Jonathan Berger

Biography

  • Types of Design

    Types of Design

    “Design” is a messy word, and describing which type of design you mean can be tricky. Sometimes it’s more helpful to describe types of design not as crisp definitions—”Visual Design looks pretty,...

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  • The Benefits of Pair Design

    The Benefits of Pair Design

    How is design different for Agile product development? “Design” can mean many things, but designing products for Agile software development methodologies present distinctive challenges. Engineers...

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  • Balanced Team Sunday Salon at Pivotal Labs

    Balanced Team Sunday Salon at Pivotal Labs

    This Sunday Pivotal Labs hosted a Balanced Team Sunday Salon following the three-day LeanUX NYC conference. LeanUX was chock-full of amazing talks and workshops, and the ensuing sentiment was my...

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  • How To Maintain Separate Design and Development Backlogs

    How To Maintain Separate Design and Development Backlogs

    In How To Manage A Design Backlog, I talked about some of the general ideas behind managing design work on teams where developers use an agile, XP-based backlog. In How To Integrate Design in an...

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  • How To Integrate Design in an Agile Backlog

    How To Integrate Design in an Agile Backlog

    In How To Manage A Design Backlog, I talked about some of the general ideas behind managing design work on teams where developers use an agile, XP-based backlog—i.e., a Pivotal Tracker-based...

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  • How To Manage A Design Backlog

    How To Manage A Design Backlog

    Every project is different, but Agile and XP have taught developers a stable and robust set of tools for managing (development) work. What about managing design work? (With apologies to Tolstoy...

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  • Subjective Design & Objective Design

    Subjective Design & Objective Design

    “Design” is a Messy Word When people ask what I do and I reply “I’m a designer”, their first reaction is often to point at my chest: “Oh! Did you design that shirt?” “Not that kind of designer,” I...

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  • Minimum Viable Deliverable

    Minimum Viable Deliverable

    As a business, design is built around deliverables: clients pay for wireframes, mockups, prototypes. As a practice, these deliverables are a means to a single end: communicating design decisions....

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  • Organizing Layers in Adobe Illustrator

    Organizing Layers in Adobe Illustrator

    Over the years, I’ve evolved a standard structure for organizing layers in Illustrator. Whenever I fire up a new Illustrator doc, one of the first things I do is create and name the following four...

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  • Use Lean Hypotheses to Define a Minimum Viable Product

    Use Lean Hypotheses to Define a Minimum Viable Product

    Many people new to building apps fall in love the moment they learn about the idea of a Minimum Viable Product. “It’s minimal! So there’s less risk. And it’s viable! So it’ll prove something!”....

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  • Introducing Hamazon.com (for all your example-app needs)

    Introducing Hamazon.com (for all your example-app needs)

    Hamazon, your Fine Purveyors of Pork Products since 2010, is the default example I use so as to have a consistent example of a software application whenever I tell stories. In the spirit of...

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  • "Markdown By Default" is a great convention for notetaking

    "Markdown By Default" is a great convention for notetaking

    Adopting the convention of writing notes in Markdown has been hugely helpful for me. It’s an easy-to-use, easy-to-read, easy-to-learn, format for something I do every day, and a great example of...

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  • Principles Should be Public

    Principles Should be Public

    True Story Once upon a time, there was a client who struggled with the Agile process. It’s not that he wasn’t smart and curious, and it’s not that he didn’t want to build a great product in a...

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  • Talking Data Visualization with Sarah Nahm and Ian Johnson (transcription)

    Talking Data Visualization with Sarah Nahm and Ian Johnson (transcription)

    Talking Data Visualization with Sarah Nahm and Ian Johnson (transcription) We were lucky to have two Data Visualists, Sarah Nahm and Ian Johnson from Lever, join us for lunch in Pivotal SF last...

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  • Finding Pivotal (Designer edition).

    Finding Pivotal (Designer edition).

    Everyone has an Origin Story. This is mine. I discovered Agile by accident. I was a self-taught designer who’d travelled to Florida to hand off a project to the development team. My partner and I...

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  • A Responsible Recipe for the Fewest Possible Meetings

    A Responsible Recipe for the Fewest Possible Meetings

    Meetings are crucial to healthy team communication. But they’re also opportunities for waste, occasionally dull, and always expensive. Every team is different, but continuing the theme of...

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  • 7 Best Practices for Facilitating Agile Retrospectives

    7 Best Practices for Facilitating Agile Retrospectives

    Facilitating a retro is a very powerful role; it’s almost akin to being a courthouse judge (and stenographer). By asking questions, recording testimony, and shaping the debate, you mold and...

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  • Set your sights on the next Milestone with an Idea Board

    Set your sights on the next Milestone with an Idea Board

    The Idea Board Technique A typical Agile Inception ends with a fully fleshed-out backlog for the next few iterations, and some farther-off, coarse-grained, Epic-level ideas written on index cards....

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  • What's (not) in a Name

    What's (not) in a Name

    I solve design problems. Sometimes I use hi-res mockups, sometimes I use wireframes. I always use empathy. I always strive to understand the user and design against their needs. What am I? What...

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  • Long-term Estimation in an Agile Environment, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Assumptions Label

    Long-term Estimation in an Agile Environment, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Assumptions Label

    Estimation is Hard Flexible plans executed via iterative development are at the core of Agile: Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the...

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