Review: Lean UX Workshop from LUXr

Yesterday a few of us from the product team attended a Lean UX workshop, hosted by Kate Rutter, over at LUXr. My overall impression? The workshop was really good. Kate was an engaging speaker and the material was well thought out and delivered in a fun, informative way.

To sum it up: it’s an intro to Lean Startup methods focused on User Experience-minded folks and very early stage startups (or early stage products). It doesn’t go too far, but covers user research/customer development, the basics of Lean and a bit about metrics-based research and learning. The goal of almost everything we were taught was about either learning or focusing on what’s important. Awesome.

(Note: they actually call it “User Experience for Lean Startups” but I felt it was really more about Lean Startup than UX. Might just be my take though, and, to be honest, there is a top of overlap, so forgive my rephrasing.)

I’d say I was familiar with most of the material, but much of what we covered was taught from a perspective slightly different from my own and the exercises really helped to bring practicality to a lot of what I know about Lean Methodology.

As someone coming from a design and UX background, having done a lot of the same things over the years but from a different perspective and with slightly different goals, I felt the workshop did a really great job of cementing what I’ve been learning about Lean Startup. It would be a really good intro to Lean for someone who didn’t know much at all, and for someone like me, who’s had a fair amount of exposure and who’s been actively practicing customer development and other Lean-based activites, it was great practice and filled with quite a few unique little nuggets.

As well, the simple act of tying the language of Seth Blank and Eric Ries, etc. to things I’ve been doing for years (customer interviews, data-driven design, etc.) brought a lot of clarity.

The exercises, which take up most of the day, were well organized, for the most part, and designed with clear purpose. My team (all coworkers) actually came up with what we think is a fairly viable product idea and have a lot of what we’d need to start experimenting and learning. Never mind the product was an exercise, it was clear that the process is useful and practical.

The exercises were also very fun. :)

Overall, I’d recommend it. Especially to design, UI folks looking for a better, more focused way to work a make user-centered products. I don’t see any upcoming on their events page, but my guess is they’ve got more in the works.

One quick aside: all of the exercises were paper based, which is great an I was really intreguied and delighted by all the paper around the LUXr space. Stickys, lists, notes, etc. are everywhere. It makes for an interesting and inspiring workspace. I love working with pen and paper and it’s nice to see others who feel the same way. :)


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