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利用 k8s 建立软件商店It’s June 2019. I’m sitting in a conference room in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. At the end of the table are the two executives that have been tapped to lead a new ...
利用 k8s 建立软件商店
It’s June 2019. I’m sitting in a conference room in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. At the end of the table are the two executives that have been tapped to lead a new endeavor on behalf of IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat. To my right sits Neil Everette, a senior principal designer and my first hire. We’re about to provide an update on the most recent round of designs while others gather. As the meeting begins, our leadership pushes all their chips in.
“We’re going to change the way enterprise software is bought and sold. It’s going to be consumer driven, dead simple, and driven by user experience. We’re going to build the App Store for the enterprise, leading to the consumerization of IT.”
Another colleague remarks, “IBM is really good at building super complicated things. You want to go to the moon? We’re the company that can make that happen. What are we not always great at is making very complicated things simple and usable.” There’s lots of nodding in agreement.
IBM has made a profound commitment to the cloud. On his first official day as CEO, Arvind Krishina reiterated this, saying an ‘essential, ubiquitous hybrid cloud platform’ was critical in making the company ‘the most trusted technology partner of the 21st century.’
For context, the cloud is a set of remotely hosted computing resources used by a client for storage and computing power. Using a mix and match cloud strategy allows companies to leverage different services, locations or providers to solve different business problems. One provider or solution might be optimized for security requirements, another for machine learning or AI. Hybrid cloud is a platform for applications and infrastructure, built on some combination of public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises IT. All of this affords companies control, scalability and portability.
In a recent survey, IBM asked enterprises about how they use the cloud today. 92% of enterprises that responded are leveraging hybrid cloud in some capacity, while 58% are using multi-cloud solutions. Only 10% of these companies can holistically and effectively manage or move applications across environments. This lack of flexibility creates major headaches and problems for businesses.
Red Hat OpenShift is a platform technology that enables developers to build once and deploy to any cloud using the same underlying code structure. It is this platform that is the bedrock underlying our marketplace. The Red Hat Marketplace exists so companies can find certified (legit and supported) software for OpenShift that they can try, purchase and deploy, quickly and easily to the cloud of their choice.
Rewind to April 2019. I get a call from Robert Uthe, a Distinguished Engineer and design champion at IBM. He tells me that he heard from Arin Bhowmick (Global Vice President and Chief Design Officer at IBM) that I was uniquely suited to lead design on a new, strategic, secret project. Robert says if I accept, I will be tasked with building, scaling and leading a best-in-class design team from the ground up. There’s a catch. I have to say yes right away.
At the time of his call, I was leading design on IBM Watson Education, a Watson AI enabled edtech ‘startup’ that was incubated by IBM. Although our business unit was going through some significant challenges and changes, I was very happy in my role. Robert is vague, so he directs me to Charlie Hill to fill in more than a few blanks about this could-be opportunity. Among a company of over 350,000 employees, with thousands of designers, Charlie is the only design leader with the mantle of IBM fellow, IBM’s highest honor, distinction and eminence. He is soon to be dedicated to this project.
Charlie is equally opaque, but he emphasizes design’s unique ability to influence and lead in the vision and execution of this brand new cloud marketplace. He also spoke at length about the consumer focus of the executive team. This helps cement my choice.
I’m still unsure of what I am actually signing up for. What I know for certain is I’ll learn more from working with Robert, Charlie, and Arin than I would on practically any other project or team at the company. I was in.
红帽市场设计团队的根源 (Roots of the Red Hat Marketplace Design Team)
After hiring Neil, we subsequently assembled our next five designers, with the goal of bringing in 15–18 by end of year. Our early core was a top heavy crew, with seniority and expertise coming out of their ears. Each of these foundational members had a critical role in helping to shape the early vision and, just as importantly, the culture of design on our team.
When I began the search for our first hires, I consulted with my boss, Robert, extensively. One of the founding members that I hired was Justin Gier. Justin came highly recommended from Robert for his unique combination of talents and is the most technical designer I’ve ever managed. Every design team needs complementary players across complementary disciplines. If we are truly going to consumerize IT, our team is going to have to know what we can simplify, what we can break, and what we can bypass entirely. Justin’s systems thinking, UX prowess and technical knowledge of cloud and kubernetes has helped our design team do this with confidence. He also designed a cloud 101 course for our new designers which helped to ramp up our collective domain knowledge and subject matter expertise. I still attend each session and learn new things every time.
In order to maintain the velocity and breadth of work that we were tasked with covering, we were lucky enough to partner with the Austin-based product design and consulting firm Argodesign. Argo provided us with early, critical enablement — staff augmentation, diverse design expertise and a fresh, unbiased perspective. Working with IBM as a partner has its challenges. We’re not the easiest company to collaborate with, especially given the rapid growth, change and pressures that we were under. That said, we couldn’t have had a better early partner than Argo.
By July, we had an early draft of the high level UX for several important touch points — discovery, purchase and deployment. At this time, we were also working with an outside consulting firm to provide an added market POV.
One of the impediments we faced at this stage in our product journey was decision making. In these early days, we only had one product manager, and we were struggling to make a range of choices and evaluate their trade offs. Our leadership recognized this and during this workshop told us to disassociate from the fear of getting it wrong. “Make a decision and just own it. We will learn and pivot as necessary.”
During this checkpoint, Phil Gilbert (GM of Design at IBM) assessed our early progress. In total transparency, we committed an early, highly visible miscue. Our marketplace experience was too broad, serving far too many customer types. This lack of precision, selectivity and focus came to bite us. It led to diluted use cases and undefined expectations and outcomes. It also forced a reckoning from our collective leadership:
In response, Charlie and I led a design thinking workshop with our key stakeholders. We relied heavily on IBM Design Thinking and collectively re-identified our users, as-is, pain points, and to-be scenarios. From this work, we came out with a testable set of hypothetical features that were deemed as “differentiators.”
It was these top differentiators that we quickly prototyped, tested with users, assessed feedback and led to the first golden thread — a narrative progression that showcased the core use cases and business differentiators. From this learning, we were able to scale down a field of 8–10 personas to the four that were mission-critical for our MVP.
品牌— IBM与Red Hat的交集 (Branding — the intersection of IBM and Red Hat)
By November 2019, we had 13 designers, including a recently hired Creative Director. This was one of the hardest roles to fill. CDs are an anomaly across modern product teams at IBM. Finding a seasoned, personable, brand-savvy one to help bridge the critical, and still new, intersection of two formidable brands, was no small task. We could not have been more fortunate to have found Sarah Walter.
Prior to Sarah joining our team, the visual brand explorations fixated on IBM’s big blue color palette and Red Hat’s bright crimson, with the obvious combination and integration of the two. Sarah was hired around the same time as Wangui McKelvey, VP of Marketing for our new organization. She worked tirelessly with Wangui, Charlie and Corey Keller, our visual design lead, to ensure our brand expression was valuable, articulate and consistent with the voice and tone of our new initiative.
我们的技术预览，即将完成的一年 (Our Technical Preview, a Year in the Making)
Several weeks ago, our team released our technical preview of the Red Hat Marketplace. It was a milestone for our team, IBM and Red Hat. Prior to our new marketplace, if you were a business building apps on the cloud, you would have to go to 6 or 7 stores to build your application. Red Hat Marketplace empowers enterprises to discover, try, buy and deploy through a one-stop shop.
While our customers and the market will ultimately determine whether or not we’ve delivered on our early promise, it has been rewarding to hear our leadership extolling the virtues of our nascent product.
“I’ve been the head of three businesses and [of all those endeavors] I’m the most proud of the Red Hat Marketplace.”
第一印象 (First Impressions)
We’re always assessing the quality of our work and measuring our outcomes. As part of our pre-launch research, our design research team met with twelve senior IT leaders in enterprise organizations — individuals with insight and influence in their company’s cloud strategies and spend. These leaders served in industries as diverse as aerospace & defense, entertainment, financial services, food and beverage, healthcare provider, internet manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, real estate & utilities.
All participants volunteered their time in 90-minute, non-blind in-depth interviews (IDIs). Their feedback attested to a range of issues and opportunities and the following quotes are extracted from these sessions:
AWS more crowded; advanced search features are desirable: “AWS marketplace is very cluttered right now… you spend more time sending questions to AWS about where to find things. I would expect as IBM’s marketplace expands that could be a challenge. Think of the App Store. 500 apps doing the same thing.”
成长和早期胜利的机会 (Opportunities for Growth and Early Wins)
On a 15 person, disproportionately senior design team, I’ve struggled with finding equal enough visibility and recognition for all of our leaders. Design on Red Hat Marketplace is a team sport and certain folks have an easier time showcasing their talents given what we build first and how prominent that work is within the product. Finding ways to expose, integrate and leverage our deeply senior, talented team is a challenge that I don’t always win.
在一支由15人组成的不成比例的高级设计团队中，我一直在努力为我们所有的领导者寻找同样相等的知名度和认可度。 在Red Hat Marketplace上进行设计是一项团队运动，鉴于我们首先构建的产品以及该产品在产品中的突出地位，某些人可以更轻松地展示自己的才能。 寻找方法来展示，整合和利用我们经验丰富的资深团队是一个挑战，但我并非总是会赢。
On the other hand, I’m proud of the ways with which we fit the strengths of our designers with the needs of the project. Finding the right designers is a challenge in its own right, but identifying the things they love to do, the things they want to explore, the things that their unique talents and experience afford them and marrying them the critical needs of the business is not trivial. It’s a tricky Venn diagram and one that isn’t always proportionate. Certain spheres occupy more real estate at different times. In the end, it’s my job to ensure our designers are put in the best position to be successful and are given the room to reach their full potential.
Despite our team’s deep domain expertise in cloud computing and open source technology, experience building and managing past marketplaces, and overall familiarity with our target customers, we are not our users. It’s a mantra we have to sing ourselves to sleep with, or tattoo onto our limbs. We always have to be vigilant that we never resort to complacency around our customers.
One of the many tactics that we employ to mitigate this risk is integrating the customer voice into all facets of our design process. Through the design partner program, we establish deep, symbiotic relationships with companies looking to benefit from our solutions, but more importantly, partner in their creation. They also get the chance to influence our priorities and assist in concept validation, usability testing, contextual inquiry and design workshops.
I host a weekly design critique for our team. In the calendar invite to the meeting, I include a Latin proverb that I borrowed from my colleague at IBM, Adam Cutler. It says, “Nothing is invented and perfected at the same time.” Building digital products is evolutionary. Unlike print or hardware, where there’s cost and finality with what is deemed ready or done, we’re only just starting, and we’re a long way from perfect.
IBM Design Thinking embraces a methodology of constant observation, reflection and making. Everything is a prototype that we can and will learn from. We will continue to measure and monitor our design and product KPIs, evaluate our effectiveness and return to our users to ensure we’re delivering them value. I couldn’t be more excited to keep learning and evolving with our team.
IBM Design Thinking包含不断观察，反思和制作的方法。 一切都是我们可以并且将学习的原型。 我们将继续衡量和监控我们的设计和产品KPI，评估我们的有效性并返回给用户，以确保我们为他们带来价值。 继续与我们的团队一起学习和发展，我会感到无比兴奋。
If you’re interested in learning more about the Red Hat Marketplace, check it out today!