How the best UX researchers engineer moments by design

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

When reflecting on our time cultivating Customer-Driven Engineering in the Developer Division at Microsoft, there has been an important lesson we’ve learned that has been at the foundation of our entire approach.

The lesson we’ve learned is that there’s immense value in creating powerful moments.

I first came across this idea when I read the book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Dan and Chip Heath.

A list of tips for facilitating any group activity

Collaboration is an imperative skill in any workforce. However, being able to facilitate groups toward successful collaboration, is a skill that can make you a superstar in any organization.

Whether you’re organizing business strategy or an office potluck (remember those before the pandemic?), helping teammates communicate effectively and reach consensus with one another can be difficult, but also immensely rewarding.

Each facilitated activity is different and may require its own set of “rules” for success, however, I’ve found that the tips below are helpful — regardless of how simple or complex your activity may be.

So, here are 5 Do’s…

Using integrative thinking to improve the “heartbeat” of customer, product, and business development

Red heart, with a white outline, painted on a bright yellow, stucco, wall
Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

In the Developer Division at Microsoft, we embrace a model of building products we call Customer-Driven Engineering. It’s a process that focuses on reducing the distance between product teams and their customers, by coaching them in the art of user research and design-thinking. The goal is to empower our product teams, by giving them these tools so they can nurture strong connections with our customers and surface meaningful insights to inform our product strategy.

To that end, we’re constantly looking for tools and methods to enhance and evolve their learning. …

Part 2 of 2: The Process

Customer-Driven Engineering (CDE) is a culture and product development process that has been cultivated within the Developer Division (DevDiv) at Microsoft; the division responsible for creating tools and services for software makers.

In DevDiv CDE represents so many things, but ultimately it represents two major parts: Culture and Process

In my previous post, I outlined our Customer-Driven Culture.

In this post, I’ll detail the day-to-day process of making products using CDE.

The Customer-Driven Process

Everything outlined in this post has been…

Part 1 of 2: The Culture

I grew up with Microsoft.

As a kid, I remember using MSDOS to help my brother launch a pre-Internet BBS from our childhood bedroom. After college, I used Microsoft Visual Studio and ASP.NET to build websites for my first real career job at a children’s hospital. I can’t imagine finishing the books I’ve written, without the expert guidance of Microsoft Word and the incredible organizing tools in Microsoft OneNote and Microsoft Office.

I’ve also had the incredible fortune of being by Microsoft, working in the Developer Division (DevDiv) for over the past seven years, as both a UX Designer…

In my first post I discussed our strategies and goals for transitioning our in-person workshop to a remote workshop. In my previous post, I did a deep dive into the technology we used.

In this final post, I want to discuss the outcome of the workshop. …

In the previous post, we discussed our goals for running a remote workshop. One of our biggest goals was to create a fun, vibrant, and engaging virtual “classroom”, particularly we needed to present concepts to attendees, before they went off to work on their group activities.

I was inspired by the work of Twitch streamers like Jeff Fritz and the highly engaging performance of Scott Hanselman and team when they presented our first, completely…


One of the coolest things we’ve been able to build in DevDiv to support our Customer-Driven Engineering culture is an onboarding workshop for all new employees in our Division. Our workshop is a 3-day deep dive into our end-to-end software making process that is outlined in our Customer-Driven Playbook.

Over the course of these 3 days, our attendees work together in small groups on a business goal, given to them from our leadership team…

Photo by Pang Yuhao on Unsplash

NOTE: This article was originally posted on the Notes for Growth blog. This is a blog where our team shares notes on the books we’ve read.

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact is an exploration of the characteristics of memorable and impactful moments. Through moving and inspirational stories as well as fascinating research and psychological studies, the book helps readers appreciate the value of creating moments in our personal and professional lives.

Authors, Dan and Chip Heath, investigate the psychology of moments (big and small) and give readers a framework for creating moments that shape organizational…

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

NOTE: This article was originally posted on the Notes for Growth blog. This is a blog where our team shares notes on the books we’ve read.

In The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovation, authors Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen completed an extensive study of the world’s top innovators. Their goal was to identify and define the common characteristics and behavioral patterns of these leaders as well as how their companies were organized to unlock innovative ideas and opportunities.

The authors studied companies that scored high on a ; which is when a…

Travis Lowdermilk

UX Researcher and Author

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