Bot Sprint — Design Challenge for Having a Successful Bot

Bot sprint is a design challenge for creating a successful chatbot based on agile concept. It includes 4 steps for having and maintaining a fully-functional bot. Having a successful bot is much more than creating it fully, you need to feed as well.

Approaching a bot as a minimum viable product solves the pain in the first place. Iterating based on the data and research strengthens the interactions with the users. By analyzing and tracking metrics, designing the bot around the outputs covers the prototype from any confusion. Before launching the bot, bot makers can see how the bot will be finished as a minimum viable product.

Here are the steps to make the Bot Sprint real:

1.The bot idea — Research phase

The idea phase is a one day workshop which includes the exploring ideas how to solve the problem on your bot. Bot makers can conduct research with the target audience based on KPIs, interview with stakeholders, run idea tests in the context of their bots.
  • Set a long-term goal: Problem — solution approach is the way bot maker should review the process. What do I want to solve for a user’s life? ‘’I would like to solve the problem for informing weather of my users.’’ or ‘’I would like my users to order a pizza through my bot’’. This question should serve the main goal for your bot in general. It’s basically a general frame for the functions.
  • Identify personas: Answer to the question of ‘’Who will use your bot?’’. Create personas for your audience profile needs. This is a really mandatory step for the idea phase. According to your personas, you’ll create your real flows to solve real problems in the next steps.
  • List sprint questions: This step is for the all possibilities to occur. Brainstorming about what could happen would be answering failing points. On a whiteboard, list all the questions such as ‘’How is our plan B to get more traffic for our bot?’’
  • Make a map: Mind map is a creative way to conduct the sprint. Match your stakeholders with the possible positive questions and negative positions on your whiteboard. These questions should be prepared to ask the stakeholders. Consider also your competitors in the market.
  • Ask the stakeholders: Conduct the interview within max 10 minutes with the stakeholders. These people should be the team inside the company and users from the outside the company.
  • Organize the answers: Questions and answers should be separated as threats and opportunities. Also, brainstorm to change the threats into opportunities.
  • Vote on the answers: Some ideas will be important than the others. For your product backlog, vote some ideas and answers to store for doing later. This part will be crucial for your bot to be live as a minimum viable product.
  • Finalize a target: After one day process, all the possible scenarios will be out to be planned. Target will be specified and designing will be started.

2. The bot creation — Building phase

The creation phase is the sketching part of the design. Based on the persona list of your bot, improving the solutions and getting on the solid side of the bot creation.
  • Sketch your conversation flows & user journeys: There are some mockup programs for sketching bots. Onboarding process for a bot is the most important. Start with that. You can label your processes into some categories. Onboarding, transaction, support, social sharing, feedback. All these flows will require standalone flows on their own. You can use story board method for this step.
  • Make alternatives: There are a lot of ways to say one thing. So make alternative to get to the same point. This will be useful to test out the ideas and conversation flows.
  • Share with your team: For the methods of collaboration to present better solutions, pitch your all alternatives to your team. This will be 5-min solution presentations for your sketches.
  • Decide on your one sketch: Probable discussion will lead to one solution alternative for your bot. After this step, creating a prototype will make you have a concrete solution on your hands.
  • Rapid prototyping: As a bot maker, you can use Chatfuel to drag your conversational flows into one chatbots. Prototyping will help you to test your flows. They can be also paper prototypes. Also, use sticky notes to adjust the experience.

3. The bot testing — Learning phase

After you launch the bot, the learning phase starts. With the outcomes of data collection, it’s important to extract the meaningful patterns. After creating your MVP prototype, this phase could be done after collecting both analytics data and research data.
  • Extract the research data: First of all, from the interviews, and prototype reviews, you should extract the meaningful and valuable insights. These insights should be applied to your iterating process.
  • Get all the raw data: Besides the research data, you should analyze your aggregate data. Keywords, most active hours, average session length, average conversation steps per user, average conversation per user are the most important metrics to track within a time frame.
  • Create events & funnels: With some goals on your bot, you can analyze user behaviors, see the completion rates of those funnels. Transactions or conversation flow funnels should be examined to get the meaningful data.
  • Combine research data and aggregate data: With the sticky notes, write down which insights are useful for your iteration development phase.
  • List your patterns: With the use of data, design your patterns. Review your old patterns and look for the little improvements which will be impactful for the product.
  • Review your user journey: Based on your previous user journey, add new patterns and flows to fill up the empty spaces or features to fulfill the needs of your personas.

4. The iterating — Enhancement phase

This phase is the last step for your bot sprint. All the steps feed this enhancement phase. It’s time for exposing all the possibilities outside and building based on the data in the agile perspective.
  • Allocate your resources: After getting all the points, it’s time to discuss how UX, design, developer, business people will spare their time to get something solid. Time logging and approaching it in the agile mindset will make the bot healthier.
  • Fill up your product backlog: You identified your personas, flows, user journeys, sketches, prototype; now turn them into to-do’s and fill up your product backlog. This will give the possible development opportunities serving to your goals within your bot.
  • Technical feasibility check up: Gather with your development team. Some platforms has templates which you have limited development opportunities, however if you build your bot on your own codes, this will lead the technical feasibility check up with your team.
  • Plan your sprints to make the improvements: Based on your priorities, drag your product backlog to-do’s to the next steps for the planing. Considering the work load on a weekly basis, decide the planning how much time each to-do will require to get it live with the testing included. When needed, you can plan your sprints once a week or biweekly.
  • Rise and shine: The more you learn your insights, the greater bot you will have! Iteration process will lead you to learn more about your users, collect more data and do workshops, conduct the interviews regularly, so you’ll be ahead of your users needs.
Add your creative solutions into each step. In the end, everything is solving the problems of the users and create the enjoyable journey.

Reference: This concept is designed by GV. The article is based on Design Sprint.