Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast

ALI2022 revisted: Cristiane Coca Pitzer Lean Inception: A Strategy for Aligning People and Building the Right Product

September 14, 2023 Episode 29
Agile-Lean Ireland (ALI) Podcast
ALI2022 revisted: Cristiane Coca Pitzer Lean Inception: A Strategy for Aligning People and Building the Right Product
Show Notes Transcript

Lean Inception is a framework that combines Design Thinking and Lean Startup, helping teams and organisations have breakthrough thinking and finding the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), to validate a hypothesis and be lean and fast on product development.

It supports bringing people together, aligning their thoughts and understanding the problem that needs to be resolved.

In this talk, I will cover the core of the methodology and why it has been so important to her and her customers, while building products.

Find us here:

Men in Okocha, Shiraz and Agilbert community for those who know coca, you will all agree that coca is energetic, positive, enthusiastic and full of passion. She helps organisations to build and manage products that are fit for purpose and customer love it. Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome coca pizza.

Thank you so much, Joe. It's a pleasure to be here. Yeah, I've always admired agile in Ireland and I am happy to be taking part and to helping out. So hi, everybody. As Joe has briefly introduced me, I am coca. And at this very moment, I am in Rio de Janeiro and today I want to talk to you all about lean. Learning section is a methodology and also a strategy for aligning people and building the right products.

So just a.

Little bit more on me before we kick in. UM. I won't go through all of this, but essentially I am founder and CEO of Agile beer. As Joanna mentioned, agile beer began in 2016 when I felt very lonely in the agile world in Rio de Janeiro where I used to live at the time. I am an expert in business transformation, agile and product as well. At the moment I am director of products in Zurich Insurance. I also do a lot of mentoring and coaching and I am a design thinking practitioner being inception practitioner, consultant and trainer. You may find me in almost every social network, mainly on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Those are the ones that I have been interacting with the most recently. So today I want to talk to begin this talk with a story, right and I hope it helps you visualise what it looks like to build a product in a very way. So easy Taxi is the name of a product that was originally built in Rio de Janeiro where I am today. At this very moment. And the whole idea began in 2011. It was. June 2011 here in Rio de Janeiro. Which is winter over here. And there were two colleagues that were leaving a conference on a weekday. It was end of the day. 6:30. Maybe. They were trying to get home and it was. Goring rain with slashing rain. For those who haven't seen rain here in Rio de Janeiro. It rained so much that we get floods very often and this creates major impacts on the the public transportation and also private. So many buses can't get through the water. Sometimes the subways will close. Cars can get through and there is a huge demand for taxis because people cannot rely on other transportations. And on this very day, they were trying to get a taxi and they couldn't get one.

So just to give a little.

Bit of more context. Back in 2011, so eleven years ago in Rio de Janeiro, you didn't have the apps on your phone, right? That only came after maybe many years. The only way for you to get a taxi was for you to call a comparative to a union of taxi drivers. And request a taxi for where you were. And if you were? Not home, for example. You would have to have the number. Saved on your phone and you would have to call. The taxi they would receive the call on. The other end. And if they had available taxis or. If they didn't. Consider it was too far away from where you were. They would send a taxi your direction. And if they didn't have a taxi, for example, you would have to. Call another union. Another cooperative of taxi drivers, right. So you would have. To keep trying. Until you got one, there was no unconnected. System for all the time taxi drivers. So they were trying to pull for a taxi. They couldn't get a taxi. They were getting wet, they were frustrated and that's when they came up with the idea. What if? We built a concierge, a kind of system that would allow people to ask for a taxi. In a more. User-friendly in a smarter way. And they started. They went on with their idea and they started with a form, a very simple form on the browser where. They people would go into a website, a form would be open, you know, nothing special, nothing pretty. Nothing much really was just the form the customer would add in a few details like for example their name, their phone number. The address that they wanted. To be picked up picked up at. And then they would hit submit. When they hit submit this form generated an e-mail that went to the Founders inbox, right? So they would be sitting behind a computer the whole day waiting for these. Emails to come through through and the moments they came through. They would do the service of calling many cooperatives to see who would have an available taxi and then they would send a taxi to the address of this person that had requested. The taxi and then they would respond through SMS that a. Taxi was on its way. So once they started to do this, they found out that there was actual interest. From the overall markets and investing in this product, so people want to work using the form they were submitting requests and they were having a lot of work on their end. So once they validated these hypothesis, this business hypothesis of a problem that they had identified, they then started to look to another angle. They started to look, look, how could they connect? The end of the taxi drivers. To the interface of the customers, right? They went to the comparatives to the unions and they explained the idea that they were having and they explained the demands and they were looking for partnership. And initially they got a lot of denials, right. The unions, the taxi cooperatives did. Not want to take part in. This they were very conservative. In a way. They were saying that they didn't want to be in a platform with their competitors, right the other. Me. So they refuse to be part of building that product. So they went back. They were working from one of the the founders were working from home from one of their homes on building this idea. Talis and Daniel, I believe, were their names. So they went back home and they were thinking about alternatives. So you work on that problem of connecting. The other end. And they figured out that maybe they should approach autonomous taxi drivers that didn't belong to any comparatives or any unions. So they went out on the streets and they started to approach 1 by 1 because there was no way to. Contact all of them at once. So they had to. Approach one by. One and as they approached one by one, they found out that there was a lot of interest. From these evil, they found the idea very interesting. It would be a way for them. They guarantee more cash flow because they would be doing more runs with customers, so they really enjoyed the idea, however. At the time 2011. These taxi drivers did not have smartphones or Internet packages on phones. So that became another challenge. For building this product. And then the founders, Danielle and Talis, they went back home and they were rethinking what could they do now that they faced another challenge. They could. They could choose to adjust their idea. They could choose to give. Up their idea. What were the alternatives? Discussing what they would do, they decided to make an investment and they bought 1000 smartphones. With Internet packages in it. And indeed an. Agreement with these taxi drivers to use these phones to validate if these would actually work. So in the beginning, what they were doing is. They were receiving the demands through the form. Processing the forms and then sending SMS to these taxi drivers for them to pick up the runs. It finally worked right. It was working and the idea was validated. The taxi drivers were happy, the customers were happy, so then they decided it was time to invest in the technology. And to start to automate this process and to make interfaces to connect both ends of these two customers right, because these are two customers for the same product, one in each end.

So what does this what?

Does this story teach us right? It teaches us that we need to find new ways. To build new products and to validate ideas and to experiment new ideas. UM today easy. Taxi is spread over 30 countries, more than 30 countries and more than 400 cities. Just to give you a. Taste of what their success looks like. Key aspect in this story in this example. Of easy tax. Finding the minimum valuable product or the MVP, it's essential that number one, you understand what problem you are trying.

To solve.

Who is who? Or whom it is a problem, right? That's essential as well, for example. Maybe it's not a problem for both drivers. So you need to. Understand what is the problem? Who is it? A problem too. And then you have to hypothesise how you are going to solve the problem, and then you have to understand what is the minimum that you can do to validate if your hypothesis will actually solve the problem or not. So. The key of the MVP is somewhere in between. What adds value? What is possible to do? Right, money wise, technology wise. Size wise and how much it's usable. As well, right. The ants that are using that MPP need to find that there is a way to actually use that otherwise. There's no point. So I always like to. Bring these pyramids because over and over. Right. I'm. I'm seeing companies and teams. And organisations. Thinking that MTP is built in horizontal layers, right? So first they do what they think of what's feasible, so they build what's feasible. Then they want to add value on top of what's feasible. Then they want to think about usability. And that and at the very end, they want to impress the customers, so the customer. Starts using their products when. MDP should actually be. A vertical slice of a mix of all this. Right, it needs to be a little bit visible with a little bit valuable with a little bit of usable with a little bit of impressing the customer because it solves the. Problem for them. So keep that in mind whether you work in products or where you work as a sperm monster or an agile coach that you're supporting your teams to bring it down on the vertical way and not the horizontal way. Here I want to rink towards the idea that you have to when you want to identify a problem and who that is a problem too. That to keep exploring ideas until you find something. That looks like. A good idea or a great idea? Once you find that you can explore with the concept of MVP minimum viable products and as you face the challenges you may people like Daniel and talk list did with the taxi. They had people multiple times because they were facing challenges. They could have persevered going in that direction and maybe they would have waited until people had. Smartphones, their own smartphones. Or maybe they would wait for the unions to decide it was a good idea to be on the same platform as their competitors. Or maybe they would have decided that they would go with just one comparative, so they had a range. Of options and they need a choice, right? Or they could have come to the conclusion that it's not worth the effort. There is no market demand. There is no serving. And or that demand and then they just count, but they can't. So in a way that they haven't invested as much money, they haven't spent as much money. So it makes it all leaner. So lean inception again. Just breaking down the 2 words right, eating comes from the idea of having something that is exactly what you need, just as you need. Just in time, and so on. And inception is a word that means the beginning of something, right. So. The beginning of a product, the beginning of a service, so lean inception is the. Lead us to way of starting something, right? So for this methodology, you bring a diverse team into one room, virtual or physical. It's not just the developers. It's not just the product owners. It's not just the executives. It's a diversity. Uh designers, testers, users. I I love to bring users. Into the lean inception. I I it it brings loads of insights. That we wouldn't have without them. Right. So you bring all these diverse people to the team. And then you'll go through a sequence. Of activities that leads you into defining what your MVP is, which is a challenge for most teams and most cosmos. So it's a five day workshop. And it begins with the team building the product vision. So it's essential that everyone is on the same page. It's totally aligned with what they're trying to build. What are they? What is their vision? What are they aiming to? And then once they. Have this vision. They go into what the product is, is not, thus does not. Just thinking about what the product is and thus is often not enough. You also need to consider what it is not and what it does not. So you can create boundaries even to help you prioritise. Otherwise everything could be a good idea. Right, so this definition helps you make it leaner, make it more compact. Then you go and and and define your personas right. Who is this product too? Who has the problem and how are they affected by this problem and how will this product help them? Right and. Some companies will say coca. I don't have any data on my users. That's fine, you can. Build throttle personas, as we would say, right? So when you build based on. What you know? But maybe you don't have the data to. Back you up in that first sentence. Ideally, in the perfect world, you would have your new X team, your research team gathering data and understanding the data before you go. But if that's not possible, just go with your project persona. What you know about your customer. And then you start mapping the user journeys right. There are many user journeys for example. A common app, right? What's up? If I if my screen is on lock and I receive a message, I may click on the message and it will go straight into the app inside that message or. I may ignore that message to unlock my phone and then. Go into WhatsApp. And these two journeys will look different because one will take me straight into the message and the other one will take me into. What's up, chats? And then I can decide if I want to respond or not. So these are two journeys, right? So you need to start mapping your journeys and you map your journey based on what objective your persona is trying to achieve. So for example, the fits download that one journey, it fits login, it's one journey, it fits stand on audio message. That's one journey. So you need to start figuring out what do that journeys look like. And then prioritise. What are the? Ones that are closest. For you to deliver. Your initial hypothesis. Right. And through all this, the team. Is working together. And then next. On the third day, you start brainstorming on features, so once you define your persona, your user journeys, then you start thinking about the pictures that will help you bring the steps of your user journey to life. And difficulty is brainstorming its thinking and you're just writing them down. So usually this is a session where. We have a lot of outputs, right? There's a lot of. Ideas from here? And then you're moving to Tech, UX and business review where essentially you start evaluating. Feature by feature and understanding how much of A technical effort is required to build that how much a load it would bring from the users for that specific feature. And how much? Thought he would bring to the business. So you start rating these features and. This starts to help you. Figure out what you cannot do. As part of your. MVP, because maybe. You don't have the technical knowledge. To do that and you would have. To learn or maybe. It has low value for users or. For the business. So that starts making the team think about their options. So they start from here. From this rating, they then look into what are the best features considering the outcomes of this review to manage the user journey that they have. So that streams streamlines a little bit of. All the ideas that came up at the feature brainstorm, it becomes leaner. At this point you don't have as many options. And then the next step is for you to sequence right to put them in order. You start understanding what are, for example, dependencies, interdependencies, and when we create waves, as we call in in inception, we also have maximum amount of. Efforts that we can have in each way. And a minimum. Amounts that we need to have. Business value and also user value so that is very good as well to visualise the order of things but also to help break down in a way that you are not exploding in terms of efforts and then. Making the team. Tired or spending too much and also that you have which are over your investment, your business value and usability law. Once you do that, then you go and you summarise everything on the campus. So you have A1 pager as a reminder for everybody. The whole time, right? So whenever you have a question or you're going to a planning session. Are you going to the financial discussion? You have your account us with this summary. And then you showcase. Right you showcasing demonstrates to the wider organisation to sponsors, to executives what you have built. And get their buy in, see if they have any questions and then moving to actually beginning to execute building that idea and validating that hyper. The canvas looks a little bit like this. What I love about the lean inception canvas is that. You have ways to understand. What you are learning in order? For you to build and also what do you need to build in order for? You to learn. So you bring these two things together. And it enhances the experience of building the minimum viable product or a minimum viable service. Or whatever you're trying to build. So this is probably one of my favourite. Templates for canvas to be used. My final message is think big. Start small and learn fast, right? Many companies. Have big ideas? But they don't know what to do with them. So you need to really think about the smallest. Part of that idea that you can. Work with that you can validate. And then make sure. That you are learning and you're applying your learning. To back to your. Products back to your business so that you. Can evolve with it. Thank you very much.

Thank you. We have questions maybe for one or two. We have time for maybe 1-2 questions and we will have one. OK. So it's a long 1 Coco, OK, when building additional features on existing products with an MVP mindset when there is so much overhead of security compliance, multiple teams. Evolve. It always ends up being the bigger thing that takes too long to create because people consider too many things that are must. What you would you recommend is the first step to sell product and teams see ways to make a true MVP that get a product that is feasible, usable, valuable, and has that wow factor.

Excellent question. And that's a challenge that I go through. Very often, working in insurance as well, right? It's a highly regulated industry. So I guess there is no right answer and there is no one. Answer to this question. And I invite you all for the reflection of sometimes we put the barriers before we even explore the ideas. Right. That's something that I see a lot. We will come up with an idea on how to enhance networks or how to make it faster or how. To make it better. And the first thing that we're going. To hear back is. Security. More like that. Or we need to talk to the compliance team first. So when you bring what I'm finding is when I'm bringing everybody together and we all look at the album together, it's easier. To think about. Options that will get us to our objectives without. Compromising security compliance or anything. I have been doing lean inceptions in. Zurich and I find that it's been adding. A lot of value. Because people always have this defensive posture or it's not going to work, compliance isn't going to controls or you know what else? What else? And I find that when I bring everybody, we all look at the problem together. We all think of options and we all empathise with the persona, with the customer, and we put the customer at Centre. It has been. An improvement. Of where we were before. I'm not going to say it's perfect. You know it. Works. It is silver. Bullet it's not, but I feel that it's. Improving as we do it.

Thanks very much cockups. Unfortunately we need to be wrapping up and we have a few more questions, so please connect with cocoa via LinkedIn and ask those questions. She will be very she's very approachable and she will be very happy to support your guide, your share with you, her, you know, advice or any tip. So please do do not hesitate to contact with her. Thanks very much for the talk again. Well done. Very well done and we appreciate the time that you you you gave us.

Thank you so much. Thanks everybody. Bye bye.