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Stop Doing What Youre Told

Stop Doing What Youre Told

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It’s easy to solve the wrong problems. Good design relentlessly questions assumptions and reframes the problem to be solved. We know this, and yet, HOW to actually reframe a problem is missing from our conversations.

In this session, Stephen P. Anderson will share tips that have helped him cut through the noise of requests and requirements, to focus on the real problem(s) to be solved. Specifically, you’ll pick up ways to see a problem from different perspectives, ways to ask why, how to draw upon seemingly unrelated experiences, how to separate real from perceived constraints, and most importantly, ways to keep yourself in check, so as not to solve the wrong problem (or if you do, you do so intentionally, for a strategic purpose!).

Whether you’re designing strategies or screens, you’re sure to pick up a few new mental hacks that you’ll no doubt use on a daily basis.

It’s easy to solve the wrong problems. Good design relentlessly questions assumptions and reframes the problem to be solved. We know this, and yet, HOW to actually reframe a problem is missing from our conversations.

In this session, Stephen P. Anderson will share tips that have helped him cut through the noise of requests and requirements, to focus on the real problem(s) to be solved. Specifically, you’ll pick up ways to see a problem from different perspectives, ways to ask why, how to draw upon seemingly unrelated experiences, how to separate real from perceived constraints, and most importantly, ways to keep yourself in check, so as not to solve the wrong problem (or if you do, you do so intentionally, for a strategic purpose!).

Whether you’re designing strategies or screens, you’re sure to pick up a few new mental hacks that you’ll no doubt use on a daily basis.

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Stop Doing What Youre Told

  1. The title of this presentation is Stop Doing What You’re Told! which, if you think about it for too long, is a rather odd and difficult imperative statement, as complying with this command would also place you in violation of this command… This presentation has been lovingly crafted by S T E P H E N P. A N D E R S O N and will begin in a few moments. Tweeting? Please use #whywhy and/or #ias13 hashtag. Comments and questions may alse be directed to @stephenanderson. Enjoy!
  2. Product Stephen P. Strategy aND n Deonsisuglting C Anderson
  3. Product Stephen P. Strategy aND n Deonsisuglting C Anderson
  4. Product Stephen P. Strategy aND n Deonsisuglting C Anderson
  5. A C T I V I T Y You have 2 minutes. Design a vase. (example from Marc Rettig)
  6. A C T I V I T Y You have 2 minutes. Design a vase. Design a better way for people to enjoy flowers in their home. (example from Marc Rettig)
  7. “ Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.”   –E.E. CUMMINGS
  8. A ROUGH DESIGN MATURITY CONTINUUM DESIGN AS Design redefines the challenges facing the organization. FRAMING Framing sets the agenda, outlines the boundaries and axes of interest, and moves design from executing strategy to shaping strategy. Disruptive innovation lives here. Design finds new opportunities by solving existing problems. PROBLEM ? Design process generates alternatives within a problem space. Design also narrows down SOLVING those options to a specific solution. Design makes things work better. FUNCTION This is the classic practice of design - but it's still commonly limited to incremental + improvements through iteration over existing AND FORM solutions. Design is the gateway to be hip and cool. STYLE , Design is stylish, but too often is percieved and practiced as a cosmetic afterthought. Design value isn't recognized. NO CONSCIOUS DESIGN ? This attitude fosters design by default - however things come out is fine, because there are more important issues to deal with. (Jess McMullin - Design Maturity Model - http://www.bplusd.org/2005/10/19/a-rough-design-maturity-model/ )
  9. A ROUGH DESIGN MATURITY CONTINUUM DESIGN AS Design redefines the challenges facing the organization. FRAMING Framing sets the agenda, outlines the boundaries and axes of interest, and moves design from executing strategy to shaping strategy. Disruptive innovation lives here. Design finds new opportunities by solving existing problems. PROBLEM ? Design process generates alternatives within a problem space. Design also narrows down SOLVING those options to a specific solution. Design makes things work better. FUNCTION This is the classic practice of design - but it's still commonly limited to incremental + improvements through iteration over existing AND FORM solutions. Design is the gateway to be hip and cool. STYLE , Design is stylish, but too often is percieved and practiced as a cosmetic afterthought. Design value isn't recognized. NO CONSCIOUS DESIGN ? This attitude fosters design by default - however things come out is fine, because there are more important issues to deal with. (Jess McMullin - Design Maturity Model - http://www.bplusd.org/2005/10/19/a-rough-design-maturity-model/ )
  10. What I’m not talking about (though relevant and important!) Frames, Metaphors, Language (a la Lakoff), Linguistic Relativity Cynefin Framework Tame, Complex, Wicked and Super- Wicked Problems Systems Chaotic, Complex, Complex and Thinking Simple Problems Known vs Unknown Problems 4 Types of Problem Adjacent According to Drucker, there’s four types of problems: Problems 1. Truly Generic (individual occurrence is a symptom; Two Different Kinds of Compromises) 2. Generic, but Unique for the individual institution 3. Truly exceptional, truly unique 4. Early manifestation of a new generic problem
  11. What I’m not talking about (though relevant and important!) Frames, Metaphors, Language (a la Lakoff), Linguistic Relativity Cynefin Framework Tame, Complex, Wicked and Super- Wicked Problems Systems Chaotic, Complex, Complex and Thinking Simple Problems Known vs Unknown Problems 4 Types of Problem Adjacent According to Drucker, there’s four types of problems: Problems 1. Truly Generic (individual occurrence is a symptom; Two Different Kinds of Compromises) 2. Generic, but Unique for the individual institution 3. Truly exceptional, truly unique 4. Early manifestation of a new generic problem Unicorns!
  12. Build a tricycle with wings! *
  13. Build a tricycle (SILLY REQUEST) with wings! *
  14. Build a tricycle (SILLY REQUEST) with wings! * B What color do you want it?
  15. Build a tricycle (SILLY REQUEST) with wings! * B B What color do you want it? We can try out some HTML5-coated titanium!
  16. Build a tricycle (SILLY REQUEST) with wings! * B b We can try Stop. out some Why is this HTML5-coated valuable? And titanium! for whom? B What color do you want it?
  17. Build a tricycle (SILLY REQUEST) with wings! * B b We can try Stop. out some Why is this HTML5-coated valuable? And titanium! for whom? B What color do you want it?
  18. Let’s name some bad requests.
  19. But first… Write down a recent problem you were asked to solve.
  20. write some case studies to show how our customers We need a health love us! game to help employees meet wellness goals Is this the real problem, or are we… “Anchoring” Framing the problem in the context of a specific solution which immediately discounts all other solutions
  21. Product or Task Focused Experience Focused. Design a vase. Design a better way for people to enjoy flowers in their home.
  22. Product or Task Focused Experience Focused. Design a better search Design a better way to learn engine results page. about [topic]
  23. Product or Task Focused Experience Focused.
  24. Product or Task Focused Experience Focused. Calculator Calcbot Soulver
  25. If we’re thinking of [designing] a lunchbox we’d be rea&y careful about not having the word “box” already give you a bunch of ideas that could be quite narrow. Because you think of a box as being square and like a cube. And so we’re quite careful with the words we use, because those can determine the path you go down. — S I R J O N AT H A N I V E O N “ B L U E P E T E R ”
  26. We need a new Drupal CMS to make it easier for our team to edit pages. Our company needs a Sharepoint installation. Is this the real problem, or are we… “Solutioneering” Framing the problem in terms of a technology purchase when the issues may not be technical
  27. We need our new site to be able to do this, this and this. Is this the real problem, or are we… “Wishlisting” Framing a problem as a set of desired features
  28. We're going to be the iTunes of health This will be the insurance! Angry Birds of online shopping! Is this the real problem, or are we… Y “Buzzwording” Likening the solution to some other popular product or service
  29. Friendster + Tribe A tool for students to log into + Craigslist the computer lab, but also a way for teachers to sift through student data YouTube meets Craigslist Is this the real problem, or are we… “Frankensteining” Framing the problem as a blend of things (that may or may not mix)
  30. iTunes + iPhoto + YouTube + Facebook + Cloud Storage Is this the real problem, or are we… “Boiling the Ocean” Framing the problem as a HUGE blend of things that are most certainly not acheivable out of the gate! Eva-Lotta Lamm drew this!
  31. We need more customer support folks to answer all these incoming calls. Is this the real problem, or are we… “Treating a Symptom” Reacting to urgent problems rather than seeking the reason for that problem
  32. We need more customer support folks to answer all these incoming calls. Why are you gettting so many calls? How can we improve the product to reduce the Is this the real problem, or are we… number of incoming “Treating a Symptom” calls? Reacting to urgent problems rather than seeking the reason for that problem
  33. Our customers don’t know how to use [x]. Let’s give them more training... or add more instructional text. Or maybe a ‘tooltip’ to explain what to do.
  34. (Insert Jeremy’s example from Quizno’s)
  35. The problem of getting a kid to learn to ride a bike… Two solutions: training wheels pushbike The engineer looks at the problem and says "Oh, Timmy falls down. The designer looks at the problem and says: "What if Timmy keeps We can fix that:" falling down because he isn't learning to balance, in turn because we're giving him too many things to learn at once? What if we take something away?" http://doriantaylor.com/teaching-timmy-to-ride
  36. We must fix this now! I’ve got several customers complaing about our new changes Is this the real problem, or are we… “Amplifying the Feedback” Allowing the complaints (or praise) of a few people to drive decisions, even when statistically invalid
  37. We’ve tried that Our technology doesn't before allow us to do that The Senior VP will never go for that Is this the real problem, or are we… “Hamstringing” Artificially constraining the problem with assumptions (usually tech, user or political)
  38. We’ve tried that Our technology doesn't before allow us to do that The Senior VP will never go for that “John selects a nearby fishing spots on the map” “John needs a way to discoor r a we… Is this the real problem, ve are great new fishing spot” “Hamstringing” Artificially constraining the problem with assumptions (usually tech, user or political)
  39. We need a Facebook page! We need a blog Is this the real problem, or are we… “Bandwagoning” Framing the problem as something important to do because everyone else it doing that thing
  40. Book a hotel Is this the real problem, or are we… “Narrowing the problem” Framing the problem in the context of a specific solution which immediately discounts all other solutions
  41. Book a hotel User needs to compare pr icing. which sellers will give me the products I want with the best contract offer? Is this the real problem, or are we… “Narrowing the problem” Framing the problem in the context of a specific solution which immediately discounts all other solutions
  42. We need a new homepage to promote our featured deals. Users will complete brief conversation surveys that will help us measure program impact Is this the real problem, or are we… “Pacifying [insert name]” Problem is framed entirely in terms of one group's priorities (typically the business)
  43. User will book a hotel w/ Expedia People will educate their families, friends about our life saving product Is this the real problem, or are we… “Being Presumptuous” Presuming users will do some implausible activity.
  44. Is this the real problem, or are we… “Overlooking the Obvious” Problem as presented is missing a vital piece of information or based on a flawed assumption
  45. Where to best add armor to the plane's structure?
  46. Where to best add armor to the plane's structure?
  47. A B
  48. A B WRONG PROBLEM!
  49. ! ?
  50. ! ? (RIGHT PROBLEM TO SOLVE)
  51. [Insert whatever you like - the HiPPO* asked for it…] Is this the real problem, or are we… “Ego Stroking” Problem exists because it's important to the HiPPO *Highest Paid Person’s Opinion
  52. Like AirBNB, but with this missing feature Is this the real problem, or are we… “Flavoring” Framing the problem as an existing product + “missing” features. *credit goes to Matthew Milan for this one!
  53. "Don't spend too much time on this" M.V.P.* Is this the real problem, or are we… “Satisficing” Aims for a "good enough" solution that avoids the risk and costs associated with identifying and responding to the root problem *as practiced!
  54. Just copy Amazon Is this the real problem, or are we… “Following the Leader” Framing the problem as having been already been solved by someone else
  55. We're building THE Community for parents of ALREADY EXISTS! Type I diabetics Is this the real problem, or are we… “Supsending Reality” Believing the problem has not been solved already.
  56. This UI looks great while we only have a few options, but we’ll have hundreds in a few years! We need to design for both… Is this the real problem, or are we… “Future Proofing” Solving for a problem that doesn’t exist yet
  57. Anchoring Narrowing the problem Solutioneering Pacifying [insert name or role] Wishlisting Being Presumptuous Buzzwording Overlooking the Obvious Frankensteining Ego Stroking Boiling the Ocean Flavoring Treating a Symptom Satisficing Amplifying the Feedback Following the Leader Hamstringing Supsending Reality Bandwagoning Future Proofing Please add to, edit, and improve this list: http://bit.ly/badproblems
  58. “So… How can I write a GOOD problem statement?”
  59. One simple tip:
  60. Ask Why
  61. Getting to the real problem…
  62. requirements (and user stories) 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  63. requirements (and user stories) 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes x 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  64. requirements (and user stories) 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes x 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  65. requirements (and user stories) 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes x x 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  66. requirements (and user stories) 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes x x 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  67. requirements (and user stories) 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes x x 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. Y =
  68. requirements (and user stories) 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  69. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) for clarity (why? why? why?) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  70. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) for clarity (why? why? why?) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes My wallpaper is peeling off– 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints how do I get the wallpaper to 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! stay on the wall? 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. Why is it falling off the wall? The wall is wet Why is the wall is wet? The wall is wet because there’s a leak in the attic. Why is there a leak in the attic?
  71. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) desired outcomes 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! Who needs what by when? 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. Focuses on Desired Outcomes Why do they want it? Shifts the conversation to Experiences What are their conditions of Desired Creates a Generative Thinking Space satisfaction? Outcome(s) Focuses on Value How will we measure success? Worksheet Encourages Objective Feedback If Who = user What Needs and Insights are driving this request?
  72. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) desired outcomes 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! Who needs what by when? 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. Why do they want it? What are their conditions of Desired satisfaction? Outcome(s) How will we measure success? Worksheet If Who = user What Needs and Insights are driving this request?
  73. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) desired outcomes 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints A teenage girl with a bl 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people!ak e oneeds what by to fe Who utlook needswhen?el more 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. s do ally acc p Why ocithey wanteit?ted when eating healttheir ood, because in sWhat are hy f conditions of A teenag e girl need hood a social risk is mo her Desiredous food dange iti satisfaction? re more nutr rous tha re will we measure success? n a health risk Outcome(s)ins a How ause vitam bec Worksheet ealth If Who = user to good h vital What Needs and Insights are driving this request? *example from Stanford D. School
  74. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes conflicting desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! User Goals 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. Desired Outcome(s) the Sweet Spot! Desired Outcome(s) Business Goals
  75. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes conflicting desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! User Goals 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. Desired Outcome(s) the Sweet Spot! Desired Outcome(s) Business Goals
  76. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes Real from Perceived Constraints 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. Desired Outcome(s)
  77. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes Real from Perceived Constraints 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT Desired Outcome(s) CONSTRAINT
  78. Separate Real from Perceived Constraints You can pry the greenscreen out of my cold, dead hands
  79. Separate Real from Perceived Constraints Our technology stack doesn’t let us do that… The CEO will never go for that We’ve already tried something like that
  80. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes Real from Perceived Constraints 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT Desired Outcome(s) CONSTRAINT
  81. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints back, look for complementary projects… and people! 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way. CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT Desired Desired CONSTRAINT CONSTRAINT Outcome(s) Outcome(s) CONSTRAINT
  82. Project A Project B Project A Project B Project C
  83. Step back, look for complementary projects… and people!
  84. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints back, look for complementary projects… and people! 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  85. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints back, look for complementary projects… and people! 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  86. 1 Ignore requirements (and user stories) 2 Keep questioning for clarity (why? why? why?) 3 Define the desired outcomes 4 Resolve conflicting desired outcomes 5 Separate Real from Perceived Constraints 6 Step back, look for complementary projects… and people! repeat. Learn along the way. 7 Rinse & repeat. Learn along the way.
  87. Stop. Why are we doing this? What is the Desired Outcome?
  88. Good. You're finally asking the right questions!
  89. Thank you! www.slideshare.net/stephenpa slideshare.net/stephenpa getmentalnotes.com Stephen P Anderson . @stephenanderson www.poetpainter.com

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