Product #51

Product #51

Lean UX, The Diffusion Process and More.


Lean UX · Jeff Gothelf · 2016

Lean UX is a design approach that promotes cross-functional collaboration and user-centred design. It reveals the product's true nature more quickly. Teams rapidly develop a shared understanding of the user, their needs, potential solutions, and definitions of success. Lean UX prioritises continuous learning and producing evidence for decision-making.

Teams should be cross-functional, small, dedicated, colocated, self-sufficient, empowered, and problem-focused to effectively tackle problems, optimise processes, and engage with the market.

The goal is to move from doubt to certainty by validating assumptions quickly with enthusiastic skepticism. It prioritises outcomes, defined as measurable changes in human behaviour that create value, over output. Removing waste that doesn't contribute to improved outcomes is crucial to move faster. Shared understanding helps teams cut through the noise and align on next steps. Lean UX culture emphasises team cohesion over individual egos and grants permission to fail, as experimentation breeds creativity and yields innovative solutions.

Your process should involve continuous research, design, testing, building, and deployment, with iteration being the key to agility. Working in small batches mitigates risk. Embracing continuous discovery by engaging customers throughout the development process increases empathy, creates shared understanding, and validates product ideas. It's essential to get out of the building, observe and engage with users, and externalise work for transparency and shared understanding. Prioritising making over analysis and focusing on output rather than artefacts is crucial, as good products, not documents, solve customer problems.

The definition of an outcome is ‘a change in human behaviour that creates value’. Shifting focus from outputs to outcomes changes your definition of done. To measure outcomes we must ship and observe (validation).

The Lean UX Canvas is designed to facilitate conversations with the team, stakeholders and clients. It includes:

  • Problem: Current goals, reasons for not meeting them, quantified improvement request
  • Business Outcomes: Changes in user behaviour if the solution works, outcome-to-impact mapping
  • Users: Focus on behaviours, goals, needs, and information that predicts behaviour
  • User Outcomes: Empathise, declare assumptions about user goals as outcomes and benefits
  • Solutions: Delay until this point, consider what bridges current and target conditions
  • Hypothesis: Structure - achieving business outcome if personas attain benefit with solution feature; prioritise based on risk vs. perceived value
  • What to Learn: Biggest risks relate to solution value - need, discoverability, trial, usage, perceived value; feasibility is a limiting factor only if these are true
  • How to Learn: Prioritise ruthlessly, put less effort into MVP if evidence is lacking

Admitting that the complexity and uncertainty of a situation prevents predicting the most successful product at the start of the quarter is not an abdication of vision.

In a sprint, focus on solving the problem rather than what can be built. Research should inform the product team's decisions. Keeping things low-fidelity allows everyone to contribute and maintains work malleability.

Lean UX redefines "done" as validated, which includes determining if people found it, used it, were successful with it, returned to use it again, and paid for it. Validation always starts with the customers.

There are three levels of commitment to gauge interest in a solution:

  1. Time: Getting 30 minutes of somebody's time.
  2. Reputation: Endorsement, referral, or securing a meeting with their boss.
  3. Money: Willingness to purchase.

Remove handoffs between designers and developers to avoid loss of context and wasted time producing materials.

Measure exposure hours, the time each team member is directly exposed to users (Jared Spool's concept), aiming for at least 2 hours every 6 weeks.

Use risk dashboards and outcome-based roadmaps to track progress and prioritize work.

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The Diffusion Process · Beal & Bohlen · 1956

This paper is a summary of the flannel board presentation on how farm people accept new ideas. It is based on the findings of 35 research studies conducted during the past twenty years in various parts of the United States, including Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, New York, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.^1 The findings of these studies are presented in a framework which will be useful to people who are faced with the problem of diffusing new ideas and practices.

The paper by Beal and Bohlen, initially perceived as a modest study about the adoption of farming techniques, unexpectedly gave rise to the influential concept of the Technology Adoption Curve. This concept was later solidified by Everett Rogers in his book "Diffusion of Innovations", revolutionizsng our understanding of how ideas spread across various domains—from healthcare to marketing. The paper's significant contribution to the "Diffusion of Innovations" theory has provided a robust framework for understanding societal change, proving invaluable to innovators across diverse fields including sociology, communication, marketing, and public health. It transcends theory, offering practical value by aiding agricultural extension services in enhancing their communication methods with farmers, thereby promoting effective adoption of agricultural innovations and significantly impacting farming efficiency and productivity.

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Book Highlights

Conway’s law suggests that this kind of many-to-many communication will tend to produce monolithic, tangled, highly coupled, interdependent systems that do not support fast flow. More communication is not necessarily a good thing. Skelton, Pais and Malan · Team Topologies
Without a valid product strategy—a strategy that has been validated and does not contain any significant risks—you will struggle to discover the right product details; to create the right epics, user stories, story maps, scenarios, design sketches, and mock-ups; and to make the right architecture and technology decisions. If you are not clear on the path, then how can you take the right steps? Roman Pichler · Strategize
If the task is large, break it down into related pieces of work that several small teams can handle simultaneously. Align those teams with a single outcome to achieve. Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden · Lean UX
The key is to explore people's current behaviour without your product and evaluate whether or not they indicate a need that matches the value your product is (or will be) adding. Tomer Sharon · Validating Product Ideas

Best of X

Early feedback is better than late criticism. James Clear