July 28, 2015

Virtual Lean UX Workshop Round 2: Summary

Jim Kalbach

Jim Kalbach is a noted author, speaker, and instructor in customer experience, experience design, digital transformation, and strategy.

Jim’s newly published book, The Jobs To Be Done Playbook, offers techniques organizations can follow to turn market insight into action.

MURAL continues to partner with Jeff Gothelf (@jboogie), author of Lean UX, to investigate how to run interactive workshops with remote participants. On Tuesday July 28 we piloted a second session of Jeff’s Lean UX workshop. (See our summary of the first session in a previous blog post).

In our second round of Jeff’s Lean UX workshop, we had a group of four volunteers. None of the participants knew each other in advance. The session lasted just over 3 hours.

MURAL TEMPLATES

Once again, MURAL served as the main tool for the interactive activities. With a little practice, everyone got the hang of it quickly.

Color-coding activities helped reinforce the Lean UX approach. Our goal was to build hypothesis statements. These are generated from the first four exercises, which each had a unique color. The fifth step comes elements from the first four. The colors show clearly how the previous work rolls up into well-formed hypotheses.

Lean UX step 5
Creating hypotheses statements

Dot Voting once again proved to be a useful feature. We used it in the first exercise to prioritize ideas. And of course, with MURAL voting is anonymous. One participant said, “The dot voting being kept private is great for reducing bias.”

IMPROVEMENTS

We made some small, but significant changes to the workshop this time. These all proved to help the flow of the session:

  • More preparation in advance. Participants were better prepared overall and were given clearer communications upfront. It’s important to set expectations from the beginning.
  • Use of webcams. With a smaller group, it was possible to have participant webcams on the whole time. This provided a much richer interaction for everyone involved.
  • Discussion guides. For each of the workshop segments we designated a “discussion guide” to keep the conversation going. In remote settings, turn-taking is awkward and not everyone finds it easy to join the conversation. The guides helped involve everyone and make sure the activities got completed.
  • Background music in during the individual exercises. This sounds trivial, but during the timeboxed activities we played some background music (the EDM instrumental playlist on Songza). This helped fill some of the long 5-minute pauses. And, when the music stopped, it helped signal the end of an activity--an important nonverbal cue that added to flow of the session.

Another key addition to this workshop was the ability to observe. We used GoToWebinar for the conference call. Jeff and the participants joined as panelists, allowing them to use their webcams. Other joined as attendees in “listen & view only” mode.

In total we had about 20 observers. Feedback from the observers was mostly positive. One observer said: “I thought it was really good.”

Many of them stayed on for the entire session. Of course, we assume they were multi-tasking during the workshop. But they seemed to have found value in just watching. We have some ideas how to improve the observer experience in the future.

Leanux
Final mural after the workshop was completed

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, this session went much better than the first. Participants gave the workshop very positive scores in a post-session survey. Here’s what participants had to say:

“It was really good. I could see this being especially valuable for distributed teams”

We will announce further workshops in the future. Check this blog to stay informed.

Thank you to Jeff and everyone who participated!