We’re testing out a new agile discovery process at Function Point based off of the Google Ventures (GV) Design Sprint. A cross-functional team consisting of members of the Product, Development and Testing team get together in analyzing the problem, prototyping a solution and testing it with users within a 3-week time frame.
The key emphasis is in involving the entire team right from the beginning so everybody fully understands the user problem. It allows us to identify an innovative solution collaboratively, and provides the team with the knowledge necessary to make adjustments without compromising the solution when unexpected issues arise during implementation.
Because we work with complex user workflows, we prefer to kick off a new project by involving the team in a scenario exercise. This helps everyone experience the problem in the shoes of our user. We typically invite a subject matter expert to join us. Together, we talk out the problem and build out a solution by hand (e.g. with stickies, lego etc). We found this to be a much better process for learning as compared to reading lengthy documents or sitting through a presentation.
Next, we utilize techniques from the GV Design Sprint in mapping out the problem, ideating and rapid prototyping. The lightning presentations and sketching exercises are particularly helpful in coming up with innovative ideas. The team can then critique all the ideas and put the best ones into a prototype for user testing.
We see the Design Sprint as an iterative process, where we refine our ideas and test out assumptions until we arrive at a solid solution.