Day two’s exercises were themed “diverge” where the group split apart and generated ideas independently. We learned that “diverge” activities were less effective on well-known problems that had already been solved. Our best advice for “diverge” activities are to use them on tough problems where the team throws hands in the air saying, “I don’t know how to solve this!”.
Day three’s methods brought us back together as a team to decide on the best workflow.
Working from the previous day’s storyboards, we spent the first part of the day assessing conflicts and assumptions. Conflicts included simple vs. full form registration and placement of the registration in the workflow. We were uncertain if users would be required to sign up right away, or if that would create a barrier and create user drop-off. We also discussed the dollar amount that users would be willing to pay. We considered offering the service as a free trial on launch to develop a user base. Assumptions that required further validation were listed on the whiteboard to cover during our user tests.
Although we discussed the conflicts as a group, the final decisions were ultimately made by the product owner. This moved the process along and forced the product owner to make decisions on the spot.
The Google Ventures process presents the option of designing the storyboard “battle royale” style or as “best shot”. The “battle royale” method gives everyone an opportunity to design his or her best version of the storyboard, similar to the previous day’s process. “Best shot” brings the group together to work collaboratively on one storyboard. Since we were unanimous on many of our ideas, we decided to work together to create a “best shot” user story.
Creating the storyboard took up the full 4-hour session. We worked on a large whiteboard with one person drawing and the entire group contributing and guiding. We often came up with new ideas and improvements, which required going back to the beginning of our storyboard and making and changes. Often we were required to re-draw entire sections. We relied on the work from the previous day for guidance, but today’s storyboard went into greater detail and presented a new set of problems and discussions.
The Google Ventures blog focuses mostly on the “battle royale” style. “Best shot” is mostly common sense. We learned the importance of not letting person with the marker stand at the whiteboard building the storyboard alone. Group engagement and participation was essential for progress and idea generation. The role of the facilitator was particularly important at this phase in prompting everyone to participate.
Day three was our longest and most exhausting day yet. By end of the 4-hour session we felt that we had developed a solid storyboard, evaluated major conflicts and assumptions, and made considerable progress in a short timeframe.
Follow us into our next blog post as we tackle day four: prototype.