Lean Feedback Loop

Experience Design (and many other things in this world) in a vacuum takes good ideas down fast! We’ve all been there before, you have a great idea and you want to protect the integrity of that idea. It is a well-intentioned and noble pursuit. You might even imagine yourself a hero. The problem is, statistically, most of these endeavors are dead on arrival.

There’s a system that is known, more commonly as, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop that has been used by organizations for years to solve large challenges. It’s not rocket science, though, this system is built into rockets!

Rest assured, Lean Feedback Loops are scientific and, more importantly, scalable. It starts simply enough, produce (build) an idea as minimally as possible and share it outwardly. Measuring can be as simple as testing the reaction of your peers or stakeholders.

An awesome trick to the learning step is to “Lean In”. Remove your own mental bias and allow the person who is giving you input to react. Think of questions the will empower you to dig into what participants mean when they say certain things. This is particularly important around organizations or users that use different terminology. Words have a lot of different meanings, so lean in and seek to understand.

It is useful to document feedback sessions, a recording is ideal. While one-on-one’s are a great way to start conversations. Sometimes, scale matters. Lean Feedback Loops can be built-in. Have you ever visited a marketing website that gave you the option to chat with someone? That’s a built-in example of a Lean Feedback Loop. Of course, there is even more automated way to incorporate Lean Feedback Loops, including capturing data from Google Analytics and other systems. Regardless, capturing data empowers new action.

Lean Feedback Loops are important for every product that exists. Capturing understanding about when, where, how, and what users think while interacting (whether, physical are digital) is scientific and allows us to create new ideas that do a better job of solving user’s challenges. Do it often and as early as possible. The sooner input starts coming in the better. Feedback Loops empower us to build better products.