Monday, September 10, 2012

Workshop: Validate with Janice Fraser & Laura Klein

This post was co-written by Eric Ries and Sarah Milstein, co-hosts of The Lean Startup Conference.
As we explained last week, we have stellar workshops scheduled for December 4--the second day of The Lean Startup Conference. Because the workshops require a bigger commitment (you need a Gold or Platinum Pass to attend), we wanted to give you more information about what you can expect. Herewith, then, is the first in a series of interviews with our workshop presenters.

Validate Your Learning Engines” will be led by Janice Fraser, Founder/CEO of LUXr, and Laura Klein, Director of Product & UX at One Jackson--both authors of forthcoming books on Lean UX. We asked them a few questions to help you get inside their heads. Here’s what they said:

What aspect of Lean Startup methods most inspires you?

Janice: Reframing our gut instincts as “a hypothesis I'm working with right now.” It honors the instincts that every entrepreneur has, but also gives us permission to be wrong and explore other possibilities. 

Laura: I love the fact that everything is measurable. Making everything a measurable hypothesis means that we can see the impact that design and usability have on the bottom line of the business. This not only helps the company and the users, but it helps us become better designers, and it also justifies money spent on UX. 

What makes it hard for companies to implement this process?

Janice: There is no process yet! Lean Startup is a way of thinking, and right now everyone has to sort of figure out a process on their own. I'm glad to be part of an active community that's figuring out how to put Lean Startup into practice.

Laura: The most frequent problem I've run into is the desire by engineers to have some criteria by which they can consider something “done.” Nothing's ever “done” in Lean. We iterate and learn. I can't tell you before you start work on a project what the exact acceptance criteria are going to be, because everything depends on how the user reacts to the changes. There's also, I think, still a fundamental misunderstanding of Lean in some circles. There's the belief that Lean means cheap or not well designed. If you don't understand the methodology, you obviously can't implement it well. 

What will people take away from your workshop?

Janice: Laura and I are both SUPER PRACTICAL. Participants will leave equipped with specific, concrete techniques for doing better experiments, getting more out of their time with customers, and measuring the right things more effectively. 

Laura: You're going to learn practical, hands-on methods for validating hypotheses quickly and efficiently. You can't be lean unless you know how to validate and measure. We're going to give you specific directions for how to do that. We're also going to show you some incredibly helpful design techniques that will let you respond to your user research and create a product that customers love. 

To show you Janice and Laura in action, we’ve grabbed some past talks for you to check out. Here's Janice speaking at MX 2011 on Crushing the Boulder: User Experience and the Lean Startup. And here's Laura participating in a panel at Startup Lessons Learned 2010 called But What About Design? (Laura’s at far right.)

Here are two reasons to register today: 1) space for the workshops is limited; and 2) we have a block of early-bird tickets on sale right now. When this block sells out, the price goes up. Register now for a Gold or Platinum Pass to attend the workshops.

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