Work is like a hill

I’m sick of the The double diamond model. A better metaphor to describe the plight of the average, overworked, over-meetinged knowledge worker comes from Basecamp: Work is like a hill.

Every piece of work has two phases. First there’s an uphill phase where you figure out your approach. You have a basic idea about the task, but you haven’t figured out what the solution is going to look like or how to solve all the unknowns.

Eventually you reach a point where there aren’t any more unsolved problems. That’s like standing at the top of the hill. You can see clearly all the way down the other side. Then the downhill phase is just about execution.

Certain product managers, most executives, and other Enneagram type threes hate the uphill part of the hill. It’s ambiguous. There are no clear tasks. It’s so nebulous. They want to see Checkmark Progress and will fight you every step of the way.

Your role, dear creative knowledge worker, is to trick such folks into thinking that the ambiguity is not there and that you’re making real progress, when in reality you’re surrounded by mist. That’s the job, folks.

Up next Badge of dishonor The new clothes fallacy
Latest posts The definitive post on whether chatGPT will take your job A Smallish Book about content design How to make Confluence less horrible I am a writer designer The new clothes fallacy Work is like a hill Badge of dishonor Ceci n'est pas un poubelle This sign is a crime Beware the lure of consistency Do not water Never, ever use the term microcopy You need three things to design content Permanently fixed Assembly instructions for a side table Extraneous labels, ignored conventions The double diamond model Don't have an emergency here Product tours that don't suck Quickly edit text on the web How content designers can get the most out user interviews Let's be reasonable How to derisk trial experiences Turn around, bright eyes We could be zeroes Content design vs visual design The recipe approach to writing labels Sorry no pizza 6 truths for first-time public speakers Do not enter, exit only What the %&@! is content design