Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Touch me! I'm a business model :)

In today's shifting economy, one of the biggest challenges is to find the right business model. In this project we worked with Servodan, to investigate the opportunities presented by one of their emerging products. We covered market analysis, design, user research, service scenarios and sales.  But the best part of it was that we showed them the resulting business models in tangible form - meaning touchable, playful artifacts that are great conversation starters and tools for reflection.
I got my PM hat down from the attic once again - but this time with a twist. 5 teams, 30 people, 20 different nationalities, a dozen different backgrounds, 3 weeks, one deadline. Knock yourself out! And make sure they all deliver.

At the beginning of the project I thought that most of my time would be spent in SCRUM meetings. I was wrong. Most of my time was spent trying to persuade people that "fluffy" is not a bad word. Initially, the deliverables for this project were only partly defined - since innovation can't happen in a box. Hence the fluffiness that marked the problem definition phase of the project.

This was nicely illustrated by a conversation that I had with one of my peers. He asked me "How are we supposed to start building if we don't even know what we have to build? We've spent over a week discussing it back and forth!" I told him that we were doing great. Our job was just that - to figure "it" all out. This reminded me of a very important lesson that I had learned earlier on when designing new features at Microsoft : if you find yourself pacing relentlessly around the room, staring at the white board in despair and thinking "where am I going with this", then good for you! It means you're doing your job!

Can't say that we didn't iterate! Can you understand anything from those posters? I know I can't. But like everything else, the posters too got clearer and clearer with time...

 Nothing like a good storyboard to show a service scenario.

In true ITPD style, we finished the project with a workshop for the company and everyone else interested in the project. 

It is indeed amazing how much more animated people are when confronted with something tangible that they can feel and move around. Note to self: props are great!

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