Well today we pushed hard and closed of our sprint. We stopped short of the prototyping but stuck to the plan as much as possible up to that point.
Having closed off yesterday with Lightening Demos of the sites and features we’ve seen and liked we moved into sketching mode. This was a really enjoyable but hard session. As we’re working on a feature that’s been in the system for some time it’s difficult to view it with fresh eyes – we’ve all been so heavily involved with it’s development to this point. However, that’s the value of sticking to the Sprint checklist and persevering, it did create some fresh perspectives on where we can take the feature and how we can develop the current iteration to allow for this.
We saved the Crazy 8’s for specific elements within the feature and this worked well for coming up with a number of ways of solving the problems quickly. With only three of us we ignored the parts about keeping things anonymous, this was less about getting group buy in and more about finding a process to help us work through ideas and rapidly plan a detailed spec for the feature.
Once we’d completed our Solution sketches we put them together and had an open critiquing session. We were pretty quick to rule out some ideas and agree on the direction for the feature but this was a really good point for us. It validated a lot of what we’d thought about the feature and most importantly after all of this we were all totally aligned on what to include and what to leave out.
The next phase for us was to move into the storyboarding. At the same time as Andrew and I storyboarding, Leo was mocking up some design prototypes in Sketch for us to review. I can’t undersell the value of the storyboarding. I think this one step alone has saved us days and days of development. It really makes you sweat the small stuff. It makes you think even more closely about every element of the feature and how the flow works for users.
It wasn’t the complicated things that threw the curve balls either, it was tiny little things like deleting elements and displaying toolbars. This triggered some great discussions and and we worked through issues as they arose to come up with a completed storyboard we were happy with. One final admission is that in the middle of the storyboarding we compared where we had got to with our existing solution and decided to revert a couple of elements back to what we already have. It really pays not to forget about what you’ve already got in the system and why it’s there, As it happens this was the perfect time to do this but that was more by chance than by design.
This is where we are ending the formal sprint. Leo will be mocking up our resultant solution in Sketch and we will be testing it but not within the sprint confines. We will be running some testing of the solutions too. We’ll test some of our earlier hypotheses and make sure the key tasks are all intuitive.
I’d love to sit in on a larger sprint with a full compliment as it would be interesting to see the dynamics of the decider and facilitator and how more people change the process.
We’ve scratched the surface of this but I can see Sprints being a really useful framework for us to use moving forward and developing as our team grows. Would certainly recommend this to anyone needing to get consensus or alignment on product direction or for generating ideas and refining processes. Really enjoyable, harder than expected in places but very satisfying in getting to a final outcome. It’s certainly not just the final outcome that is satisfying but the learning and thought that has gone in throughout. It’s filled in some gaps, it’s validated some of our thinking and it has challenged others. At the end, we all agreed it has left us far more confident and comfortable with the direction we’re going and how robust the solution is.