Lean Product Development & Feature Prioritization in UX: Smart Camp Case Study
This article is intended to look at creation of an online learning platform that will transform the in-person learning experience into a digital experience, so teenagers with less time and financial resources can join. Project aimed to acknowledge the Lean Product Development as a methodology, build an MVP of an app, using Design Thinking accordingly.
The “Lean” as a movement and how it applies in Product Development & User Experience
The Lean movement was born in the automotive industry in Japan during the mid-1950s. This movement was mainly aimed at loss reduction and sustainable production.
Nowadays, Lean methodologies aim to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply put, Lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources. It is a philosophy of “Smart Development” that aims to improve virtually everything you do by eliminating anything that doesn’t bring value to the customer.
Lean UX is about:
- Figuring out which metrics drive a business
- Understanding what customer problems we can solve to improve those metrics
- Generating ideas for fixing those customer problems
- Validating whether or not we were correct
Lean UX principles:
Lean UX Steps:
- Declare assumptions
- Create an MVP
- Run an experiment (user test)
- Feedback & research
- Revise assumptions, declare new assumptions, and repeat.
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a way to get real-world feedback on your idea. This MVP should be as simple as possible and should contain only what is needed to give the customers a realistic experience of how the product would work.
However, the Minimum Viable Product should be a product developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The users should be able to fulfill their needs with those sufficient features. It should be able to stand on its own so that you can learn from it.
MVP in UX: Features Prioritization
Every project has resource limitations: Time, Money, and People. So if you are planning on developing an MVP, you will need to select and prioritize what you want to include.
So you need to plan a gradual roll-out of your solution. The more features you have at launch, the harder it is to tell what works and what doesn’t. But, how to choose and prioritize these features?
Start with the big picture. Gather as much information in these categories as possible:
- Business Goals | Stakeholder interviews | Business model | Success metrics | Most important metric
- User Goals | User research |Persona development | Primary persona
- Most important use case
Smart Camp Case Study: How MVP applied in our online learning product
Brief: Smart Camp Inc. is an educational company born in 2014. They currently offer in-person courses about ecology, music, yoga, cooking, and technology for teenagers (12–16 yr.old). Their main attraction is workshop camps. Dozens of kids join every month the workshops in different locations, as the school has a very special recipe: they integrate classes, outdoor activities, technology, humor, games, and other cool stuff to their mission of teaching teenagers additional skills.
Problem Statement: Smart Camp Inc. needs a way to provide an engaging online experience for teenagers that cannot attend the workshop camp.
- Remarkable insights as a result of surveys and interviews conducted to 12–16 years old teenagers.
2. Market Positioning Map
3. User Persona we created as a result of our research
Problem Definition and Hypothesis Statement
How might we improve Jake’s knowledge in ecological science online while having fun and interacting with classmates?
As mentioned earlier, Lean UX requires assumption declare. Depending on our conducted data, we are ready for a declaration. We have a problem statement asking how to meet user needs. Here is the hypothesis statement:
We created a Camping Interface Concept for this project and decided to surround the product (fun, dialogue, guidance) with the camping concept.
Campside: Personal dashboard with clear structure and guidance
Excursions: Browse all camping offerings
Campfire: Dialogue forum
We were very excited ending up with such a creative concept and wanted to create so many features for the product.
Towards Solution: Feature Prioritization
My project partner Tobi and I came with a plenty of features that can be applied to our product to satisfy customer needs. It’s now time for an MVP.
We used Moscow Method to categorize what features are a must, are optional, and are out of the scope of our product.
Always ask yourself what is the simplest way to satisfy the business need and the user need?
The two tasks we prioritized:
- Attending a live class: Apart from video lessons, we decided providing live video classes by the camp mentors.
- Join a fireplace: Forum where students discuss further about a specific class subject.
Low-Fi Wireframes, Testing and Iterating
After the testings of Low-fi wireframes, we observed tester and collected feedback. We decided to eliminate “excursions” category as it wasn’t a vital need for the user.
- Choosing the right research method for the target group: Online surveys with the teenage group didn’t give us sufficient insight, interviewing the teenage group worked better.
- It was a pleasure working with a talented designer Tobi Nusser