Thinking About Transitions

In articles I have written for Boxes and Arrows, I have spoken about the designer, the individual contributor making the transition to management. I now find that I am in a position of transition in my career and am seeking advice and words of wisdom.

We recently went through a reorg at work, as I mentioned earlier, and I now work on the Yahoo! Developer Network. In this reorg though, the path I was on, leading several design teams across a wide variety of platform initiatives and systems designs, has dramatically changed. I now manage a much smaller design team and a technical documentation team. Additionally, I have the opportunity in front of me to figure out what I want to do with myself beyond this.

I am leading a large redesign project right now that involves remaking the Developer Network into a robust, active toolset and community for developers. This is very exciting to me as I am coordinating designers, engineers, product managers and others as we define what we think this experience should be.

This transition away from design into the larger product development / management process is something I have been craving for awhile but now that it is here, I wonder how does one actually go through this. What happens when suddenly all the things you were good at is not your job anymore and the things you are responsible for are generally unknown?

In management classes, this is a classic scenario to watch for when someone is promoted to a new role. But it’s easier to manage this with others than with yourself – especially when transitioning domains.

For the 5 people who read this blog – how are others dealing with this? How do they educate themselves and come up to speed quickly? How do you become efficient and capable and not let on to others that you have no idea what the hell you are doing? When does it become less terrifying?

Perhaps this is the beginning of another article for B&A…

current: experience matters design :: senior level interaction design and systems strategy consulting former partner, tangible user experience; Yahoo! founder of the public and internal Yahoo! pattern library. design director of ued teams responsible for designing solutions across key yahoo! platforms: social media, personalization, membership and vertical search.