A few weeks ago, we visited a local software company called, Menlo Innovations, through a meeting arranged by our mentor. We presented our ideas to them and they provided us with some great feedback in a very short amount of time. Coincidentally, they had a workshop the following week on their Agile process, which is really quite impressive. Thought I might briefly share how we changed based on what we learned.
Menlo’s advice and workshop really helped us to imagine new and effective ways to handle the development process. We took what they shared and made it work for us with the resources at our disposal. The greatest thing about their approach is that it is simple, “for humans,” and values a very high number of product iterations focusing on involving the client/user as much as possible (“guerilla” user testing, usability studies, product reviews, etc.). We were able to come up with a plan for having user tests on prototypes every couple of days which has made designing our applications better and tougher at the same time. Better because we have far more real user data to work with. Tougher because sometimes that data is conflicting – some users want one thing, others want the complete opposite. Balancing these needs with technical limitations adds an additional layer of challenges. In the end, the greater the challenges, the greater our product will be when we meet them.