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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!”

A Speed Boat or nothing…

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/10/17

Speed ​​Boat is one of the “Innovation games“, one of those games that, like Product Vision Box , Remember the future or Buy a feature, is very useful during our Agile and UX workshops.

Speedboat is an interactive, collective and funny way to identify constraints, obstacles, problems with our product or our project, then to prioritize actions in order to remove them!

Speed boat, a boat with many facets…

The advantage of the Speed ​​Boat metaphor is that the game can be very useful in a lot of contexts. Indeed, our boat is appropriate to represent our development project (which does not advance for some reason…), our product, subject to criticisms and comments of its users or the team in charge to bring agility to the organization.

Result of our Speedboat WorkShop ...The goal is the Agile Enterprise

Result of our Speedboat WorkShop ...The goal is the Agile Enterprise

The rules of the game

  • Draw a speed boat on a whiteboard or poster
  • The boat is our system, our product, our project or our team, so name it (Here, the boat is our Agile transition team)
  • Of course, the objective of the Speed ​​boat (our product…) is to go fast (for best performance). So I first ask the participants to describe us precisely what characterizes the optimal performance, the desirable conditions (yellow notes attached to the port or on the island that the boat needs to reach)
  • The boat position represents today and the distance between the boat and the island can be seen as an indicator (not in our case)
  • The anchors represent the obstacles slowing the movement of our boat: impediments or things that our customers or users do not like about our product and affect its optimal functioning. The more they are low under the water, the more they are strong (well, up to you to follow this rule!)
  • The green arrows represent positive elements that push our boat

Facilitation

Several variations exist. Here is mine

  • Steps 1 & 2 After the opening and introduction of the game, I usually ask participants to work individually or in pairs (depending on group size) on the goal (desirable conditions) and the positive factors then to present their work to others.
  • Step 3: Then, individually or in small groups it is time to characterize the anchors (obstacles, constraints, things we don’t like)
  • Step 4: The work done, I ask the participants to post their anchors on the wall.
  • Step 5:  Collective consolidation and anchors prioritization
  • Step 6: I usually close the game with an action plan to set up to remove the major anchors!

In short, we generally have a good time playing that game: enjoyable, useful but also very effective!