Discovery is important because it sets direction by focusing our work on the right problems. We’ve all worked on things where we’re solving the wrong problems. Too many hours wasted on bad directions. People’s lives. Taxpayers’ money. Our careers.
Yet I see too many teams doing bad discoveries.
A big part of this is that we’re not clear enough about how to run good discoveries. This gets in the way of motivated teams and stops them doing better work. There are other reasons, of course, but this post is for motivated teams that want practical tips.
To come up with these tips I ran two discoveries to find out what works, and what doesn’t, from experience. These are my three stories about doing better discoveries:
- Better discoveries with the discovery block diagram
- Setting up a discovery to succeed with a small team
- Finishing off a discovery to do justice to your work
You won’t find much in these stories about how to do the investigative work of a discovery. There’s plenty of good stuff out there about that. Instead, these stories are about the invisible essentials of good discoveries - how you think about the work, how you plan your work together, and how you bring it all together at the end.
Without better discoveries we can never bring the full power of user-centred design to our workplaces. Of course these stories don’t contain all the answers, but they're a good place to start if you’re running a discovery yourself. I know because we’ve used them to do better discoveries at GDS.
I hope they do the same for you and your workplace.
Let me know what you think on @myddelton.