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.

Minimum Lovable Product

Build what people love and the rest will follow. When collaboration happens around what people love it because sellable and doable. That’s why I like to share the idea of a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) every chance I get in my role as a coach.

Human-Centered Design revolves around solving user’s challenges. IDEO, a well respected, global design company, explains that Design Thinking teaches everyone to be designers (even developers). This is important! When members of a cross-functional team can empathize they all begin to solve for their user’s needs. No longer is the task just about handoffs, everyone has a stake in making the solution the best it can be.

I believe that focusing a team around a common problem and getting out of their way produces positive and unexpected results. Keeping it lean, means focus the teams on the minimal amount of work from everyone to get to something loveable. This is a Minimal Lovable Product. Not only are user challenges solved in record time and with less time and money but the process identifies emerging leaders.\

Innovation Factory

Sometimes it happens, product improvements take a back seat to first-to-market priorities. But, being first-to-market doesn’t have to mean that products can’t be improved at the same time. Sometimes, organizations and teams have challenges recognizing improvement priorities and making room for product improvements for their users.

Not only does it let the users down but it lets the team down and can be a real drain on morale. There is hope!

I’ve helped organizations that haven’t done product improvements in several years using a tool called Innovation Factory. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? It’s been called “IF” for short. Love that!

Even if they never have before, organizations can begin taking advantage of Lean UX concepts right away and apply them to their daily efforts.

An Innovation Factory (IF) can empower team members to self-organize as cross-functional teams and build product improvement in the known trouble areas.

Here’s an overview of what I have done to get the Lean UX and product improvements ball rolling in organizations:

That’s it! The innovation can be released as part of the same quarter’s new product line and everyone across the organization has themselves to congratulate for taking the initiative up.

Innovation and product improvements should be happening in every business cycle, even when if the business has other priorities.

Storytelling: Cream and 2 Sugars Podcast

I am a passionate storyteller and collaborator for building products that build community. That’s why I collaborate to produce a podcast, called Cream and 2 Sugars. The podcast humanizes the story of local entertainers and provides open advice to would-be entertainers in our community, myself included.

I use storytelling with technology and leadership teams I work with too! More often I find myself telling the stories of how teams have built meaningful applications and business value for clients. Sometimes, too, I tell stories about how customers are disappointed with their experience in both digital and physical applications.

On the podcast, we explored the topics of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent for local entertainers and made real connections through that collaboration. Cream and 2 Sugars captivate a community of people around those topics, creating empathy for entertainers, and shares discoveries that other entertainers can learn from.

The impact storytelling has on teams and products speak directly to my passions and I believe deeply in the mission.

Inspiration and Focus for 2015 [Quotes]

Happy New Year! Here is a great list of quotes to carry into 2015. I’ve been living the first one at work.

einstein

  • If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. [Albert Einstein]
  • Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. [Will Rogers]
  • When the rate of change outside is more than what is inside, be sure that the end is near. [Azim Premji]
  • The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. [George Bernard Shaw]
  • Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. [T. Dewar]
  • Stay hungry. Stay foolish. [Steve Jobs]
  • You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. [Andre Gide]
  • Innovation is anything, but business as usual. [Anonymous]
  • If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it. [A. Einstein]
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. [Dale Carnegie]
  • Managers say yes to innovation when doing nothing is a bigger risk. [Gijs van Wulfen].
  • Ideas are useless unless used. [T. Levitt]
  • It is not how many ideas you have. It’s how many you make happen. [Advertisement of Accenture]
  • Innovation is the ability to convert ideas into invoices. [L. Duncan]
  • Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer. [Dan Brown]

Source: LinkedIn

Updated Pie

mayor-report

There’s nothing better than pie and since today is officially 3.14, I’m happy to share a small project I’ve been working on. This mobile web application loads candidate data from the local Supervisor of Election’s office website and parses it into an interesting visual representation (because pie charts).

(more…)

No #Rupology

iphone-qt-demoIt’s time I came clean. I love RuPaul’s Drag Race. Call it a guilty pleasure, an experiment in crass, or a hilarious, double entendre, eleganza extravaganza! Call it what you want. (You can be critical, it’s part of the game.) Two things, I wanted to know how other people were reacting to the TV show and which drag queen made the biggest impression.

So, the weekend warrior that I am, I built a mobile web application so I could keep track of how popular my favorite queens are and what people are saying about them on Twitter.

(more…)

Happy VDay!

click3

I’m all about the buttons and I love how we click! I match user goals with business goals to accomplished real-time results. I have focused experience with political campaigns and higher education. In two years (2009 – 2011), I helped 5 local political campaigns raise over $45,000 in online donations.

Beyonce and Ray Lewis

Screen Shot 2013-02-03 at 12.32.01 PMIt’s Super Bowl Sunday!

This morning I did my typical Sunday morning waking up late routine, but this is no ordinary Sunday. It’s Super Bowl Sunday! I’m planning to make a trip to the grocery store to pick up bacon and tater tots for some tasty Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots and I need to decide what clothes will make my team’s colors look the best. But, before I get lost in PBR I wanted to share this with you.

(more…)