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Collaborative modeling refers to the use of well-known requirements analysis and modeling techniques in a collaborative fashion to build and maintain a shared understanding of the problem space and the potential solution. The main premise is that requirements models, which have long been viewed as documentation techniques, can also be put to great use as elicitation and analysis techniques in a collaborative setting with the delivery team and stakeholders jointly discussing the problem and solution. Kent McDonald describes how you can use collaborative modeling to build a strong shared understanding with your team. (via @KBPMedia)
“As product managers, it’s often up to us to convey ideas, build strategies, solve problems and understand technical restraints. The whiteboard helps us to visualise many these things and it is an irrational phobia of whiteboards which prevents some of us from using it to our advantage in situations where it would help facilitate better meetings. We don’t want to look like idiots so we instead gesticulate with our hands which often results in us looking even more ridiculous than we would by scribbling on the whiteboard. If you can master a whiteboard, people will treat you differently; you’re the PM who writes on the whiteboard and solves problems efficiently. It’s a good thing to be known as that person. But first, you need to overcome your fear.” Richard Holmes shares how you can overcome your fear of whiteboards and bring out your inner whiteboard ninja. (via @Deptofproduct)
The folks at Brainmates conveyed a Product Talks event titled “Prototype This!” which focused on how Product Management professionals can make use of prototyping. Hilary Cinis, Jess Rouse and Andrew Simpson discussed the origins of prototyping, why you should prototype, how to make prototyping easy, and some caveats about prototyping. (via @brainmates)
Prototyping is different for a product manager than it is for a designer or a UX researcher. Product managers typically use prototypes to launch important discussions early in the development process when failing fast won’t jeopardize budget or timeline. The folks at CanvasFlip describe some reasons why prototyping is important for product managers and how product managers can contribute to prototypes. (via @CanvasFlip)
“Prototypes can be really close to the final product with all of the features that will be included when the product is launched. But designers often start out by making a rapid prototype, the quickest and easiest way to prototype, in which the designer tries to mimic the experience without actually building or creating anything.” Danny Setiawan describes rapid prototyping in software development and product design and explains how rapid prototyping can help you reduce risks with your product’s efficiency and effectiveness. (via @dsetia_1)
When trying to pick which tool to use for prototyping, it’s helpful to consider what you want to learn, your constraints, whether it’s worthwhile to involve others, and your general requirements. Michelle Chu suggests the best prototyping tools based on these criteria. Think of this post as a reference to the best tool for different situations.
There are several different types of prototypes, and each one works better in different situations. Marty Cagan took a look at four main types of prototypes and compared the strengths and weaknesses of each type.
The folks at CanvasFlip recently conducted a survey to understand the relationship between product managers and prototypes. The results of the survey provided some insights into why product managers use prototypes and how product managers can contribute to an overall prototyping effort.
Scott Sehlhorst reminds us that “a prototype is worth a thousand lines of code”. It’s important to remember why you’re using a prototype and to choose the fidelity of your prototype appropriately. “Low fidelity artefacts can significantly improve both elicitation and feedback. Polished, codified prototypes can create problems that prevent you from getting the benefits of communication.”
“Prototypes are visions of the future — some way of being able to see and experience the future of an idea [where doing so in words would fall short].” That’s how Josh Wexler described prototypes when he appeared on This is Product Management. Winston Christie-Blick expanded on that podcast episode and explained how you can start prototyping.