The Triangle UXPA Gets Lean: Jeff Gothelf's "Lean UX" workshop

24 Nov 2012 3:28 PM | Andrew Wirtanen (Administrator)

Jeff talking to the Triangle UXPAOn November 15th, the Triangle UXPA hosted our biggest event of the year: an all-day workshop with Jeff Gothelf at the La Quinta Inn in Morrisville. Sixty-five Triangle UXPA members sat in groups of 6-7 people, which were arranged by Jeff so that each table had a mixture of job titles.

Jeff Gothelf is Managing Director at Neo, a global product innovation company headquartered in San Francisco; Jeff works at the New York City office. Jeff is the author of an upcoming O'Reilly book (2013), Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience. He previously worked at TheLadders, Publicis Modem, WebTrends, Fidelity, & AOL.

After some networking and breakfast, the workshop kicked off at 9am with a brief message from Triangle UXPA and then a message from the workshop’s sponsor: RoleModel Software. To begin the day, Jeff introduced the room to the principles of Lean UX--which is one of the UX community’s answers to Agile development. The philosophy behind Lean UX was derived from several sources including Toyota (i.e. lean manufacturing), Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup, and design thinking. One of the main principles of Lean UX is a three-step process: think, make, check. 

One team at work in the design studioLean UX teams are fundamentally different from traditional UX teams because the entire team is involved. Instead of the UX professional being a guardian of deliverables (personas, wireframes, etc.), they are a more of a design facilitator. Many traditional UX artifacts are created by the entire team, which empowers the entire team to be working in parallel. As an example of this, Jeff showed a video from Nordstrom’s Innovation Lab (7 minutes).

The Triangle UXPA group spent the rest of the morning and afternoon learning about some methods to use in a Lean UX environment. The first one was proto-personas (aka ad-hoc personas), where personas are brainstormed before they are validated with real data. Jeff then had each team write some outcome-based user stories, which act as KPIs (key-performance indicators). After lunch, each 6-7 person team worked in a design studio, where they used a persona and a pain point to illustrated potential design solutions to alleviate each pain point.

To end the day, Jeff talked about some research methods, such as quick, cheap and effective ways to test your hypotheses. According to Jeff, research should be directed to answer three big questions:

  1. Is there a need or opportunity?
  2. Do people value my proposed solution?
  3. Can people use my solution?

If you missed this workshop, stay tuned for Jeff’s book: O'Reilly book (2013), Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience. Since the workshop sold out and was very well received, the Triangle UXPA hopes to have Jeff back for another talk in 2013 or 2014.

Special thanks for RoleModel Software for sponsoring this workshop.

RoleModel Software


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