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Remember the future… not only to mitigate cognitive biases

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/11/27

“Remember the Future” is one of the 13 games offered and popularized by Luke Hohmann.

I’ve already talked about the Product Vision Box and Speed ​​Boat which I use regularly … it is now time to introduce you with another game…

Remember the future … not only to mitigate cognitive biase

your customers and users are not good to speculate on the use of a future product. The user is not a designer, and this kind of questions: “What should our product do?” is mostly useless.

Too vague, too open,… As a designer or user researcher you, you need to be cautious with the comments users make about a future usage…

Users tend to generalize, simplify or idealize ...

Remember the future is a little technique to minimize these biases by immersing the user in a past that will be more concrete for him.

It’s a simple game, really appropriate to frame the content of a release, or to agree on the success criteria of a specific project or mission. *

And this is exactly how I have used it for the first time 4 years ago: the objectives of the mission were unclear, the context was complex, we had a large number of “high level” participants at our workshop…. Remember the future allowed us to move smoothly and to complete the impressive series of workshops requested …

Remember the future help you to establish a reference point for comparison; it gives context and enables both better understanding and exploration. As Luke Hohman says, it works:

“Because it is easier to understand and describe a future event from the past tense over a possible future event ”

An example of scenario:

“We are in September 2012 it is now six months that you use this new product, you’re happy with it and people can see it. (Step 1) This morning you meet your boss asking you what do you like so much in this new product, and what the product has done for you the last three months” (Step 2)

There are many variations on the implementation of the game (various scenarios or levels of detail) but the most important element remains the questioning:

BEFORE (and classically without the game): “What the product should do?”

AFTER (as part of the game): Context + “What will the product have done?”

The idea behind the game, as any UX technique, is to play the game with many users… Don’t hesitate to alternate “one on one” formats or small group dynamics …
Another benefit of Remember the future is that it can be used in multiple situations. Recently, I used the game to fit the expectations of my clients for my agile coaching activities.

They were two … we first exchanged on the issue, I gave them the scenario and asked them to work individually for 5 minutes generating notes. Then, they did grouping on the poster.

Results: we had a clear idea of ​​4 or 5 areas to focus on!

“Involve me and I’ll understand!”

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