What it is
A collaborative effort to define problems through a focus on goals and the criteria by which a team will measure a solution’s impact on those problems.
Reasons to use it
To keep the team vigilant about the user’s perspective and to establish a user-centered framework for passively measuring over time. Research keeps us vigilant about building metrics that emphasize the user’s perspective rather than metrics that make us appear good at our jobs.
Small: 1–2 hours
How to do it
Describe the existing situation to the team, including who the stakeholders are and what their stake is.
Use personas to identify users’ skills, practices, and behaviors. Decide which you want to promote (and how you would measure that). Next, look at personas’ pain points and consider how you would alleviate them (and how you would measure that).
Anonymously collect the team’s greatest hopes and fears. Print these out, group them by topic, and discuss. Think about how you can measure throughout the project whether it is aligning with your collective hopes or deviating toward your collective fears.
Craft a problem statement:
We have observed that [product/service/organization] isn’t meeting [these goals/needs], which is causing [this adverse effect]. How might we improve so that our team/organization is more successful based on [these measurable criteria]?
Applied in government research
No PRA implications. No information is collected from members of the public.
- “Needs + Resources + Location + Schedule + Budget = Scope.” Whitney Hess.
- “No One Nos: Learning to Say No to Bad Ideas.” Whitney Hess.
- Video: Understanding Impact: The mySociety agenda. Dr. Rebecca Rumbul.
- “How not to say the wrong thing.” Susan Silk and Barry Goldman.