Product Camp 14, Austin 2015

Session notes on the five presentations I attended at Product Camp 14

I attended the 2015 Product Camp in Austin. The five sessions I chose ranged from subject matter focusing on Product Dev, Product Management and aligning design with product development.

The first session was titled “Curing the disease that’s killing products: Successfully integrating Lean UX with Agile” hosted by Janna Hill & Clayton Passmann with Mitratech. The talk espoused inclusion of design as early on in the process of product life cycle as possible as a method of keeping clients happy and staying competitive with as many features that will delight users up to the point of preventing bloat. The importance of PM espousing for UX investment was mentioned and they shared organizational development process chart showing what team representatives are brought in at the various stages of project lifecycle and how inclusion helped to bring clarity to sprints. Finally they also punctuated the importance of a Scrum Master in the feedback and sprint alignment / realignment process, underlining the importance a solid Scrum master can have to the composure of the project team.

Second presentation “Herding cat GIF’s- Learning SCRUM By doing SCRUM” was given by Theresa Huth & Anna Ellering. This was a hands on practical that encouraged participants to break into teams and familiarize themselves with the SCRUM Process. We were assigned to mock companies and given projects with a end goal defined. A sponsor on the team would distribute cards that would introduce unknowns and uncertainties to the project and it was very illustrative of the flexible nature of SCRUM and its capacity to leverage a teams strengths and agility to address issues as they arise in the process, instead of being so rigidly entrapped in a strictly sequential approach. By the end of our session we had successfully implemented a dating domain that allowed cat gif lovers to match and meet according to a tagging system we implemented that rated the loveability of certain classes of cat GIFs, fun session.

Erin Young with Slide UX gave the talk “Five Ways to Save Time During Rapid Prototyping”. The focus was on minimizing waste on the prototype, recognizing that is it is a disposable artifact and ways to increase its value as a deliverable.
Establishing a clear and limited purpose for each prototype helps reign in expectations and creep. that the gonna do’s and might do’s are important to differentiate. Doing Risk / Reward analysis to validate what scope could be helps with product validation. She talked about the constraints around storyboarding and push back on testing outcomes, that the UX may ultimately have the insights necessary to see through the test results instead of the rigidity of a product first outlook. Point three was to be sure to outline prototype requirements up front, in league with mock up fidelity, in short a rough presentation is applicable for some situations, a higher fidelity for projects which time lines may be more long term. Stay in flat design as long as possible only dedicating the resources to prototype, and employ higher complexities of prototype when a critical feature needs to be seen in action. test often to minimize surprises and documenting edge cases and happy paths elsewhere, not necessarily in the prototype artifact.

“Accelerate Learning & Overcome the 6 Traps of Agile” by David Hawks of Agile Velocity taught us techniques to implement empirical process controls to assist with effective team communication. A shared understanding of a teams purpose helps both with cohesion and execution. Big emphasis on building instead of analysing to escalate towards the production of failures which help move us closer towards a MVP.

Roger Cauvin presented “WTF is Design Thinking & how does it differ from Lean Startup?” He looked at the loose process that strewn together help give the ethos of Design thinking form. Exploration, Definition, Ideation, Hypothesis, Experimentation and Learning all served as point markers in the Design Thinking process cycle as he presented. The talk leaned towards trying to associate PM’s with the overarching idea of design thinking and tried to tie in the mentality a designer might approach the subject such as design to failure to leverage iterative learning and innovation.

Product Management, Project Management, seminars