Chapter 8. A 30/60/90-Day Plan

[ 8 ]

A 30/60/90-Day Plan

Nobody plans to fail. They just fail to plan.

—Unknown, attributed to many

In this chapter, I distill and explain the plan I’ve used in my first 30, 60, and 90 days in three teams, of three sizes (350, 150, and 50 people), at three different companies (Microsoft, OfferUp, and Google). Each time, I joined the team with some idea of the opportunity and a glimmer of the problems I would face, learned from the interview. Each time, the team brought me in because they realized they 1) had a problem with words, and 2) knew that they didn’t know how to fix it.

The actual number of days is an estimate, not a rule, but they have been pretty accurate for me. Most usefully, the 30/60/90 structure creates three phases in which ramp-up work can be done thoroughly but quickly—and definitely not perfectly. Their purpose is to fix the words; this method helps me to create a basis for collaboration and iteration that makes the whole experience better.

The First 30 Days, AKA Phase 1: What and Who

The first 30 days is all about learning the experience, the people who will use it, and the team of people who build it. To be successful, you need to know what’s important to each of them. At the same time, you need to build the team’s confidence that the time, energy, and money they spend on content will pay off.

Your first task is to find a couple of key teammates to gain the widest possible perspective on the organization. Those two or three ...

Get Strategic Writing for UX now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.