Conference Room Prototyping: A low-cost, High-value Approach to Selecting the Solution You Really Need, by Julian Murfitt, Mekon
Julian (and Mekon) has created many prototypes over the years, and has now created a “Conference Room Prototype” drawn from past experience.
The first assumptions:
- The client has done some evaluations
- There is a content strategy in place
- This project has a high percentage possibility of failure
- 12 dominant risks (red flags) toward failure:
- None of them talked about tools or technology!
- All were about people and process
Human factors identify how to avoid a content strategy plane crash. (He gave a presentation on Human Factors at Congility.)
The mental model: people can only think about what they think about. They can’t conceive of something that they can’t imagine.
- DITA is a migration process
- It requires people to understand DITA in their mental model.
The old way:
- The vendor sets the plan
Don’t buy the car without driving it first!
The conference room prototype:
- Hands on session – a 2 day session
- Involve a cross-section of the team
- Includes some initial training to orient users
- Choose the team carefully
- Team members will feel a sense of ownership
- Create user stories to test out on the prototype
- Create them in a “who/what/why”
- More than just putting down the requirements
- Look at the activities, and then determine the stories that cover those activities (and their related functionalities)
- Ask: did we actually solve for the need that we identified?
Prototyping is essentially testing – it makes obvious what was not obvious.
In order to prototype, you need to prepare:
- Sample content
- The right team
- Carefully developed user stories
- Engage a vendor
During the prototype session:
- Collect feedback
- Review and Refine