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Figma Config Talk: Rituals to Unbreak Planning

Behind the scenes from Yuhki and Shishir's talk at Figma Config 2024.
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Yuhki and I gave a very fun talk at ! This doc includes the , the full , as well as all the rituals we discussed. Read more for a behind-the-scenes look at how this talk came together.

Run it back(ground)

Yukhi and I had such an awesome time at Config last summer, we thought we’d go for part two in 2024. This year’s topic: planning. Often discussed, often dreaded, planning can take more time and effort than the actual execution...and no one wants that. So Yuhki and I decided to talk about unbreaking this essential process. Before we dive in, a little background.
If you made it to (or watched) last year’s talk on , you know Yuhki and I go way back to before he was Chief Product Officer at Figma. Over a decade ago, we met while working together at YouTube, and we’ve stayed in touch, collaboration about everything from career choices to tricky product decisions. We’ve stayed closely aligned to each other’s products as well — Fun fact: Yuhki was one of when he was at Uber, and as well.
Last year’s talk was well received, so when we started discussing what topic would resonate at Config 2024, rituals were high on the list. But ‘rituals’ is a broad topic. Should we focus on decision-making rituals? Ones surrounding team building? Hiring rituals?
Yuhki, who’s well versed in rituals, contributing a number of rituals to my book (and has been an active editor on the early drafts), mentioned planning as the proverbial thorn in many companies’ sides. Given Coda’s focus on revolutionizing planning (see our Head of Engineering, Oliver Heckmann’s ), planning seemed the obvious choice.

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So the tag team was back again! We dove into brainstorming, script writing, and of course, designing our in Figma. A lot of hard work went into this talk, and I am proud of Yuhki’s and my finished product.
The destination was only half the reward. We embraced the journey in creating. Yuhki brought his talents in Figma and design and I brought my trusty typewriter Coda doc. Together, we had a blast making this talk. And that fun is what is sure to bring us back next year...if you’ll have us.
More on our building process below.

What we covered: WOOOOOOOOOW planning

When we talk to PMs and leaders across the industry, so many tell us that “planning is broken.” This prompted us to go study how many world-class companies approach planning. In this talk, we shared our insights — as well as teams’ unique rituals — that will hopefully help “unbreak” planning at your company.
Ingredients of planning.png

There’s a full explanation in the script, but here are some links for each ingredient of planning:
Planning algorithm:

Timeline:
(FKA SportsCenter)

Accountability protocols:

Two more things:

If you want to join in to read a draft of the book and get early access, you can join the .

The punchline of the talk was:
wow5.gif
If you’re intrigued (or confused?) definitely watch/read the talk, but here’s a hint: count the number of O’s in the WOOOOOOOOOW!

Behind the scenes: How we planned it

Beyond the content of the talk, Yuhki and I had a lot of fun using both our tools of choice — Coda and Figma, obviously — to make this talk really come to life. You can see the result in the page, but here’s a few highlights of what we did:

Figma Slides

Last year we really had fun connecting Figma and Coda using Coda’s to align each frame of the slide presentation to the relevant talking point. But this year, Yuhki dusted off a new surprise: we got to work in Figma Slides!
After having spent a few weeks in Figma Slides, I am incredibly impressed. The core surface is just what you need to make really beautiful slides very fast. I loved that we could zoom in and out with the Grid View. And it’s just full of a bunch of delicious new features like a really cool way to do magical animations.


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A script... with a timer

Since last year, Yuhki and I have given many talks...just not with each other. Just a couple of bullets are fine if you’re speaking by yourself. But since we were teaming back up, we were going to need align on messaging and manage timing. We didn’t want to fall into the “is it your turn to talk, or mine...” hole. So we pulled out one of my favorite tools (you might recognize from last year) — the “words per second” slider.
The starting point is to have a single Coda table that maps out talking points for each slide. We used Coda’s to align each frame of the slide presentation to the relevant talking point. We just pasted the URL to each frame in the link field on each row of the script, and the slide image would auto-populate and auto-update. Given how fast Yuhki could update the slides, it was important to always be looking at the actual visual for what the slide would show.
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So how do we turn that into a time estimate? It’s a simple idea: time yourself reading out a few paragraphs of material to establish your “words per second” benchmark. The key piece to focus on here is accuracy. That way, when you write out talking points of N words, you know it will take N/WordsPerSecond seconds. We’ve both slowed down a bit this year, with my WPS at 2.8 and Yuhki’s at 2.6. Maybe a streamlined planning process has mellowed us out? You’ll see in our template that we each had a slider for setting this value, and it would then predict the time we would spend on each line and overall:

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A balanced approach... with quick analytics

As we mapped out the talk, we came up with a few clear guidelines. We wanted the talk to be “mostly stories and rituals” and not narrative or framework — so we tagged each line with a category. We decided to focus on four lessons centered around the four ingredients of planning. And of course we wanted to balance speaking time between the two of us. Since we were using our “words per second” sliders to calculate the duration of each talking point, it was easy to add a few charts to watch this balance:
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Feel free to take a look at to read the full script, and see the behind-the-scenes of how we planned it.



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