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To address the complexity and unpredictability of software development, Agile methods break down functionality into small chunks. This allows your team to make corrections before you go too far in the wrong direction.
But Agile methods don’t guarantee you’re building the right thing. How can you predict that customers will actually buy your product?
That’s where Lean comes in.
Lean focuses on creating services that matter to your users by testing your assumptions. To do this, you need a deep understanding of your users and their experiences.
Inspired by both Lean and Agile development theories, Lean UX lets you focus on the actual experience being created, rather than on deliverables.
We wanted to explore how Lean UX could work for remote teams. So MURAL partnered with Lean UX author Jeff Gothelf and FanDuel, the leading web-based daily fantasy sports company, to conduct a Lean UX workshop with a distributed team.
Here’s how it went down.
Typically, Jeff runs his workshops face-to-face, on location. The sessions are highly interactive and require active participation from the entire team.
In this case, the team was split into two locations: one in Edinburgh and one in New York City. The challenge was to conduct Jeff’s workshop across those locations and still engage everyone.
Prior to the call, Jeff worked with MURAL to create team activity templates. These served as the basis for the group collaboration.
The first template was based on previous experiments in remote Lean UX conducted with MURAL. Each step on the process was timeboxed to keep the group focused.
The second MURAL template took the team through a Design Studio activity. This required everyone to sketch solutions and email them to Jeff to upload to the mural. Each participant then discussed his or her own sketch before deciding on a single solution across the team.
A meeting was set up that worked for each time zone: 1 pm in Edinburgh and 9 am in NYC. At the scheduled time, everyone joined via Google Hangouts.
Jeff joined the group in Edinburgh for the real-time session. Everyone was set up with their own computer to participate, and the presentation was also projected in the meeting room.
In New York, some more members of the FanDuel team joined in the call from a conference room, and a few other team members joined from remote locations.
The team exercise was made up of two parts.
The first part of the Lean UX workshop - product discovery and hypothesis generation - has 5 steps:
After a break, the group focused on MVPs. Jeff first gave some background and shared examples of ways to test them, such as with a Fake Storefront and Wizard of Oz.
The goal of this part was to sketch collaboratively to design experiments.
Each team - one in Edinburgh, one in NYC - selected one hypothesis to work on. They then sketched possible solutions on paper.
The participants then took a photo of their sketches and sent them to Jeff, who was able to upload them to the Design Studio mural.
Overall, the session went smoothly. Everyone was able to contribute to the exercises. Below are our key take-aways from the remote workshop with FanDuel:
Getting started with MURAL templates mentioned in this story. Just click on the images below to access the template in your MURAL team and use it for your own team activity.
No matter where your team is, you can work Lean. Confront marketplace uncertainty by stating your assumptions and testing them. Then, reduce wasted time and effort by only building those things that really matter to customers.
Don’t let a distributed team slow you down. With a little forethought and preparation, teams can continue to be productive no matter where they are.
Jim Kalbach is a noted author, speaker, and instructor in customer experience, experience design, digital transformation, and strategy.
April, 20 2016