Introduction to Lean UX

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This talk was co-written by myself and Will Evans. It covers tenets of Lean User Experience within the context of knowledge work and sensemaking.

Published in: Design, Technology, Business

Introduction to Lean UX

  1. 1. "All men dream: but not equally. Those that dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was in vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia"
  2. 2. WHO ARE WE? THOMAS WENDT WILL EVANS UX Strategist Managing Director Surrounding Signifiers The Library Corporation thomas@srsg.co @thomas_wendt will@tlclabs.co @semanticwill
  3. 3. The problem with many startups is that you spend months or years doing research, writing requirements, designing and building software… and discover no customer or user cares.
  4. 4. It Started With a Question If startups fail from a lack of customers not product development failure… Then why do we have: •  A process for product development? •  No process for customer development?
  5. 5. Lean* UX #WTF?
  6. 6. *By Lean UX most people really mean “UX in the context of the Lean Startup Method” Term coined by Janice Fraser, Founder of LUXR
  7. 7. “Waste is any human activity which absorbs resources, but creates no value.” - James P Womak and Daniel T. Jones, Lean Thinking
  8. 8. Over the past 35 years, UX, much like Waterfall*, accumulated a lot of wasteful, time-consuming, CYA practices that delivered no discernable value to the business or to customers. Waterfall is a pejorative term used by Agilistas to describe traditional SDLC
  9. 9. A post-positivist apologetics of a “movement”. WHAT IS LEAN STARTUP?
  10. 10. “A Startup is a human institution designed to deliver a product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty” – Eric Ries
  11. 11. Zach Nies
  12. 12. If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing. - W. Edwards Deming
  13. 13. SO, THIS…
  14. 14. Your team should maximize for: LEARNING FOCUS While Minimizing: CYCLE TIME
  15. 15. SOME BASIC TENETS Uncover your customers’ pain points through research Invalidate your assumptions Generate many problem options Frame problem options as hypotheses Embrace multi-solutions experiments Learning isn’t failure Amplify what works
  16. 16. DIFFUSION OF INNOVATION
  17. 17. Core Lean Startup Concepts GOOB (GET OUT OF THE BUILDING) Hypotheses, Not Requirements Focus on Learning Use Iterative Design & Testing Small Batches = Less Risk Practice “Respect for People” Perform Root Cause Analysis – 5 Whys
  18. 18. Problems with Lean Startup 1.  Most teams don't start with a customer hypothesis; they work backwards from a solution hypothesis. 2.  Because teams start with a solution hypothesis, it's almost impossible for them to generate multiple hypotheses for testing. 3.  GOOB, when done poorly, is particularly prone to confirmation bias 4.  Formulating hypotheses & stating assumptions is hard. 5.  Designing reliable experiments is a skill that takes time to learn 6.  People new to customer research are really bad! 7.  When a customer interview is guided, it almost never provides opportunity for serendipitous insights to emerge.
  19. 19. WHAT LEANUX? is
  20. 20. PRINCIPLES OF LEAN UX •  Balanced team Design + PM + Development = One team •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Externalize thought process Flow: Think > Make > Check Research to understand Problem Space No proxies between customers and team Collaborative Sense-making Generative Ideation: It’s about optionality Formulate many small tests & measure outcome
  21. 21. HOW DO WE MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD SO THAT WE CAN ACT? SENSEMAKING
  22. 22. LEAN STARTUP BERRYPICKING MODEL
  23. 23. CYNEFIN
  24. 24. The place of your multiple affiliations or belongings.
  25. 25. COLLABORATIVE DESIGN CREATING OPTIONS
  26. 26. CREATE PITCH CRITIQUE TECHNICALLY THIS IS CALLED A CHARRETTE*.
  27. 27. A MOST MISUNDERSTOOD TERM MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT
  28. 28. WHAT IS AN MVP? “The minimum amount of effort you have to do to complete exactly one turn of the Build-MeasureLearn feedback loop.”
  29. 29. Your team should maximize for: LEARNING FOCUS While Minimizing: CYCLE TIME
  30. 30. 4 KINDS OF MVP Exploration An interaction with the customer that focuses on investigation his or her problems to understand past behavior and see if it is top of mind Pitch An interaction with the customer that attempt to sell the product to a customer in exchange for some form of currency: time, money, or work. Concierge Delivering the product as a service to the customer to see if the delivery matches the customer’s expectations. Prototype A small, testable model whose sole purpose is to get feedback from a customer.
  31. 31. A danger with iterating through prototypes during the solution interview stage is that it is quite easy to get carried away and end up with more than you need for you MVP. In order to reduce waste and speed up learning, you need to pare down your prototypes so that all you have left is the essence of your product: The MVP.
  32. 32. Reducing the scope of your MVP not only shortens your development cycle, but also removes unnecessary distractions that dilute your products messaging.
  33. 33. Your MVP should be like a great reduction sauce – concentrated, intense, and flavorful.
  34. 34. STEPS TO MVP 1.  2.  3.  4.  Start with your customer Start with the Number One Problem Eliminate nice-to-haves & don’t-needs Repeat Step 3 for your Number Two & Number 3 Problems 5.  Consider other customer requests – prioritize them as well 6.  Charge from day one (if you can) 7.  Focus on learning, not optimization or scaling
  35. 35. MINIMUM SUCCESS CRITERIA •  •  •  •  Show to X number of people? What is the conversion rate? What % of people will validate? What is the minimum “signal” for you to continue with this? •  Who will give you currency?
  36. 36. METRICS & MEASUREMENT
  37. 37. In a project, the purpose of analytics is to find your way to the right solution before your money runs out.
  38. 38. WHAT MAKES A GOOD METRIC? A good metric is comparative Being able to compare a metric to other time periods, groups of users, or competitors helps you understand how things are moving A good metric is understandable If teams can’t remember and discuss your most important business KPIs, its much harder to use data for for collaborative decision making A good metric is a ratio or a rate •  •  •  Ratios are easier to act upon Ratios are inherently comparative Ratios are good for uncovering interesting tensions between apparently opposed forces
  39. 39. VANITY VS ACTIONABLE METRICS Vanity metrics might make you feel all awesome and shit, but they don’t change how you act. Actionable metrics change your behavior by helping you choose a course of action.
  40. 40. Counting followers and friends is nothing more than a popularity contest. It’s useless. It doesn’t tell your team what action to take next.
  41. 41. EIGHT VANITY METRICS TO AVOID •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Number of page views Number of unique visitors Number of followers Number of likes Number of comments Time on site Emails collected Number of downloads
  42. 42. A QUICK REVIEW
  43. 43. LEAN UX CYCLE
  44. 44. PRINCIPLES OF LEAN UX •  Balanced team Design + PM + Development = One team •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Externalize thought process Flow: Think > Make > Check Research to understand Problem Space No proxies between customers and team Collaborative Sense-making Generative Ideation: It’s about optionality Formulate many small tests & measure outcome
  45. 45. Your startup should maximize for: LEARNING FOCUS while minimizing: CYCLE TIME
  46. 46. READING RECOMMENDATIONS
  47. 47.    
  48. 48. THOMAS WENDT WILL EVANS @thomas_wendt thomas@srsg.co @semanticwill will@tlclabs.co Thanks!

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