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Scenario-Focused Engineering: A toolbox for innovation and customer-centricity

Book Description

Blend the art of innovation with the rigor of engineering

Great technology alone is rarely sufficient to ensure a product’s success. Scenario-Focused Engineering is a customer-centric, iterative approach used to design and deliver the seamless experiences and emotional engagement customers demand in new products. In this book, you’ll discover the proven practices and lessons learned from real-world implementations of this approach, including why delight matters, what it means to be customer-focused, and how to iterate effectively using the Fast Feedback Cycle.

In an engineering environment traditionally rooted in strong analytics, the ideas and practices for Scenario-Focused Engineering may seem counter-intuitive. Learn how to change your team’s mindset from deciding what a product, service, or device will do and solving technical problems to discovering and building what customers actually want.

Improve the methods and mindsets you use to:

  • Select a target customer to maximize carryover

  • Discover your customer’s unarticulated needs

  • Use storytelling to align your team and partners

  • Mitigate tunnel vision to generate more innovative ideas

  • Use experimentation to fail fast and learn

  • Solicit early and ongoing feedback

  • Iterate using a funnel-shaped approach

  • Manage your projects around end-to-end experiences

  • Build a team culture that puts the customer first

  • Table of Contents

    1. Title Page
    2. Copyright Page
    3. Praise for Scenario-Focused Engineering
    4. Contents at a glance
    5. Contents
    6. Foreword
    7. Introduction
      1. Who are you?
      2. Our story
      3. What we discovered
      4. Where did SFE come from?
      5. About the SFE workshop
      6. What will you get out of this book?
      7. Organization of this book
      8. How to read this book
      9. Contact us
      10. Acknowledgments
      11. Errata, updates, & book support
      12. Free ebooks from Microsoft Press
      13. We want to hear from you
    8. Part I: Overview
      1. Chapter 1. Why delight matters
        1. A car story
          1. More data about me
          2. My criteria
          3. The experience
        2. What do you recommend?
          1. The common thread
          2. The reality check
        3. Useful, usable, and desirable
          1. Useful
          2. Usable
          3. Desirable
          4. Putting it together
        4. Need more proof?
        5. Summary
      2. Chapter 2. End-to-end experiences, not features
        1. What’s wrong with features?
        2. Think end to end
          1. What job is your product actually doing?
          2. Optimizing features doesn’t make an experience
          3. Less—it’s the new more
          4. Easy, seamless, pain free
          5. Remember the ecosystem
          6. Cradle to grave
          7. Getting the details right
        3. What if there is no GUI?
          1. Ruby—a love story
          2. The things developers say
        4. Don’t forget what you already know
        5. Summary
      3. Chapter 3. Take an experimental approach
        1. Designing a new mouse
        2. The Fast Feedback Cycle
          1. Target customer
          2. Observe
          3. Frame
          4. Brainstorm
          5. Build
          6. Repeat: Observe customers again to get feedback
          7. Keep iterating
        3. Looking deeper
          1. Haven’t I met you somewhere before?
          2. The scientific method
          3. Mix and match your toolbox
        4. Summary
    9. Part II: The Fast Feedback Cycle
      1. Chapter 4. Identifying your target customer
        1. Why you need a target customer
          1. You need to focus
          2. You can’t optimize for everyone
        2. Carryover gives you focus and breadth
          1. A tale of two can openers
          2. How does carryover work?
        3. It’s a complex ecosystem
          1. What is a customer, exactly?
          2. Getting specific about customers
          3. How many target customers do I need?
        4. Identify stage: Tools and techniques
          1. Develop a business strategy
          2. Map out your ecosystem
          3. Strategies for maximizing carryover
          4. Empower the team with a North Star
          5. What if you pick the wrong North Star?
        5. Target customer stage: How do you know you’re done?
      2. Chapter 5. Observing customers: Building empathy
        1. You are not the customer
          1. Building empathy
        2. What customers won’t tell you
          1. Unearthing unarticulated needs
          2. Generating insights about customers
          3. The power of direct observation
          4. Needs versus insights
        3. The multiple dimensions of customer research
          1. Generative versus evaluative research
          2. Do as I SAY, or as I DO?
          3. QUANT versus QUAL
          4. Using complementary research approaches
          5. Where do I find customers?
          6. How many customers should I study?
          7. Do I need an expert?
          8. What is the engineering team’s role in research?
        4. Observe stage: Key tools and techniques
          1. Data-gathering techniques
          2. Secondary research sources
          3. Turning the corner: Synthesizing data into insights
        5. Deep dive: Creating an affinity diagram
          1. Preparation
          2. Step 1: Initial sorting
          3. Step 2: Summaries
          4. Step 3: Read out and re-sort
          5. Step 4: Tape it up
          6. Step 5: Look for insights
        6. Observe stage: How do you know when you are done?
      3. Chapter 6. Framing the problem
        1. Articulate the problem you want to solve
          1. Get everyone on the same page
          2. Maintain customer focus throughout the project
        2. The basics of framing
          1. Capture the end-to-end experience with stories
          2. Keep framing implementation-free
          3. Metrics set the bar for how good the solution needs to be
          4. Big stories and small stories
        3. Frame stage: Key tools and techniques
          1. Tools that help you capture key metrics
          2. Tools that help you tell the customer’s story
          3. Turning the corner: Tools to help you prioritize your list of work
        4. Deep dive: Writing scenarios
          1. A good scenario is SPICIER
          2. Anatomy of a scenario
          3. Scenario tips and tricks
        5. Frame stage: How do you know when you are done?
      4. Chapter 7. Brainstorming alternatives
        1. Where does innovation come from?
          1. Patterns of successful innovation
          2. Innovation does not happen all at once
        2. Explore lots of alternatives
          1. The power of blends
          2. The math behind innovation
          3. The problem with tunnel vision
          4. Mitigating tunnel vision
        3. Good ideas come from the strangest places
          1. Diverse people create more diverse ideas
          2. Embrace the cousins
          3. Encourage lateral jumps
          4. Suspend disbelief about wild ideas
          5. Marinating
        4. Explore stage: Key tools and techniques
          1. Visualization techniques
          2. Brainstorming techniques
          3. Supercharging your idea generation
          4. Turning the corner: Deciding which ideas to move forward
        5. Deep dive: Group brainstorming
          1. Follow the ground rules
          2. Facilitating a group brainstorming session
          3. Concluding a brainstorming session
        6. Brainstorm stage: How do you know when you are done?
      5. Chapter 8. Building prototypes and coding
        1. Experimentation: Make data-driven decisions
        2. Experimentation with rapid prototypes
          1. Prototypes come in many flavors
          2. Build multiple prototypes in parallel
          3. Rough prototypes stimulate more valuable feedback
          4. Prototyping: More than just a feedback tool
        3. What makes a good prototype?
          1. Go from low fidelity to high fidelity
          2. Where do I focus my experiments?
          3. I don’t have a GUI, why prototype?
        4. When to transition from prototypes to production code
          1. Where are you in the project?
          2. What is the nature of the problem you are trying to solve?
          3. Which skills or tools are your team members most comfortable with?
          4. Throw away code or production?
          5. Building code in slices
        5. Build stage: Tools and techniques
          1. Paper prototyping
          2. Software for rapid prototyping
          3. Three-dimensional prototypes
          4. Prototyping with skits
          5. Prototyping an API
          6. Prototyping with code
        6. Deep dive: Paper prototyping
          1. Building a paper prototype
        7. Build stage: How do you know you’re done?
      6. Chapter 9. Observing customers: Getting feedback
        1. Why get feedback?
        2. User testing comes in many flavors
          1. Testing whether you fully understand the customer need
          2. Testing whether you’ve got the right solution
          3. Testing whether your solution works well
          4. Fine-tuning the details of your solution
          5. Testing real-world usage over time
          6. Formal versus informal testing approaches
          7. Testing for improvement versus confirmation
        3. The Zen of giving and receiving feedback
          1. How to listen for feedback
          2. Ask open-ended questions
          3. Present multiple options
          4. How to give feedback (to teammates)
        4. Observe stage (feedback): Key tools and techniques
          1. Scenario interview
          2. Lean Startup “fake homepage” approach
          3. Concept testing and focus groups
          4. Surveys and questionnaires
          5. Cognitive walk-through
          6. Heuristic evaluation
          7. Wizard of Oz test
          8. Informal testing and observation
          9. Usability testing
          10. Eye tracking
          11. Card sorting
          12. A/B testing
          13. Big data, usage telemetry, and continuous feedback
        5. Deep dive: Usability testing
          1. Discount usability testing
          2. Formal usability testing
          3. How many people do I test?
          4. Biases of usability testing
        6. Getting feedback: How do you know when you are done?
      7. Chapter 10. The importance of iteration
        1. What does (good) iteration look like?
          1. Iteration is a feedback system
          2. Iterate quickly
          3. Iterate throughout the entire project life cycle
          4. Iterate in a funnel shape
          5. How many alternatives are enough?
        2. Unpacking the Fast Feedback Cycle
          1. Understand versus create
          2. External versus internal
          3. Diverge versus converge
          4. The sawtooth
          5. Turning the corner
        3. Phases of iteration
          1. Needs phase
          2. Solution-tradeoffs phase
          3. Details phase
          4. What about small projects?
        4. Final thoughts on iteration
    10. Part III: The day after
      1. Chapter 11. The way you work
        1. Shift from doing many things to focusing on a few
        2. Shift from milestones to sprints
        3. Shift from work-item lists to scenario hierarchies
          1. Story hierarchies
          2. Work-item tracking system
        4. Shift from ad hoc user testing to regular customer touch points
        5. Shift from bug counts to experience metrics
          1. Three kinds of metrics
          2. Measuring customer experience
          3. The science of summative data
          4. Capturing benchmarks
          5. Trending key metrics over time
          6. Experience scorecards
        6. Shift from building components to building experience slices
        7. Shift from upfront specs to alternatives, prototypes, and documentation
          1. The alternatives (alts) doc
          2. The prototype
          3. Functional specs
        8. Shift from component reviews to experience reviews
          1. How leaders can help
        9. Shift from individual focus to team focus
        10. What doesn’t change?
      2. Chapter 12. Lessons learned
        1. Getting started
          1. Getting to aha isn’t enough
          2. This isn’t paint by numbers
          3. You don’t have to do everything
          4. Don’t overindex on scenarios
          5. Don’t forget about the end-to-end experience
        2. Team dynamics
          1. Engineers are natural skeptics
          2. Collaboration isn’t everybody doing everything together
          3. It’s difficult to predict who will shine or where
          4. Semantics matter
        3. The role of leaders
          1. Leaders: What got you here, won’t get you there
          2. You can’t fake a business strategy
          3. You can’t overcommunicate
          4. The way to convince an executive . . .
        4. Managing change
          1. Teams with sustained focus from leaders make bigger changes
          2. Middle managers are the hardest to bring onboard
          3. Harness champions as change agents
          4. You can’t grow a foot overnight
          5. Pilot with a small team first
          6. The change is bigger than you think
    11. Appendix A. SFE capabilities roadmap
      1. Define direction: Drive customer excellence from the top
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      2. Define direction: Choose target customers strategically
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      3. Customer focus: Extract deep insights from diverse data
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      4. Customer focus: Continuous learning with customer feedback
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      5. Customer focus: Cultivate a long-term customer relationship
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      6. Complete experiences: Define complete experiences
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      7. Complete experiences: Deliver complete experiences
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      8. Complete experiences: Track and react to specific metrics
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      9. Iterative habits: Envision multiple experiences
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
      10. Iterative habits: Learn fast through deliberate experimentation
        1. What great looks like
        2. Typical roadmap
    12. Appendix B. The Fast Feedback Cycle
    13. Appendix C. Further reading
      1. Business strategy
      2. Design thinking
      3. Observation and customer research
      4. Storytelling
      5. Metrics and measurement
      6. Innovation, creativity and brainstorming
      7. Prototyping and sketching
      8. A/B testing
      9. Usability testing
      10. Interaction and user interface design
      11. Agile development
      12. Lean
      13. Managing change
    14. Appendix D. Selected case studies
      1. Case study: Scenarios set the course for a drifting project
      2. Case study: Visual C++ 2012
        1. Caution and enthusiasm
        2. Struggles
        3. Waving the white flag
        4. Rebound
        5. Recovery
        6. Addressing scenario gaps
        7. Shipping Visual C++ 2012
        8. SFE process scorecard
        9. The importance of timing
        10. Using temporary stopgaps
        11. Beyond 2012
    15. Appendix E. Desirability Toolkit
    16. Index
    17. Code Snippets