Research Sprint for Large Format Products

I worked as UX Designer with the MOO Print Team who were set on working in a highly collaborative way when we embarked on expanding our build flow to include large format print products. The project really found its rhythm with a series of all day workshops inspired by the Google Ventures (GV) Design Sprint. I was also in deep with Jeff Gothelf’s Lean UX book at the time and figured that UX could offer support in areas of validation in addition to the other usual UX activities such as story-boarding, sketching and proto-personas.

The first step in the Lean UX process is to declare your assumptions. Every project starts with assumptions, but usually we don’t explicitly acknowledge this fact. Instead, we try to ignore assumptions, or worse, treat them as facts.
— Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX

To provide further structure to the validation process, I facilitated the Assumptions Declarations with the team which gave us a clear path for how we would go about testing a quick prototype.

Assumptions declarations for large format print prototyping

We decided to recruit people internally who had just been hired within the last month and were not designers or developers. We drafted a test plan while supporting the wider team that prepared a coded prototype. We used Silverback to record 3 validation testing sessions each about 30 minutes long over the course of a day.

Quick internal feedback on a prototype from Mutsa Munyawiri

I then facilitated a team viewing of the videos and lead a discussion on whether our assumptions were validated or invalidated based on the feedback. This approach not only resulted in quick decisions for next steps, but it also kept track of scoping which inevitably starts creeping as the team learns and gains more knowledge.

Agenda for a team review to (in)validate our prototype
In the time it takes to build and launch a new product or feature, you can run several research sprints and improve your prototype after each one. Instead of launching something that might not work, you’ll have confidence in the solution you’ve refined through research.
— Michael Margolis, The GV research sprint: a 4-day process for answering important startup questions

Once again GV has explained this very well with what they call the Research Sprint.