My Top Takeaways from MIMA Summit 2017

The MIMA Summit is an annual event that includes many thought provoking sessions by today’s digital experts on a variety of topics designed to inform and inspire. Attendees include digital creatives, technologists, storytellers, advertisers, marketers, and product strategists. It’s always a jam-packed day of education and creative ideas.

This year’s Summit was no exception. The session featuring David Hussman, Founder of DevJam, was one of the best in my opinion. In this session, David talked about lessons learned around building digital tools within collaborative environments. I found this session to be particularly relevant to what we do at RBA as a digital and technology consultancy and I would like to share some of the key takeaways from this session.

David Hussman

In his session titled, How Wrong Are You Ready to Be? speaker, teacher, coach and DevJam founder, David Hussman explored the nature of being wrong as it relates to creating digital products that meet or exceed customer needs. David’s unique background as a music producer, combined with his years of producing digital solutions has enabled him to develop tools that have been proven to help teams build less of the wrong thing faster, by building more of what is really needed by the customer or user.

Key Learnings from David’s Presentation:

Discovery and Delivery
-Encourage collaborative environments, exploration, and design using story maps (a sequence of events toward an end goal).
-Get everyone in a room together to talk about project goals and user needs.
-Use Post-It Notes and rough sketches to help capture good ideas and eliminate the bad.
-What is the most obvious action for the user may not be the easiest action to do.
-From easy to complex, the team building the product needs to stay true to the goals and intent of the product.
-The more people that can understand the vision the better the team will do.
-Product Discovery = Learning outside of production
-Cross-Disciplinary Teams working together can tell the story, and emphasize the results with the end user. (The true principles of User Centered Design).
-Full-stack teams are more efficient and work better together.

Activities to encourage teams to work together:
-Collaborative Frameworks
-Customer Discovery
-Story Mapping
-Mapping Customer Journeys (Post-It Exercises – exploring linear and non-linear ideas)
-Defining Methods for Measuring Success


Going from Discover to Delivery, some things that work well:
-Envisioning – with Design and UX leading
-Building simple prototypes.
-Proving that an idea has real value and impact.
-Moving away from what is wrong or not good, (negativity) to focus on the main goal (positivity).
-Remembering the mission or users’ goals.
-Design using an iterative cycle, this makes a project run smoother, and the deliverables tighter.
-Start by creating a working prototype.
-Failing (making some mistakes) is important. This leads to early learning.
-You need to be able to measure your design or development decisions.

Use Chaos Engineering
-Make solid ecosystems or environments so you can do experimentation early and often.
-Tools that use Intuition Engineering (example: Automated computer testing in Development was pioneered by the Japanese.)


Making the Agile Process a good fit
When building digital products in an Agile environment, not all of us do it the same way. Teams should see how well it works for them, challenge the process and make it work for their situation. And, don’t be so rigid that you move away from discovery and delivery.

In Summary: the Big Takeaways

The more people that can understand the vision, the better the team will do. Make sure that everyone on the team that is helping to define, design, or build the project knows and understands the goals of the end user. Getting the team together to talk about the goals of the project and user needs is very important. Use story maps, Post-It Notes and rough sketches to help with these discovery sessions so that essentially, you build less of the wrong thing faster, by building more of what is really needed by the customer or user.

Agile is not a one-size-fits-all process. Don’t be afraid to challenge the process and make it work for you.