Setting a Solid Foundation
When building software, there's a temptation to jump into the details before getting clear about the high-level goals. This can happen when designers go straight into crafting pixels or when product folks launch right into task writing. "It's easy to get caught up in the details," says Heidi Baggerman. "What's so great about Whimsical is that it focuses you on the right things early on." As lead designer at Pocket Prep, Heidi understands that a critical part of her role is to facilitate important conversations with the entire team at the beginning of the project. This way, they can all slow down, make sure there's alignment on high-level goals and that their work is addressing user needs. She and her team use an activity called Brainwriting to come up with answers to some of the essential questions like:
- What are our goals?1
- What's important and what's not?
- What should or shouldn't this feature do?
Brainwriting in Whimsical
Brainwriting is a group activity that ensures that everyone's ideas are heard. It starts with a prompt.2 Each participant individually jots down answers in their own area. Afterward, the team comes together and presents the ideas in one central space. At this point, the group can have a discussion, categorize answers into themes, and summarize key insights. Heidi's team has found that Brainwriting is particularly useful for showing where the team is and isn't aligned. It's also a great way to get all the team members engaged from the start of the project. "If a tool is too complicated, it's hard to get people on board," explains Heidi. "Whimsical is so easy to use—you don't get bogged down. It's just clean and simple."
Heidi and the Pocket Prep team have provided a Brainwriting template so your team can also reap the benefits of great collaboration and clear goal setting.
- Heidi and her team often use several questions to determine to what their goals should be. For example: Why are people currently coming to our site? What are they trying to accomplish? What do we want people to learn from our site? What are the pros and cons of our site today? (Back)
- Pro-Tip: Try opening with a short improv-inspired activity before diving into Brainwriting. Improv can help people be more okay with "failing," think faster, filter themself less, and be more active participants in the rest of the meeting. (Back)