Justin Baum ran user experience and product at The Barbarian Group and Stipple. His clients included EA, Samsung, ESPN, Red Bull, Kashi, Google, and Apple. Currently he consults independently.
I help teams shape their vision and define the details of their strategy. Through my background in user experience design, product management, and marketing I bring clients to a place where they are confident evolving all aspects of their product.
I create the necessary materials to envision and plan projects for clients. I enjoy facilitating relationships between clients and third parties as well as leading cross functional teams through the duration of a project. Post-agile project leadership is where I thrive.
The best process grows from how a team naturally works together. Instead of prescribing process, I offer individual techniques to solve specific issues in a team's workflow. Culture and technique always beat process and methodology. Its the things we do between the steps in our process that matter the most.
Instead of focusing heavily on wireframes or photoshop I prefer to move between low fidelity pencil/paper sketches and high fidelity living prototypes. I use Protoshare for web projects and Xcode Storyboards for iOS projects. I find this style of design affords me the ability to move quickly, represent the final product accurately, and avoid getting hung up on layers of abstraction.
While they come with implementation overhead, event tracking tools provide invaluable ways to learn about the effectiveness of you product design. I help clients choose the right measurement tool, create a measurement plan, oversee implementation, and setup the necessary actionable reports. My current tool of choice is Mixpanel, but many other options exist.
For clients running an agile process or transitioning to one I assist them in choosing the right software, establishing cross functional workflow, story creation and story acceptance. Currently my favorite tool is Sprint.ly, but I have spent the majority of my time in Pivotal Tracker.
BMC is an invaluable tool for visually and succinctly representing how your business works. It offers a shared language to discuss the model and a means of documenting progress as different models are tested. I find that canvases bring a level of tangibility to discussions of how a business could succeed or fail which is useful for involving designers and engineers in strategic business discussions.
Traditional product roadmaps are becoming less relevant the more software development teams head towards post-agile workflows focused less on sprint dates, and more on releasing everyday. However, it is still necessary to think about the evolution of your product strategically over time. Instead of dates, the product evolution map uses experiential milestones as its unit of progress. I think of these maps as a compass rather than a timeline.
When beginning work on an existing product I find it useful to conduct an evaluation of the user experience using widely accepted best practices, often referred to as heuristics. A companion, or next step, to the heuristic audit is the UX inventory in which all flows, screens, and states are exhaustively documented in a spreadsheet. The two activities combined immerse the designer in the current state of the user experience and provide insight into scope, priority and opportunities.
Mental models are my favorite technique for modeling user research. Their highly visual representation of goals, tasks and context have proven more useful to me than traditional personas. Once established, I find narrative driven scenario writing the best way to envision how a product could meet peoples needs and what features and functionality will do so, which in turn are represented on the mental model.
I assist clients with the definition and documentation of goals, objectives, requirements, timing and team configuration for prospective projects. I also help clients put together proposals & RFPs. Having been on the receiving end of enough proposals and RFPs that contained little critical information and were unnecessarily verbose or poorly structured, I know what it takes to create a document that communicates clearly and efficiently. I pride myself in my ability to distill information down to what matters.
I help teams identify small experiments to help them improve the ways they work together and the things they make. I avoid at all costs dogmatic prescriptions of heavy process and instead conduct team member interviews and ride-alongs that culminate in a set of recommendations. If a young team is starting with a blank slate I also offer a more comprehensive set recommendations for getting things done.
I provide clients consultation on integrating User Experience, Content Strategy and Product Design into their organization's capabilities. I do this for both in-house teams and client service organizations working to create a plan that my clients can execute themselves with confidence.
Starting in 2011 I ran product & design at a startup called Stipple. We closed a $7M series A round in 2012.
In 2013 I took the beginning iOS development class at the Big Nerd Ranch in Georgia so that I could better contribute to iOS projects I work on.
I advise Small Screen, a content startup, on all aspects of its business. We provide some of the best craft cocktail video content on the web.
I ran User Experience at The Barbarian Group, growing the department's profitability year over year from 2007 to 2011.
I contributed to a comprehensive re-design of Apple.com as an Information Architect from 2005 to 2007.