Reading Ahead: Project Launch

Reading ahead logo with space above

We’re very excited here at Portigal Consulting to announce the start of a new self-funded project–Reading Ahead.

In Reading Ahead, we’ll be exploring the evolution of reading and books from a consumer perspective–what it means to be a reader, how artifacts from traditional books to devices like Amazon’s Kindle affect the experience, and what the future might hold for readers, product developers, and beyond.

Over the course of the project, we’ll be blogging both about how we work and what we see and learn.

Steve Portigal (left) and Dan Soltzberg, project kickoff, July 27, 2009

Understanding our client
One of the first steps in any project is figuring out what the project is really about. So the first piece of research we do is often focused on our client.

As we work with our clients to establish the scope and approach of a project, we also interview key stakeholders in their organization to better understand what they know and what they need to know. (This doesn’t always map to what they think they know and what they think they need to know, and it’s important to suss out the differences.) These interviews help us understand the dynamics of the team and the organizational culture.

In this case, we’re our own client, so we sat down and asked each other some fundamental questions

  • What is it we want to know that we don’t know now?
  • What are we going to do with what we learn?
  • What are the people, places, things, behaviors, etc. that we think we want to focus on.
  • How broadly or tightly do we want to draw the scope of the exploration (at least at the outset-this can change as the project moves forward). In this case, to what extent might we want to be looking at bigger categories like content, entertainment, free time?

The way we answer these project definition questions will have a huge affect on how the work unfolds. As in most projects, we’ll be looking for the sweet spot that is constrained enough to give the project a clear focus but open enough to leave room for the unexpected.


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