How do you get to the essence of a new product idea? Teams need to be on the same page from the very beginning. Otherwise, differences in expectations get magnified later on, jeopardizing the entire effort.
To help us answer this question, we invited Josh Wexler (@josh_wexler) to present at our recent webinar. Josh has a ton of experience consulting clients on product visioning as Solutions Director of his company, Originate (www.originate.com). In the webinar, he guided us through his technique call the Idea Stack.
If you missed the webinar, here's the recording:
The book the Josh referenced is Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz.
Many people expressed an interest in the template mural Josh showed.
Josh was able to take some of your questions during the webinar, but couldn't get to all of them. Here are some follow-up answers to open questions:
Tim asked: I like the Idea Stack. When and where do you address the competitive environment?
Josh: We address it when we look for inspiration. We ask about who is already solving this problem, from whom can we borrow design, user experience, and features.
Kelsey asked: Thank you so much. Just curious, you talked about fidelity of a prototype, our co. is trying to figure out whether to do a low fidelity test or a higher fidelity, more costly and time intensive test. Are low fidelity tests informing?
Josh: It depends on where you are with your product development cycle. Low fi prototype testing can be amazingly informative. However, we always recommend doing low-fi tests as one-on-one interviews so you can have more of a conversation. We also use the tool Validately as a way to test prototypes.
Kate asked: How do you validate user personas?
Josh: As soon as you have something to show potential users (usually a paper prototype) we recommend scheduling 15-20 minute interviews with potential customers. In those interviews, ask about your personas as a way to validate them. It is typically easy to do so, for example, if the persona you are designing for is a city dweller, you can easily ask what kind of environment they live in.
Mateus asked: Is that applicable when creating a new product for a well-established client, (not a new startup or the core product of a new company)?
Josh: Yes it is. We often do these workshops with larger companies and they actually work better. Established companies have a lot more constraints and it is really important to capture them. This is a great way to do so. Also, established companies typically need help building a common vision for the team.
Hoyt asked: Do you find any limitations on the number of participants on the mural board? That is, does it get cumbersome as the number of participants increase? How many users have you had at one time?
Josh: We typically do not use the real time collaboration features during the workshop because it can be distracting. Typically we have only the facilitator using the mural. But we always give access to everyone on the team after we are done with the workshop.
Finally, before the webinar, we asked registrants one simple question: What is the biggest challenge you face finding a product vision in your organization?Here are some of the top themes that emerged from your answers:
If you have experienced and of these difficulties, you are not alone.