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We been doing “strategic workshops” for as long as I can remember and I don’t think anyone has ever really been comfortable with the name. Sometimes it means defining a statement of work, other times it means enduring or giving a presentation, other times it means there’s gonna be free lunch, but mostly it’s about requirements gathering. Not so heavy on the strategy or the workshop. So how do we do that? How do we create an atmosphere where we talk about the strategy of a project exclusively?

Welcome to Vancouver

UXI Vancouver 2007 – Day 1: Design Strategy

First off, tons of kudos to Brandon Schauer from Adaptive Path for a really valuable and engaging day. I walked into the day not knowing what to expect, but knew there was gonna be value in whatever it was, the question was the pain that was gonna be involved. There was none, even the table activities were a good time and probably the most valuable parts of the day. On to the concepts…

  • Focus and gain consensus on scope
    You can’t go into a project with two unique views of the project’s scope. Make sure the client’s vision and your vision are one and the same. At the same time you need to maintain a focus that allows you to succeed. A single project can’t “fix everything” and it can’t be everything to everybody.
  • Utilize tradeoffs
    Map out the features and opportunities available to design, but unlike typical scenarios where anything and everything is up for discussion make clients make decisions on what is most important to them.

    Potential features
    [average score] x [number of items] = [points available]

    By listing out potential features and working within “a budget” clients need to make these trade-offs and identify which features are truly most important. Additionally, if you chart the results you can see how these features can shape the strategy.

    Charted results

    Accentuate the important, remove the unneccesary.

  • Explore evolution
    Since we can’t do everything in one project, remain focused on how a product will grow. Use a similar method as with feature prioritization and apply it to the features over time. Assign each feature a level of effort (3 for high, 2 for medium, 1 for low) and budget these based on a schedule that allows for [x] points per release. By defining scope in this manner you can focus attention on the important tasks and ensure you actually accomplish them, instead of working form a never-ending “to-do list”.

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