Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Productyping, the evil twin of pretotyping

In the Pretotype It book, I describe productyping as follows:

Productyping is the evil twin of pretotyping.  If pretotyping can be summarized as: “make sure you are building the right it before you build it right,” productyping can be summarized as: “build it right even if you are not sure you are building the right it.”
Here are some signs that you might be productyping instead of pretotyping:

  • You add non-critical features and embellishments that no user has requested.
  • You worry about scalability when you don't even have 100 (or 10) users.
  • You spend too much time to tweaking the UI: This line should be 3 pixels instead of 2.
  • ...
And here's the grandaddy of them all:
  • You prematurely design and develop a general solution instead of addressing specific needs, problems and requests of your existing users in a timely manner.
This XKCD comic really hits the spot on this last point:


Monday, November 7, 2011

Pretotyping the "Lean Innovation and Pretotyping Workshop" at Google

A couple of weeks ago I ran a pilot of our new, hands-on, Lean Innovation and Pretotyping Workshop at Google.

I designed this workshop for teams working together on specific projects.  I am experimenting with the ideal number of "students", but since the workshop is meant to be hands-on and interactive I expect that we'll get the best results with 10-20 people per workshop.

After an introduction to the Pretotyping Manifesto, we looked at several examples of pretotyping in different industries, and then we set of to design and develop pretotypes specifically for the team's needs (I call this pretostorming.)

All attendees received a hard-copy of Pretotype It (of course) but also a copy of Eric Ries' excellent The Lean Startup.

Here's a photo from the workshop with the attendees showing off their schwag:

A couple of people had working pretotypes within 24 hours and the feedback from attendees has been very positive. Here's one quote from the team lead: "You are going to love this workshop!  Completely energized the team -- ideas became reality only hours/days after the conclusion."

Based on the success of the pilot workshop, I've already been invited to conduct 5 more in the next 2-3 weeks and plan a lot more over the next few months.