough work, I’d genuinely prefer to be at home. I’m not hanging around to chase dollars.
  • I hate banging my head against a political brick wall. I’d prefer to be anywhere else – that’s just a waste of time.

So, that’s me. Let’s go!

[Note: I wrote this over many months and will continue to tweak it, so it is not aimed at any previous client.]

5 Responses to “Things you should know before working with me”

  1. Joe Says:

    Wow. So well written…and so me. I mean, really me.
    Thanks for writing it, Donna!

  2. Donna Maurer Says:

    See, that’s why we get along ;)

  3. Jessica Enders Says:

    I love it! Surely this could be a description of any serious usability professional… :-)

  4. Bryan J Busch Says:

    Lovely, Donna.

    Quick typo alert: Don’t expect me to to hard work …

    should be:

    Don’t expect me to do hard work …

  5. Donna Maurer Says:

    Thanks Bryan. These are the things I never catch. I have read this heaps of times (Ok, that says something about me) and didn’t notice that…