Chris Courtney here (and in the bubbles above). I’m the founder of New Pragmatic, and I am very excited that you’ve chosen to take the next step forward in your career here.
The first thing I want you to realize is that you are already a designer. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been working in design for twenty years, your experience resides on a spectrum separate from the role of ‘designer.’
You became a designer the day you began spotting problems and testing solutions to optimize life around you. In joining New Pragmatic, you’re merely declaring you want to grow as a designer. That involves solving problems and recognizing opportunities that benefit the people, companies, and communities. A professional designer wants to scale the impact of their solutions.
Before getting started in the program, let’s first cover how New Pragmatic works and what you should expect from week-to-week.
New Pragmatic programs document work via journaling. Part habit-building, part record-keeping, a program journal allows you and your mentor to monitor your progress through the program and keep track of your weekly goals between sessions.
You will use a variety of tools throughout the program, and your journal will provide a single home to store all the associated links. The storage aspect of your journal makes it a logical home for the feedback you receive on your work.
By committing to the consistent upkeep of your program journal, you will make the construction of your portfolio significantly more manageable.
As you work through the program, you’ll notice that most chapters have an exercise to complete before moving along. You’ll update your program journal and submitting your work for review. That happens every weekday via the Feedback Loop — a private Discord channel that only enrolled designers can access.
Every weekday at 10 am Central I sit down to review the work you and other designers have submitted. These live stream sessions allow anyone to tune in, but only students will have access to the recordings — which I post after each session.
Nothing helps establish a habit quite like daily activity. New Pragmatic programs are built to be flexible and rigid. You can approach these courses part-time, but to get the most out of the program, you’ll need to commit a few hours to work through the curriculum each day.
One of our daily rituals that directly aligns with professional life is our Daily Stand-up. This update requires you to report what you did, what you will do, and any struggles currently blocking your progress. It’s an opportunity to share wins and raise a flag if you need assistance but haven’t sought help yet (it happens more than you think). Stand-up meetings (or scrums) are a common practice among product teams, and they help facilitate group communication while the team tackles several different problems.
You’ll receive a prompt Monday through Friday to report your progress from the c2Bot monitoring the Daily Stand-up Discord channel. In the building of this program, I used the same Daily Stand-up bot to keep myself on track and will do the same with you as you work through the course. It takes only a few seconds to participate, but the act of reporting and declaring sets you on the right path to be productive when you get back to your project.
Just because you’re in a remote program doesn’t mean you won’t be actively interacting with other enrolled members. The program revolves around weekly workshops where you will collaborate, build, and test your ideas with other designers in the program.
Each workshop is held twice on the same day so that designers who are unable to make the daytime session can make the nighttime session. The same material will is covered in each session, but as these are intended to be interactive sessions, you’ll encounter different faces at each one. You are encouraged to attend as many sessions as time allows (even joining both sessions in a single day if available).
Content covered in a weekly workshop is limited to the New Pragmatic courses, but designers who have advanced to work on independent projects are welcome to attend.
Weekly Mentorship Sessions
The collection of engagement formats mentioned above are great ways to stay connected and motivated as you progress through the program. You’ll still need time to seek out guidance and advice from a senior professional.
Each week of the program, you’ll have a one hour call with me to dive into specific areas of interest or concern regarding your work and progress in the program. We’ll conduct our calls on Discord (using Zoom as a fallback if needed). You’ll receive an email at the beginning of each week with a unique link to reserve your session time.
The structure of each mentor session is unique, but all sessions begin with a review of your progress since the last session. Your program journal will act as the thread from one session to the next. Because it contains links to all of your work from throughout the week, the program journal is an ideal document to use when setting goals for the week ahead.
With your enrollment in the Intro To Product Design course, you have access to channels like feedback-loop and daily-stand-up. These are central to the experience at New Pragmatic, but you can only unlock these items by joining the New Pragmatic community on Discord.
When you signed up for the course, an invitation to our community was sent to you. If you haven’t already used that invitation, please do so now as it will be required for you to complete the next steps. If you did not receive an invitation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your invitation be resent.
Now that you have access to the community, it is time to create the Program Journal that you’ll use during your time at New Pragmatic. Following the instructions found in this overview create your journal and complete the steps covered in the summary before sharing it with email@example.com.
With those functional details out of the way, let’s take a look at the inspiration behind the program and the broader design community that you should be aware of.
Up next Intro - Design Community