Agile series : How we work – “Think it”

20 November 2015Agile

Last time we’ve looked at the overall process on how we work at aFrogleap. Now let’s take a dive into the first stage: The “Think It”-stage, and see an example of how we kickstart a project. Depending on the project we have several methods for that, but this will be a new one that we’re liking a lot so far: The Google Product Design Sprint! We have already done a couple of these designs sprints with clients such as Eneco, BMW, and NU.nl. But let’s zoom in on what is needed to get us started.

The [Google Product Design Sprint] is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.

Gathering the team

team

 

The difference between success and failure is a great team.

For turning your brilliant idea into an awesome product we need to create a great team. Every project has its own needs, so the frogs that can best fulfill those needs, gather together. Luckily all our frogs are great team players, experts in their area and cross-functional when needed. To complete the team we need you, as the Product Owner. No worries if that’s a new role for you, we will help with that.

Day 1: Unpack

On the first of the five days, we will start by “unpacking” your idea. By creating a product vision together we want to create a common understanding. For this we’ll be doing a number of things:

  • Walk through your business opportunities and market
  • Look at competitors
  • Define success metrics
  • Go through any user research you have already done
  • Apply analytics to available data

All this results in an initial product vision, which we’ll use as a guideline during the rest of the project. Of course, it can be updated if needed, i.e. when hypothesis turned out to be wrong, or the market changes.

Day 2: Sketch

sketching

This day will unlock the designer in you: Everybody gets to sketch a lot this day! Today we want to come up with as many ideas as possible for creating the best possible solution. Therefore every team member will work separately to generate a lot of ideas and prevent group thinking for now. We’ll be following eight steps this day:

  1. Choose a part of the problem — we foresee that the whole problem is too big to solve at once. We’ll choose a part of the problem to tackle first.
  2. Take notes — At day 1 we generated a lot of ideas. Everyone can have a look to recap and write down things important for them.
  3. Mindmap — Now let’s get the rest of the ideas that you have in mind on paper, using the Mindmap technique. No wrong or right here, just get those ideas out!
  4. Crazy eights — This one is real fun: “Everybody folds a blank sheet of paper in half four times, then unfolds it, so they get eight panels. Then you have five minutes total to draw eight sketches, one in each panel. Yes, you did the math correctly, that’s about 40 seconds per sketch, which is crazy…but it’s a great way to crank out variations of ideas quickly.” Read more on crazy eights.
  5. Storyboard — Everyone will draw a user interface on paper to solve the chosen part of the problem, which will be shared anonymously.
  6. Silent critique — Without speaking everyone looks at the different storyboards and can vote on parts they like by placing a dot next to it.
  7. 3-minute critique — For one storyboard at a time, everyone says what they like about it. Then we finish by asking the person who drew it if there was anything missed.
  8. Supervote — Everyone gets 2 more votes: Supervotes. With this, you can vote for the best ideas out there.

This process will take an hour or two! If needed we’ll continue with other parts of the problem. At the end of the day, we have a dozen of solutions for the problem that needs to be solved.

Day 3: Decide

decide

The goal of today is to combine all possible solutions we created at day 2 into one so that we can test the assumptions we have on day 5. By combining the solutions there will be some different approaches to solving the same problem: conflicts. We will list those conflicts and choose what to do with those in the user tests: Prototype several different approaches, or go with a single prototype. Also, we’ll look at the different assumptions we have about the product, and how we can test them.

Based on that information, we’ll finish the day by drawing a complete storyboard together. This will show exactly how the user will step through the prototype, click by click.

Day 4: Prototype

hands-people-woman-working

This is really cool: We’re going to build an entire realistic-looking prototype in just eight hours! Following the storyboard we created at day 3, we’ll create a clickable prototype which we can use in the user interviews at the final day.

Day 5: Test

people

With the prototype we have, we’re going to do 1-on-1 interviews with real (potential) customers. With the results of those interviews, we can validate our assumptions. Some of them will be spot on, some will be way off. It’s a good thing to notice this before starting to build the app for real.

Is this worth building?

building

We can now make the decision if the app is worth building, supported by the results we have from the user interviews. Also, because the whole team was involved in the entire process, they can now give a real good estimation of what’s needed to actually build the product. But more on that in a coming blog post about our “Build It”-stage.

Whatever suits your needs

The Product Design sprint is something we’re liking a lot for kickstarting an idea for a startup. Of course, every project is unique. We can apply the steps from this Product Design sprint in several different ways. Whatever suits you best! Send us a message if you’re curious about what we can do for you!