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Recordings and Materials from the 2013 User Interface 18 Conference

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Escaping Product Requirement Hell Using Lean UX

Jeff Gothelf

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Validate product ideas and concepts early in the process to ensure you’re on the right track. Discover the true requirements using rapid prototyping techniques.

You’ll learn to prioritize an endless backlog of ideas and features by talking about business outcomes earlier in your process — collaboratively — with your entire team.


Validate ideas before writing requirements

  • What is lean, lean startup, and Agile — and how to introduce them into your project
  • The path from assumption to hypothesis, experiment, and requirement
  • How to focus your efforts on achieving a business outcome rather than building features

Refine your assumptions and hypotheses

  • Methods for declaring assumptions and getting your team on the same page
  • The syntax for writing a hypothesis, and how to separate features from outcomes
  • Convergent and divergent brainstorming exercises


Prototype minimum viable products (MVP)

  • Ways to create an MVP to validate your hypothesis, then which experiments to run
  • Why you don’t have to build an entire product to understand if the idea has real value
  • How to validate if users exist, what pains they have, and if your solution will work for them

Conduct team research and report your findings

  • Lightweight testing ideas that your whole team can participate in
  • Interviewing skills to collect solid insights, and analysis techniques to make sense of data
  • How to deliver a report on what you proved or disproved, and how to move forward

You’ll work smarter, not harder.

Identify your users’ real needs first

Remove the risks hidden in pre-ordained requirements. The sooner you can disprove them as assumptions, the faster you can discover the real opportunities to innovate.

Work on ideas that launch fast and win

By proving a real problem exists, you’ve grounded a project in the realities of the market you’re building for. This foundation energizes teams and stop the endless cycle of feature creep.

Bridge the design-development gap

Building empathy for your customer is just as important as building empathy for your team. Get tactics for product teams who want to share in a truly collaborative learning process.

You'll learn how to:

  • Take a savvy business approach to product development
  • Test ideas early to make sure you’re building the “right” things
  • Shift conversations toward hypotheses rather than requirements
  • Encourage cross-functional collaboration based on real data
  • Put together a research guide to structure your projects
  • Build your own toolbox to quickly test, learn, and iterate

4 Practical Takeaways from Jeff’s Workshop

Products people actually want to use or buy

Validate ideas early, build only what’s necessary, and solve users’ problems consistently.

A persistent focus on business outcomes

Challenge the endless backlog of features by forming assumptions and testing hypotheses.

Prototypes that test tiny pieces and minimize risk

Learn to validate hypotheses without building full products.

A more transparent, energizing design process

Spend more quality time working with teams who want to solve the same problems.

This workshop includes hands-on exercises.

You’ll work individually and in groups to declare assumptions, form hypotheses, brainstorm, prototype an MVP, and run lean experiments. You’ll also work on distilling what you learn into a report you could present to stakeholders.

Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX King

@jboogie on Twitter

Jeff Gothelf once spent six months on the road with a circus. Really, if he doesn’t show you the pictures during his workshop or talk, ask him about it. You won’t be sorry.

But these days, Jeff is the ringmaster of lean UX, a methodology to reduce risk and minimize waste in product development. In fact, O’Reilly published Jeff’s Lean UX book this year, and last year Neo Innovation Labs (co-led by The Lean Startup figurehead Eric Ries) acquired his UX consultancy, Proof. He’s now the managing director of Neo’s NYC office.

So suffice it to say, Jeff is The Guy behind lean UX, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him here to teach you what he knows.

And part of what he knows came from his experiences as the UX director at TheLadders.com, where he worked before co-founding Proof. He also spent time in interaction design and UX roles for Publicis Modem, WebTrends, and AOL.

So ladies and gentleman, boys and girls: come on into the big tent for this ace workshop.