Recently, I’ve been working with Lisa Owusu of Charlton & Lola on updating some pieces of jewelry I inherited. It’s been wonderful learning about another industry; this is my first exposure to high-end jewelry design.
As with any industry, names are important. Having a common nomenclature allows people to share complex ideas. Since I was a complete novice who didn’t know that baguette referred to a type of diamond cut and not the bread, Lisa listened closely to my style requirements and then she transformed that into technical requirements. This was a refreshing reminder that it’s easy to become caught up in PM jargon like “WBS” and “progressive elaboration” – ultimately we should use phrases that enable the clients to feel comfortable and understood. Saying “schedule of tasks” conveys the same essence as WBS, but in a more generally understood manner.
Another interesting aspect to this project is being the client – quiet a role reversal from my normal work experience. There were moments where as the sponsor and key stakeholder, I felt “my way or the highway” but Lisa was gracious in pushing back and suggesting an alternative. Usually she was correct — there is a reason why she is the vendor and subject matter expert. However, by working together with me on the idea and explaining her rationale, it made for a collaborative decision.
Now that we’re done designing and Lisa is building the pieces, I can’t wait to see how they develop!