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In our last webinar, we highlighted various tools and techniques, including several Innovation Games, to achieve greater customer understanding based on what you are trying to learn. In the fourth of this multi-part webinar series, we will delve more deeply into three of the Innovation Games frameworks – explaining how they support the exploration of customer problems, interests, and preferences and preparing you to experiment with these frameworks yourselves. Don't miss this opportunity to watch this great webinar!
*Transcript was created by AI, please excuse any spelling and grammar mistakes
Laura Caldie 00:46
Well, we've obviously got a topic that both you and I love to talk about today. So I'm happy that you've put this together for folks and and clearly we're recording so we'll be making all of this available to people afterwards. So before you get going, I'll just say a couple of things. If people have questions, my job here other than what I'm doing right, the second is just kind of pay attention to the questions and see if anything is easy to answer in text. I'll do that right away. Otherwise, we'll make sure that we have time for questions at the end. And if I can't, I'll weave them into the conversation. So put them into q&a. And other than that, I think Kim has some kind of interesting things to talk about and some examples. And So Kim, I'll turn it back over to you.
Kimberly Poremski 01:33
Okay, great. Well, I want to thank everyone so much for joining part four of our ongoing webinar series entitled I don't know my customers Help and today we are going to be focusing on how to leverage innovation games to gather customer insights. Hopefully, some of you may know me already, but if not, my name is Kim Paretsky. I am a principal consultant with applied frameworks. I'm also a certified scrum trainer through the scrum Alliance and I've been an Agile and Scrum practitioner since 2008. And if you had been joining me for this webinar series throughout, you have heard me say, Well, why did I create this in the first place? And the reason is because this topic is massive, and there's a lot that I wanted to share about it. And there's no way I could cover it in a single webinar. So hence, this series was born. I've been hosting it for the past few months and will continue to do so. We're trying to just delve more deeply into some of these topics that we might know at at a higher level. So if you are not up to speed, the first webinar that we conducted was in April, we did the second one in May took a little hiatus in June. So we did our third one last month in July. And then here we are in August. And if you're interested, you can go to the applied frameworks website to locate those recordings. Lincoln with me, Lincoln with applied frameworks, and you can learn when the next ones are going to be held. So this is our very short agenda for the day. I'll do a quick recap of those other three webinars just to kind of ground you and where we've been and where we are. Then we'll delve into our topic for the day which is these innovation games and collaboration frameworks. And then we'll do a little q&a and then kind of wrap things up. So to take you all the way back in time to April in our first webinar, I focused on why why is customer understanding so difficult, what gets in our way and I highlighted 10 common barriers that we often face. And then I also highlighted another aspect of why right, why is achieving customer understanding so critical to the profitability and sustainability of our business? And that's where I introduced the profit stream. Canvas that you're seeing here on the screen. So this canvas is a single page representation of the contents of an entire book that our CEO Jason Tanner, and our founder and CIO, Luke Hohmann have recently published and in that first webinar, I focused on a few key areas of the canvass particularly where customer understanding comes into play. And also a kind of focusing on the effective segmentation of customers. Because the whole point is that we can't have a profitable and sustainable business if we don't understand our customer segments and our customers at large. So then we moved into the second webinar and there I focused on the who and the when. So first, from the who, which customer segments should we engage? And in that webinar, we use a fictitious business and I illustrated how to use this weighted criteria matrix to evaluate customer segments. And then moving into the topic of when I introduced the concept of the solution lifecycle to help us understand when to engage customers and why like for what purpose then moving into our third webinar that we did last month, I focused on what is a what are some of the tools and techniques that we can leverage to achieve customer understanding, and which one should we apply at various stages of the solution lifecycle, and I highlighted 12 different techniques that you could use based on whether you're trying to understand customer problems, or interest or their preferences or their willingness to buy. So again, if you missed any of these, you can go back you can access those recordings on our website, you can watch them at a faster speed. So that's always an advantage and maybe a little bit of a push to get you to go back to those those past ones. So if you were in webinar three, or if not, if you get a chance to watch webinar three. I discussed this need to engage our customers continuously, right customer research is not a one and done activity. It's something that we have to do throughout the product development lifecycle. And it's not just about getting something through that initial product launch because things change, right people change, the economy changes, technology changes, and we need to constantly be keeping up with all of that and we want to tailor our customer research techniques based on what we're trying to learn, right? Do we care about learning more about problems, or the interests that our customers might have in our solutions, their preferences within the solutions that we've already built or their willingness to buy? Now, typically, as I've mentioned previously, we want to assess viability, sustainability and profitability a little earlier. And then problems and interest in preference should be ongoing. But regardless of where you are, in this adoption curve, oops, my mouse got a little faster, regardless of where you're going in this adoption curve. You want to be continuously improving your existing solution. And along the way, if you're constantly doing this discovery with your customers, you can identify the opportunity to introduce new solutions. So that's where innovation games can help us. Wow, what is up with my mouse is like a jumpy today. So innovation games. Many of you might be familiar with this book cover up. Actually, I have it right here. It's like it's always right at my fingertips, quite literally. So more than 15 years ago. Apply frameworks founder and our Chief Innovation Officer Luke Hohmann wrote a book called Innovation games. And it's a collection of frameworks that has gained quite widespread adoption within the Agile community and beyond. And in that last webinar that we did in July, the 12 techniques that I highlighted three of them were innovation games. And so for today's session, I'd like to delve a little deeper into how can you leverage these three innovation games to gather customer insights. It's certainly there's more than three that you could explore but I just want to hone in on three kind of gets you started. And so ultimately, my goal for today's session is that it will give you just an nuff background. You know enough details that would make you feel more confident to begin experimenting with these frameworks yourself. Now, again, let's talk about exploring problems. If you were in that first webinar, you will remember that I spent some time preaching about the fact that we tend to focus too much on solutions without first understanding customer problems. We act as order takers we just simply ask customers what they want. And I shared one of my favorite quotes Henry Ford, where he said if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. And sadly, we do this all the time. And we need to move away from that we need to be the ones doing more of the problem identification and problem solving, not asking our customers to do it for us. And so one of the techniques that I shared in our last webinar was the innovation game called speedboat. Sometimes people refer to it as sailboat to focus on customers problems, and so I want to delve a little bit more deeply into that framework today. So again, sometimes it's referred to as speedboat sometimes sailboat. It's one of the more popular innovation games and is one of my personal favorites. And the idea is that you are bringing a small group of people together might be in person, it might be online, you're using the metaphor of a boat, and you're asking participants to identify what propels them forward. And these things are either represented as propellers or wind puffs depending upon what type of boat you're, you're in, and, and then what's holding them back. And these are represented as anchors. And then sometimes we'll even expand that metaphor to include other aspects like maybe a tropical island or the sun or a treasure chest and those can be representative of all kinds of different things like maybe future goals or aspirations or what have you. And the point here is that our customers are definitely going to have complaints, but they might be big fans of your product. And, and so it doesn't mean that they either like it or they dislike it. Some people may not feel comfortable expressing their frustrations verbally, but if they have a framework such as this, they're going to be more open to expressing those frustrations and writing them down. It just gives them a different way to think about things. And sometimes your customers may not have ever had the opportunity to sit back and reflect on their problems. So when you give them this forum to do so, they have the time to really think about that. They might be small complaints, small little issues, but when you kind of put them together, it could add up to one larger complaint or a larger theme that would be helpful for you to know. And so by framing it in terms of like, what's propelling you forward, or what's holding you back, not what do you want us to add or fix? Their perspective is, is different, and they're able to think differently, and those insights that we gain are really powerful and our customers feel heard. So that's really important there. Now, before I delve in a little bit more about speedboat. I do want to kind of talk about this idea of frameworks because every innovation game is a framework. And every framework can be analyzed to determine well, does it really fit the purpose for what I'm trying to achieve? So you can think about every framework in terms of five different dimensions First you have the goal. So what is it that you want to learn or achieve by using this framework? You have the guidelines, these are the instructions for how do I use this framework boundaries, this is your kind of defining the scope of the discussion, right? Are we only talking about this type of customer? Are we only discussing last sprint, your whatever that boundary that you want to put around? It might be resources? What do you need to be able to facilitate the framework? Do I need big posters? Do I need blue tape? Do I need sticky notes? Do I need a virtual collaboration tool? So you would want to identify all of those things? And then also, last but not least, the actionable outcomes, what do you plan to do with your learnings from this framework? So when we kind of preface everything in the confines of these dimensions, it helps us to understand if the framework that we are choosing is the right one for what we're trying to achieve. So let's take a look at doing this level of these five dimensions for the speedboat framework. So first, the goal is we want to identify what customers like and don't like about your product. And or we want to identify problems that are holding them back, and things that support them in their day to day work, so that you can identify future possibilities for your product. From a guidelines perspective, you're going to facilitate this you're gonna give them that opportunity to add anchors and add propellers to this canvas that you have posted on a wall or that might be in a mirror board if you're working remotely. And folks are going to be adding these elements and then you're going to want to affinity group these into like items. You're going to want to discuss these things with your customers at the end of the activity. Maybe you're discussing individual items or groups of like items you're not seeking to solve the problem there right then and there, right? Because there's probably a lot more research and things that you need to do but you are seeking to get a deeper level of understanding to make sure you truly do understand what they've written down and what it really means. You're going to want to take photos of this at the end so that you can kind of keep track of that. You may ask your customers to vote on the top three to five items that would have the biggest impact if you were to focus on them. You're generally going to transcribe these items into a spreadsheet, you might want to do different types of classification right you might want to categorize things based on root cause or you might want to categorize things based on the types of customers that are involved or the types of tasks or the areas of the system for example, so whatever categorizations makes sense for you and then your boundaries are going to be whatever you define. So if you say we want to know what, what is propelling you forward and what is holding you back for this particular area of our product, or for this particular system, maybe you just want to know what's been going on in the last timeframe, for example, it could just be focused on certain processes. So you would define what those boundaries are. And the the resources are pretty straightforward or you need some representation of a speedboat. You need some post its to be able to add anchors and propellers a facilitator is always required for these types of events, someone that can maintain that neutrality. And then what are you going to get out of this well, greater customer empathy. You're going to be able to identify those pains and gains that can be solved via your product and you are going to find a way to address those priority items and communicate back to your customers what it is that you are going to be addressing as a result of their input. So that is a bit about how speedboat would work. Laura, you you do a lot of these collaboration exercises as well. Is there anything that you wanted to share about speedboat?
Laura Caldie 16:12
Yeah, it's a super flexible framework. And so I think you know, and you you were talking about this, getting really clear on what you want the metaphor to represent will help you get the insights that you need. So for example, if I were one of the products that you know, obviously you know, this can but one of the products that we sell as a education solution for product managers, the Profitable Software Academy, the PSA, and it's a multi certification program for product management people from early career to senior leaders. So if I were looking for feedback on the Profitable Software Academy, I might tell participants that the boat is the PSA. And what I'm looking for is what is propelling you forward. What do you love about the product and what are the things that are holding you back? What makes it hard to use what makes it you know, maybe in what way does it not meet your needs, and those would be the anchors. I could also switch the metaphor and say, well, the the academy is designed for product managers, so I might be more interested in maybe a broader, more open divergent thinking kind of question. So I might say in your role as a product manager, you are a product manager. The boat is product management, what are the things in as you perform your job? What are the things that are holding you back that are harder than you should? They should be things that are frustrating those are anchors. And then you know, what's the wind in your sails? What are the propellers? And what I might learn out of that could be Hey, maybe some new modules that we want to build for the PSA. Like if we hear that so many people are struggling with a certain type of analytics. Maybe we need an analytics module in our PSA. So I think you know what you were just talking about is really important. It's like the to be really clear on what is the metaphor the boat is what because that will help you get insights and answers to your bigger question.
Kimberly Poremski 18:13
I love that and that's a perfect example right? In one aspect the boat is the PSA itself. And now you're trying to understand everything around that. And the other instance the metaphor of the boat is product management. So that's a perfect example. Thank you. Love that. Very good. All right, well, let's move on to our next area of focus. So the sailboat was really about exploring problems. And what if we want to explore interest in our solution overall? So one of the techniques that I shared in our last webinar was an innovation Game called by a feature. So if we were to talk about this one a little bit further, well, this one involves setting budgets for various features. Then you gather a group of your customers together, and you ask them to fund specific features based on a very limited budget that they have and the ultimate idea here is that no one person has enough budget to fund everything. And so they have to work together and they have to pull their money to be able to fully fund this feature. So it requires them to really think more deeply about what is it that I need the most what is it that I desire the most. So this is really powerful, especially when you have a diverse set of customers that have potentially very different needs. And you can find a way to see how they collaborate together to find the features that are most important to that diverse set. This is this is such a powerful framework. I was really fortunate a couple of years ago to travel to India, with one of our clients. They were hosting a very large client conference, and they wanted to conduct this participatory budgeting activity on a very large scale. And their clients were very diverse. So we facilitated this in person event. First of all, it's very fun, and people just really enjoy doing this activity. As you can see here in the pictures we used Monopoly money. So you know you're kind of gamifying it, but for a much more serious purpose. But the really cool thing about this event was that our client had made certain hypotheses about where they thought that their product should go, what they thought their customers would be most interested in and would care about the most. And a lot of those hypotheses were negated based on the results of these sessions. So it was a really powerful example of that. And so similarly, if we were to kind of deconstruct this framework using those five dimensions that I introduced to you earlier, well, what is our goal for this? So the goal is to be able to choose the right set of features to include in an upcoming launch or release, or to identify the features that a customer would want in a brand new product. You want to do this across multiple customers, and in the meantime, you're acquiring greater insights as to why they selected those features because it's not just a matter of like, okay, here's, here's what we funded, but the conversation and the collaboration that occurs as to how they got there and why they chose those things is really important. Now for this one, generally, and for really all these you kind of want to work with smaller groups. We recommend about four to nine participants for this activity. If you have more than nine just like we did in that. That case in India, we had hundreds and we facilitated it in multiple sessions. And within those multiple sessions, we had small table groups of four to nine people. So just keep in mind that you want to have that small group that's collaborating on on one. One Canvas if you will, for this. You probably want to keep your list, maybe about 14 to 30 features anymore going to be a little bit overwhelming. If you have too few it might might kind of negate the purpose of it might might be overkill, if you will. And you're going to assign prices to every feature. Now this could be real dollar amounts for what you are estimating that that feature is going to cost you or you could just set up fictitious amounts right feature a is $250 right feature B is $50. So you can do it however you like. You do also need to make a decision about does everyone get the same amount of money to spend? Generally we recommend this, but it's not required. And you may have a reason why you want to give one set of participants a little bit more money than another set of participants. Another key point though, is that the total amount of the money that you give across all the participants should ultimately allow them to purchase anywhere from about 1/3 to two thirds of the available features. Right? They we don't want them to be able to purchase everything because you don't then get as much of the learning about what things are most important. If you don't give them enough money, then folks are going to feel really constrained. But if you give them too much money, they're going to just buy everything and again, they're not going to be discerning enough. And then some of the features should be priced high enough so that no single participant can purchase the item and that's what's gonna force that interaction and the negotiation and that's going to allow them to work together to pull their money and and really get to those results that you're looking for. Now from a boundaries perspective, you're going to want to think about are what kind of time boundary are we thinking here? Do I am I focusing on funding things for the next release? Or the next year? Like what what does that look like for you, and you may have other boundaries as well. In terms of resources, you're going to want to start off with a list of either your planned features or hypothetical features. If it's a new product, you want each of them to have a price associated with it. You're going to want to have some play money, you know can be Monopoly money, you could make up your own whatever, make sure you have a bank raise kind of like again with monopoly, you have the banker so you want to make sure you have a little bit of extra money if people need change like hey, you have changed for 50. And then you obviously want to have someone that's facilitating this. And if it's large enough, you may want to have a separate person who's the feature retailer as we call them. They're the person that's tracking like okay, this feature has been fully funded. This feature still has, you know, 10 more dollars before it can be fully funded and so forth, and keeping track of who purchased which features. So having some sort of a tracking sheet is really helpful for this as well. And the outcomes of this you're potentially going to have multiple lists of things that are funded so you're might need a way to consolidate all of that. But the important thing here is that you want the features that have been fully funded, and have been funded by the most customers to be the ones that have the highest consideration for inclusion in your upcoming product. This is an example of a tracking sheet that you might want to use. So as you can see here, you want to see what's been fully funded because if it's not fully funded, that's not something you want to pursue at that time. And then it allows you to see how many customers have have contributed to a given feature or not. So that's a little bit about by a feature. Again, Laura, any any comments or things I might have missed around this or things you want to add?
Laura Caldie 26:01
Well, no, I think you've covered it although just to kind of, I guess, reframe or rephrase some of the points that you made that I think are important. You know, pricing the features is obviously a big part of making this a successful activity for people to do. And so, you know, I just tend to use relative pricing. You know, if one thing is a large and another thing is an extra large in terms of our development efforts, then you kind of make all larges in a range of numbers and all extra larges and a range of numbers and that way you don't have to spend too much time internally discussing how much will it really cost to build it. So relative pricing will save you time just to make sure that they you know, against each other the pricing makes sense, you know, a small feature versus a large feature that the pricing makes sense. You know, typically I try to stick to 20 features as kind of a nice amount because you were mentioning that if you get much more than 30 people can't, can't get track of all of it. It's like too much. One of the things that we found successful is that you provide 60% of the money to the table split equally between the people. And that makes it hard enough where they're really going to have to communicate and collaborate with each other. That's the kind of goal that you hear is all the justifications around, hey, I really need this feature because of x if you helped me pay for it, then I you know, we can collaborate on something else. So you get all these like why do you need it kind of insights but then because that really is a constrained economy. Have a plan for maybe the last 15 minutes you reveal some additional funding, right? So you get up to 70% of the total cost of the feature so people get a little bit of relief, or maybe because it's pretty hard. And then the other mod that we've done in the past is to have a write in candidate where you intentionally have a blank item. And if there's ever an instance where you're hoping somebody might come up with something really innovative or unexpected, you have a way of capturing that even if that wasn't, you know, the original point of this particular of an innovation game. It's not really an ideation game, but sometimes having the ability to have a write in candidate can reveal some interesting insights.
Kimberly Poremski 28:23
Those are some really good points. We actually did do write in candidates for that event in India that I was talking about as well. So there were some additional that was additional insights and feedback that the product team was able to gain from those writings.
Laura Caldie 28:35
Yeah, so it's interesting as you're asking your customer then to give the writing candidate follow the same format you've been following, right. So you have a name, you have a description of what it is, but you also have the benefit, right? Like what do they expect to achieve out of having this writing candidate? So you've already provided them with that template of name, description and benefit so you end up learning something interesting when they actually produce a write in candidate for you. Exactly.
Kimberly Poremski 29:02
Awesome. Great. Well, thanks for those extra tidbits as are some good points, as well. All right. All right. So two games down. One more to go. Now we want to talk a little bit about preferences. One of the innovation games that I mentioned in our last webinar around exploring customer preferences is a framework known as 2020 vision. Now, it's probably one of my favorites. And when we use this framework, we're asking customers to evaluate a list of features and arrive at a stack ranked list. So just to kind of contrast it to buy a feature with that one, you're trying to figure out should features even be in or out and in this one, you're really focusing more on the order or the prioritization of an existing set of features that you're planning to include. And much like when we go to the eye doctor, we're asking participants to only ever evaluate two features at a time side by side. Hence the name 2020 vision. And what I like about this framework similar to buy a feature is that it's not just the resulting list. It's not just that final artifact that you arrive that but it's also about that conversation that's taking place. And so as you are hearing, the reasoning and the logic and the justifications and the assumptions and all of those things as to why your customers are prioritizing features in a certain way. It creates a lot of alignment and you're making sure that your customers are understanding what each feature entails. And you're getting good insights as to kind of how their minds are working. So again, let's do one more decomposition of the framework using those five dimensions that we've been talking about. So for this one, the goal would be prioritizing a set of features into a ranked list across multiple customers, while at the same time acquiring greater insights as to why they have assigned a given rank to each of those items. Again, we like to keep these groups small, kind of recommend that three to eight. Grouping is a really powerful one. If you have more than eight participants, which you might have done it with, you know, much larger groups, you would create multiple stack ranked lists and then you would consolidate them and I'm going to touch on how you would do that and a few minutes for something like this, you know, with with the buyer feature, you know, again, if you read Luke's book, it'll tell you anywhere from 14 to 30. But you know, like Laura was mentioning in practice 20 is kind of a nice magic number. For something like 2020 vision, probably want to keep it to about eight to 15 items. If you have less than eight. It's kind of like, what's the point? We should be able to get to a list. If it's more than 15 might start to get a little bit overwhelming for folks. Remember, you're only comparing two items at a time. You want to have observers kind of like you do with via feature as well listening in jotting down insights and things that are heard. You don't want the observers in this case and by feature either you don't want them to really be speaking you don't want them to kind of sway things they you might be able to have them provide some clarity around something but otherwise you just want them listening and hearing what your customers are saying. And this is an important one too, because people try to do this all the time. It's a stack rank list, so no two items should possess the same rank during the prioritization activity. You can't have two number threes. You have to have a number three and a number four, like you just don't want to do that because it's going to defeat the point. In terms of boundaries, generally you want to only discuss those listed features. You might want to you know, think about well, is this something that you want to add for the current calendar year or do you have certain time boundaries that you want to apply to this? You might decide to allow kind of like Laura was saying, with the writing for via feature, you might want to decide on that as well. If you're, again, trying to get some generate new ideas from your customers. But just be careful that you don't get into a situation where you have this very lengthy list that heavily exceeds those 15 items. And from a resources perspective, again, really all you need is a way to represent those features on a large sticky note or a large index card, some wall space and a way to adhere that to the wall. So if you're using index cards you want some tape or sticky notes, you're gonna be fine there. You want to have a facilitator for this as well kind of help folks get to that end result. And your outcomes you are trying to get to this ranked list. This is what's going to be used to help you create a roadmap for whatever time boundary you've identified maybe for the remainder of the year. Again, if you have multiple lists, you would want to score those together and then arrive at that single ranked list. So we're going to talk about that in just a minute. Now I kind of wanted to walk through a little illustration and yes, I did say your list should have anywhere from eight to 15 items. But in my example that we're about to talk about, I only have five because our webinars only so long so so just use this for illustration purposes only. But if we take this simple example and we see here that I have a list of fruits, and I want my customers feedback, to help me create a ranked list of fruits from hardest to easiest to consume, right? So hardest being at the top easiest at the bottom. How would I go about doing that using 2020 vision. So here's my five items. I'm going to start off by taking any sticky note. Doesn't matter which one just any any fruit and he's sticking as my starting point. So in this case, I've grabbed the grape, and then I grab a second sticky note. And in this case, it's the pineapple and then I put them side by side and I ask is a pineapple harder or easier to consume than a great and we have some discussion. And after that discussion, we determine that a pineapple is harder to consume so it goes above the grape in the list. So I got two items. Now I'm going to grab any other item from my list. So in this case, I take the banana and I start by comparing just the two items banana and pineapple is a banana easier or harder to consume than a pineapple. Now note that the grape has not entered into this consideration yet I first have to evaluate only the banana as it compares to the pineapple. So we have some discussion, and the group agrees that the banana is easier to consume than a pineapple. I'm not done yet. All right, well now since the banana is going to be lower I now need to compare the banana and the great. So is a banana harder or easier to consume than a great so we have more conversation and after that we determine that the banana is harder to consume. So we position it between the pineapple and the great and then we move on to the apple and we do the same side by side comparison. So first the Apple as compared to the pineapple and we determined that the apples easier so we're not done. So now we need to move on to compare Apple and Banana. And again we determined that the apple is easier to consume than a banana. So now we have to move on to comparing the apple to the grape. And then we ultimately position the apple above the grape because we agree to such during our discussion. And then we just keep doing the same thing with that last item the cherry and this is what we ended up with. And I want you to keep in mind that it's all about the questions and the expectations and the assumption and the reasoning that's going on the whole time this is happening. That is what's providing these really deep insights about our customers.
Laura Caldie 37:28
You know one of the things that occurs to me Kim is with this example is an interesting way of revealing what customer segments might be. Like for example, if I'm a I don't know a working person thinking about my lunch may be very different than if I'm a mom trying to prepare lunch or a lunchbox for my kids to take to school. Right so I was the weird mom who was cut the grapes in half because all I could think about was my children choking on them as I sent them to school. So for me the grape was one of the harder ones because I hated prep. But if I mean it was easiest one in fact I don't even wash my grapes. That's how you know, terrible AI can be sometimes. So what you might end up learning through all the conversation that happens is Wait a minute parents are a different customer segment for me they are for in every kind of discussion. They're the outlier because they're thinking about it from the perspective of their children, whereas everybody else is thinking about it from the perspective of themselves. And maybe you just hadn't realized that yet. Right. And so you wouldn't necessarily know unless you're really listening to the negotiation and discussion and the reasoning around what might have felt like could have be a really simple exercise and you're like this epiphany, wait a minute, I've got a segment of customers that are buying something from me for totally different reasons than everybody else.
Kimberly Poremski 38:49
That's a perfect illustration of what I was trying to convey here about the power of that discussion. Because in this case, it's it's the journey not just the destination, we care about that destination. But it's all of that insight that we are gathering along the way that helps us to come to these remarkable realizations.
Laura Caldie 39:10
Obviously the last point I'll make on this one is hey, we're in charge of our own product as product leaders and product managers just because this is the ranked list that you get back doesn't mean that you're forced to do this. What you're really going to react to is the information that you got during the conversation. And you may choose to say you know what, we're not serving that parent segment of the market and so we don't care that they think rip so the hardest, right? It's you know, so you don't have to do what you what the output is what you have to react to is what you learn over the course of the activity.
Kimberly Poremski 39:45
Absolutely, absolutely. All right. Well, I did mention that you know, you want to keep your group small. And so if you have a larger group, you might be trying to do this on a larger scale. Well, how do you manage it if you've got all these groups, and I have all of these lists that have been ranked differently. So one way that you can do this is to try to consolidate all of this now, if you notice, in this particular example, we have four separate groups that were ranking a list of 12 features that we've labeled A through L. And after ranking during this ranking exercise, we put everything into a spreadsheet and if you notice, take a deeper dive into some of this ranking. It's like oh, well, great. feature a, all four groups ranked it as the highest yay, easy. Okay, but what about feature B? Because in that case, three of our four groups are reasonably aligned. But group one ranked it nine out of the 12 items. And then if we keep looking at more features, well features See, those same three groups are relatively aligned, but group one is an outlier. And they've ranked feature C as eighth on the list of 12 features. So Laura, that kind of goes back into, oh, you know, maybe groups two, three and four are, you know, have the same or similar customer segments, maybe group one is indicative of a different customer segment. So this is one way that you're kind of looking at this now. Now we're starting to add even more complexity because now groups two and three, they're aligned on feature G, but groups one and four, they ranked feature B, almost near the bottom of the list. And then if we look at feature k, for example, well now we've got groups one and two aligned on that one, but groups three and four, place that at the very bottom of the list. So how do we figure this out? So a very simple way that you can consolidate these results is by assigning a weighted value to each rank. And you can create whatever scale you want. So for this example, we've given the highest rank item, a value of 10, and then the second highest rank item, a value of nine and so on, and then those last 310 11 and 12. We just gave all of them a value of one because they're that far down the list. So you know, we don't need to do as much calculation on that. And then we give each a score, and then we add across the rows to arrive at a weighted score for each one of those features. And then that helps us to arrive at a consolidated rank feature list across all four of these groups. So, you know, for these frameworks in general, just a couple of final post activity tips if you will. First. You got to think about your in person versus your online collaboration. They will be facilitated a little bit differently. The pandemic has forever changed that for us. And so we need to think about what are maybe some different ways that we need to facilitate this event. What are some different resources that we might need? So just kind of keep that in mind. We're accustomed to using zoom and WebEx and things like that. You might need a virtual whiteboard solutions such as Miro or so forth. You want to make sure that you have all of the components that you need to deliver on that framework because again, it's going to be a little bit different if you are in person versus online. And in a lot of cases that I'm seeing now it's hybrid. So you might be having to do this with part of a group that is in person and part of the group is online. So be thinking about that as well. I recommend practicing, it's not always going to go perfectly the first time. And until you actually try to do these frameworks. It's hard to really wrap your head fully around it. So maybe try doing it internally with some of your team members. Before you go and try to do it with some of your customers. So you can either do a practice run or maybe you have your own problem that you're trying to solve and you could use one of these frameworks for it. So definitely the more you practice, the better you will be at facilitating these and you're going to want to constantly learn and improve so you would want to run retrospectives so you can figure out how you might change it in the future. You want to actually communicate and act upon these frameworks as quickly as you can. If you are going to be engaging your customers so that you can get this valuable learning. Your customers are going to want to know that they spent their time wisely with you. So how powerful is it to be able to produce some outcomes and communicate that to your customers and let them know maybe what decisions they were able to help you make? I mean that that's really powerful and it's going to encourage them to want to participate with you more down the road. At the same time, we do want to limit participation. We want to keep those groups small and collaborative. We often say more than eight don't collaborate kind of like that. Rhyme. So you want to be very diligent and in and intentional about who you are including in these different activities. And so I'm hoping that this talk has inspired you to try to experiment with some of these innovation games frameworks. We're going to be taking a brief pause with this webinar series in September, but we'll return in the fall with more webinars. So I hope you'll stay tuned for updates you'll link in with applied frameworks and LinkedIn with me. In the meantime, if you have questions about how these games are supposed to be run, drop me an email or send me a message on LinkedIn. I'm happy to to answer any questions you might have. And then I also want to remind everyone that this whole series is based on the big why right that one major premise which was you need to have a good understanding of your customers to ensure the sustainability and profitability of your business. And that all ties back to our profit streams book. So again, if you feel like you could use some support because you are delivering products and they're just not having the business outcomes and results that you need. This might be something that your organization needs. So we've got the book. We have webinars that we've produced that might give you some glimpses into the types of things that we cover in the book. We have classes that we offer. So again, this might be something that you find that your organization needs.
Laura Caldie 47:03
So with that kind of just like to open it up to whatever I don't know if anybody has any questions or anything in the q&a, or anything along those lines, you know the the while we wait to see if anyone has any questions, one of the thoughts that I had is to think about in the case of, you know, in the work that you do, who is your customer and sometimes your customers and internal stakeholder, and these work just as well trying to make sure that for example, it is meeting the needs of the business while your business can participate using the same frameworks to kind of help you and help them understand what are the possibilities what are the problems they're trying to solve and how can your IT group build solutions that are you know, not necessarily destined for the external world, but still you have a customer? Right? They may just be internal.
Kimberly Poremski 47:48
That's very true. Yes. understanding who our customers are, for sure.
Laura Caldie 47:54
All right. Well, you got 10 More seconds, folks, if anyone has questions otherwise you know, Kim and I are both happy to get back to you if you have things that happen after and of course, we'll be sending out the recording. So you'll have email addresses and easy ways of contacting us if you want to hit us up with a question that comes to you maybe after this is ruminated in your head for a little bit. Kim, do you have any other kind of pad like parting advice? I'll tell you what mine is just try it. Get a group of friendly people together. And if you haven't done this kind of exploration with either internal customers or external ones, do an experiment. You don't need to have 500 people attend you can do it with you know a good group of five or six and practice as a facilitator and see what actually comes out of it. And it's it's not as hard as what it might seem if you've never done it before.
Kimberly Poremski 48:43
Yeah, I think the one thing that I will say and it's kind of interesting to me because especially when we're working with you know groups of agilus, who are usually very open to different things, sometimes when we preface this is like let's play some games, like people kind of put their put up some walls a little bit like Oh, we're so busy. We don't have time for these games. But you have to understand this is these are serious games. This is a different classification. of a game. And if it helps, then just frame it as this is a you know, a collaboration framework. You don't even have to use the word game because I have found that I don't know if you've seen this or in my experience it sometimes we have, you know individuals or leaders that just that word game just kind of throws them off a little bit. But these are collaboration techniques. They are intended to kind of tap into that divergent and that convergent thinking. So find the right way to communicate what the intent of these are, in a way that's going to folks in your organization are going to be more receptive. So that would be my parting advice.
Laura Caldie 49:54
I think it's a great one. On that perfect piece of parting advice. Well, we'll call it a day we'll send out the recording to folks and Kim. I really appreciate you putting this together. I think it was thoughtful and hopefully people will will give him a try.
Kimberly Poremski 50:10
Great. Well, I really appreciate everyone taking the time out of their busy schedules to be with us today. So hope you all have a great rest of your week and I will see you in some upcoming webinars. Take care everyone.
Laura Caldie 50:20
Thank you. Bye bye. I
As Principal Consultant, Kim puts her decades of IT leadership experience to use for our clients at all phases of their Agile adoption. She has recently worked as a mentor and trainer in engagements with USAA, Thomson Reuters, benefitexpress, and Tyler Technologies. Prior to joining Applied Frameworks, Kim developed her skills as an Agile coach and team leader at BenefitFocus, Capital One, ING, and T. Rowe Price. Kim is a Certified Scrum Trainer and holds a Master’s Degree in Advanced Information Technology and Bachelor’s in Business Information Systems from Stevenson University. A frequent speaker at regional and national Agile events, Kim is also a Certified Scrum Trainer, a Certified Scrum Professional and holds certifications in SAFe® Program Consulting as well as Scrum@Scale.
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