A Sprint Story Chapter Three: Decision Day & The Disciples of Deliberation
by Brad Soroka. First appeared on Digital Telepathy Blog.
Now that our team has generated a bunch of ideas, it’s time for the group to hone in on the solutions that carry the most promise and decide how to test and validate their potential. Today we bust out the dot stickers and have the Sprint team walk around the room, museum gallery style, and vote on their favorite ideas. This will highlight the best solutions so the group can discuss them further. We then determine if the best ideas can be blended into one mega prototype, or into a few competing prototypes (keeping design time in consideration, of course). Next, a storyboard will be created to inform the prototype and fill any gaps in the agreed upon flow.
Wow, Tuesday really paid off! The quality of ideas being reviewed on Wednesday morning was delightful. While the fidelity of each drawing was wildly different, the communication of the ideas was stellar. We had stressed the importance of clearly writing the concept with words and descriptions, and everyone listened. It’s worth noting at this time that the Roche team was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with. They came with open minds and were willing to try anything. With that growth mindset, we moved into the next exercise: voting. This is where sh*t got real…
This was the easy part. Using red dots to identify the ideas that look promising. As many dots as you want, resulting in a heat map of interesting approaches.
John walked through each idea, ensuring that we all understood the concepts. We then allowed the creator of each concept to clarify any missed portions of the core idea. Things were going well and the clusters of dots were beginning to reveal how a super-awesome-Frankenstein concept might come together.
It was time our Decider, Marco, to take the floor and place his three supervotes down. These three small neon orange dots would determine the direction for the rest of the week. #nopressure
The Decider’s votes, along with the pieces of work that had the highest dot count, were moved to another wall. Juan, a DT rockstar designer and Sprinter, walked the team through the process, noting that none of the ideas were conflicting so we could actually take everything with high votes on the wall and merge them into one super concept. We were ready to storyboard, but first it was time for lunch!
Lined with blue tape, we broke out the whiteboard, pulled out some chairs, and began planning our storyboard. Then… we got stuck. Was it the lunch? Was it the afternoon nap we didn’t get to take? Or was something missing? Enter the contrarian. There is one in every group — the person who thinks differently and isn’t afraid to challenge the norm. In my experience, it’s usually a developer (sorry devs!). And in this case, the dev was in the details. As Roche engineer Nils pointed back to our initial map, he began to question the overall direction, wondering if we were off the mark. Were we solving the problem?
This is where it got tense and incredibly interesting. We began to spin, going back and forth debating what steps to take. Did we have the right concept? The group voted so, but something still felt off. It was at that time that Marco, the Decider, pointed back to the map and referred to an area of focus that he voted against (which happened to be the same area of the map that had the majority of votes from the group on Monday). We discussed the pace of the sprint and noted that if we shift focus, we’ll potentially set ourselves back to Monday again. But Nils argued that if this is an agile process open to inspiration and ideation, we should be able to flex the plan.
We agreed and discussed ways to adapt. We looked at the two focus areas, the one the Decider chose and the one the group had voted for. We discussed the implications of merging the two focus areas.
Then, we returned to the sketches and we found it. The concept with the least amount of votes. The one left behind. The one that didn’t quite hit the mark for the initial focus area. It was perfect for this new direction. It included everything we wanted to get out of this sprint!
Just at that time, our amazing office manager Jen arrived with cookies and espresso. Energy levels (and blood sugar) were on the rise.
With cookies in hand and a concept to run with, the storyboarding went fast. We had lost an hour of time due to the deliberation, but through to the new team alignment we were able to pull it all together.
A hard but successful day was done, so we celebrated with beer, hot dogs, and a Padres game!
We were past the hump of the week and could look forward to the next day, shifting our focus to prototyping and scriptwriting for the user tests. Confidence was high until another curveball came our way. We realized that what we were about to build was better tested with a different audience. Rather than testing with diabetic patients, feedback on this new prototype was better suited coming from family and support members of those patients.
Was it too late? Could we find the right people to test this idea? Find out tomorrow on A Sprint Story.
Originally published at www.dtelepathy.com on May 17, 2017.