A few years ago, for reasons I cannot fathom, my college bully friended me on Facebook. So I know she voted for Trump because she “decided that ‘more of the same’ with Clinton as President” was not what she wanted for our country.

In college, we were on the same team of junior counselors when she took to calling my name, prompting me to look up, at which point she flipped me off. It must have been great fun, disrupting me while I studied, talked to friends, or ate in the cafeteria. “Hey Soni!………flip.” I get it, I was a dork. Thanks to my roommate, who never suffered fools and who put a stop to it, there was no lasting damage.

I cannot say the same about her vote for Trump.

Because of Facebook, I know I have lots of friends who voted for Trump. I sympathize with the job-insecure for whom the government seems unconcerned and paternalistic. I understand those who fear terrorism at Crossroads Mall when the government provides no discernment around being both welcoming and watchful. I can inhabit the minds of those who flinch as the civic order recalibrates in acknowledgement of our diverse community. I can even comprehend those whose feelings of hate found pleasure in Trump’s most repellent remarks.

But the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. And so I cannot abide the vague, unarticulated justification to vote Trump because he’s not “more of the same.”

First of all, I call bullshit on her rejection of ‘more of the same.’ The ‘same’ is precisely what she wants. The same hegemony that allows her to live in peace without having to consider that #blacklivesmatter; where she needn’t be challenged to account for other sensibilities; and where she’s not vexed by the disorder that accompanies societal change.

Supremely, I find her lack of engagement unforgivable. Her post goes on to hope that Trump surrounds himself with brilliant people…smarter than her, to solve our problems. This isn’t humility, it’s abdication. God gave her a brain, parents gave her an education, and prosperity affords her bandwidth to use both. To satisfy our contract with a society that granted us so much is to at least break a sweat contemplating what was at stake in this election. Because her vote wasn’t an urgent and palpable fear of unemployment, terrorism, or loss of power, she had a responsibility to be thoughtful and take a long view. Instead of weighing American ideals, she voted for torture. Instead of considering the historical and economic context of immigration, she voted for mass deportations. Instead of heeding data indicating we need to intensify efforts on climate change, she voted to abandon them.

By concluding with a plea for grace and a promise to delete comments that rekindle debate, she signals her forfeiture is complete. And while her feed fills with praise (because declarations of indifference are what pass for political courage these days), I might like it if all the people whose lives will be upended seek out her suburban redoubt and shatter the tranquility with a cry of “Hey Cory!….



Use several of the following techniques to and take copious notes:

  • Interview
  • Prototype
  • Workshop
  • Brainstorm
  • Survey
  • Focus Group
  • Observation
  • Document Analysis
  • Interface Analysis
  • Research

Organize and Refine

I promise the stakeholders confidentiality in order to get unvarnished feedback. I organize my notes into the following categories.

  • Irritant
  • Yay
  • Wish
  • Idea
  • Research This
  • On Background
  • Off The Record

Then I attempt to:

  • prioritize by killing or promoting ideas,
  • look for patterns and identify issues several people raised,
  • and make sure requests serve the project’s objectives.


Process improvement is the thing no one asks for but every project needs. Identify processes that are particularly snarled and ask:

  • Is there anything unnecessary?
  • What can be combined?
  • What data-entry can be eliminated by pulling, sharing or shifting it outside your process?
  • What quality controls can be baked into the process rather than requiring an extra step?
  • Where’s the bottle-neck and how can you isolate, elevate, and automate it out of existence.
  • How can you identify errors early in the process so there’s less wasted effort if you have to rework.
  • How can cycle times be shortened?

Process Improvement Toolbox

Physical layout causing delays?


Trouble separating the Whats from the Hows?


Why is this process so bad?


Cycle time causing delays?


Not sure how to map a process?


How to think about a system.


Mind the gaps!


Deep dive into gaps in the inputs.


Deep dive into gaps in the outputs.


How to think about these gaps?


Who’s responsible and when?


Got a gap you cannot fix?


Improve or reinvent?



I use the following categories to organize requirements and check them against S.M.A.R.T.

  • User – what Lola wants
  • Solution – what functions needed in order to get Lola what she wants
  • Business – measurable objectives provided by higher-ups
  • Regulatory – Laws, policies, best practices
  • Quality – How well we get Lola what she wants
  • Transition – What’s needed to get to the point of getting Lola what she wants



Initiation is about managing hopes and expectations.

Write a high level scope statement that answers:

  • what are we trying to accomplish
  • what areas of the business will be involved
  • what areas of the business will not be involved.

Identify and share with key stakeholders who are:

  • decision makers
  • subject matter experts
  • cheerleaders

Define high-level business requirements

  • a detailed list of what will be done to fulfill the project’s scope

Define completion criteria, or what will success look like

  • increased productivity
  • cost savings
  • profit goals
  • regulatory compliance
  • efficiency improvements

Retreat To Move Forward, Part II

My notes from the GPS Retreat on January 14, 2013.

  • Knowledge + Practice = Competence
  • Marginalization occurs when the individual cannot change and the culture is not open. Here’s the environment in which gangs thrive because no one goes unclaimed for long.
  • We’re not aware of our own culture the way a fish doesn’t know from water.
  • Culture tends not to explain itself.
  • We all act normal and natural; it’s just that normal and natural vary by culture.
  • Make an assumption of positive intent.
  • Build a bridge by connecting with another’s sense of values.
  • The Art of Intercultural Competency
    • know as much about the other
    • know what informs you
  • Falsehood that if I change I am not being authentic to myself.