Like many of us who grew up in the 80’s, Jeff Gothelf loves the first version (and, he insists, the better version) of The Karate Kid. That’s one with Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita and Elisabeth Shue, not the one involving the entire Smith family.
So it was it was either a Facebook-inspired trip down memory lane or hearing Joe Esposito’s “You're The Best" on a local classic rock station that led him to write a post about how the Karate Kid relates to UX and Agile.
Now he’s not saying that if you can learn how to paint a fence you can be a UX designer. He’s making the point that there’s a strong correlation between “rote repetition of exercises” (i.e., painting a fence) and mastering a skill or process.
“In a designer's case, one might take on drawing the same elements every day for a month. In an agile team's world, this could translate into any one of the standard Scrum practices like the daily stand-up, story gathering or estimating. But by going through the motions, the ritual becomes inculcated as learned behavior. After enough practice, the purpose of the ritual starts to make sense (even if it didn't in the beginning and seemed like a waste of time).”
As trusted speaker for Jared Spool’s UX Immersion conference, you’d be hard pressed to find a better sensei in your apartment complex.
Technical skills are important to have, but it's the soft skills that can set you apart from the pack.