Have you ever worked on something only to see it NOT make the impact you were hoping? We’d like to share something we believe can revolutionize how you think and work with your team. It doesn’t matter if you’re a program manager, designer, developer, security engineer, graphics artist, or IT specialist. These four actions will help you maximize your impact, minimize waste, and deliver exceptional solutions.

1. Focus on outcomes, not features

The first step is to frame your work in terms of outcomes – for your audience’s business and them as a user. It can be easy to walk into a customer meeting thinking you already have a solution to a problem. For example, you may showcase a technology you think they need. Resist that temptation. Instead, focus on their need. Here are some suggestions:

  • Begin with a problem statement (the specific problems that need to be addressed).
  • Identify your assumptions about the problem (what you think might be true).
  • Transform your assumptions into hypotheses (the outcomes that will motivate them).
  • Prioritize your hypotheses.

2. Focus on collaborative design

The second step is to test your hypotheses. Use collaborative conversation to design or build something to help you do this. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Be sure your team is aware of the problem you are trying to solve (see Step 1).
  • Invite each team member to generate ideas.
  • Have team members present their ideas.
  • Pair team members to iterate and refine their ideas.
  • As a team, converge on one idea for each hypothesis.
  • Decide on next steps.

3. Focus on your MVP

The third step is to identify an MVP, which is short for Minimum Viable Product. Create an MVP to test your hypothesis, and get the desired outcome faster. To minimize the work you otherwise would put into unproven ideas, start with your prioritized list of hypotheses. Here are the questions to consider:

  • What’s the most important thing we need to learn first (or next) about this hypothesis?
  • What’s the least amount of work we can do to learn and make our time and effort count?

4. Focus on Research and Learning

The fourth step is to get feedback. This is the phase that transitions you from assumption to validation. Research and learning is continuous. Be prepared for feedback, knowing that critique is the cornerstone of a great team. If you’re striving to learn, you’re striving for excellence. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Showcase your MVP with your team and users.
  • Take time to hold a meeting with your team to evaluate and find areas for improvement after your task or effort.

Wrap Up

These four simple steps are the essence of creating a great User Experience (UX) for anyone. UX isn’t just about creating software; it’s about creating Wow for your customers at all levels. You can see UX in play in all sorts of businesses. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your team to create a great UX for your customers.

By Paul Gustavson, Mason Vines, and JP Sieck