I love this guerilla episode on making of a sunglass comparison app from the Nordstrom Innovation Lab.
If you are thinking of building “something new”, a new app or enterprise solution, or revamping your legacy system, this is for you. Often times you hear buzzwords like design-thinking, user-centric design etc. Rarely we have the opportunity to witness a good example of it first hand. Well, here it is. A rather “extreme” example of agile product development. User-focused, value-driven, incremental release in a rapid iteration.
What stood out:
- Distance from the end-user: zero. They work where the action is.
- Cost of very early stage innovation: almost zero. Look at the paper prototypes.
- Time to ship MVP: 1 day.
- Features in MVP: 1. Just take the photos and compare.
- Expect the unexpected: The polarized sunglass canceling the polarization of the iPad that made the portrait mode blank. In traditional waterfall, it’d take several months to detect and fix this “feature”. By that time, the user may have already ditched the app because it ‘just does not work’.
- Easily overlooked assumption: expertise of the team. Each team member has to know what they are doing to pull something like this off.
So, next time we are building “something new”, lets make an effort to open our hearts to our users – the “agile way”. Otherwise, we may end up with a solution that’s looking for a problem and not the other way around.