Categories
product management

What Luke Skywalker and Your Customer Have in Common: Thoughts on Emotional Needs

The other week I was conducting a storytelling and product management workshop—more on this in a future blog entry—and walking people through an exercise on customer needs. I had instructed the participants, who were IT managers and officers, to write down fictional characters and their needs, and then analyze the latter in terms of a functional dimension, and an emotional dimension:

Functional: A young man needs to blow up the Death Star and save the galaxy from the Evil Empire.

Emotional: Luke wants a larger purpose in the galaxy and longs to be a Jedi like his father.1

Then I asked the participants to think of the following:

  • actual customers and their needs,
  • the functional dimension, and
  • the emotional dimension

Simple, I thought: Functional needs were easy. We worked in IT, so we saw functional requirements all day. But the emotional dimension? A couple of participants expressed difficulty with this part of the exercise, and in the moment I, too, was stumped, because I was so used to baking in the qualitative outcome in my storytelling framework, and couldn’t properly describe to the participants what seemed to be a bit of a mental leap.

How do I work backwards, and contextualize how one gathers this “emotional requirement,” as it were? Some thoughts follow.

Categories
product management

Bingo at work

Screenshot of slide deck
Screenshot of “Bingo” card

Last week I played Bingo at work. Well, not exactly; I didn’t have a marker in hand, hoping to snag four corners. Instead I had the pleasure of attending a talk that was part of the SF Fed’s UX Design Center Micro-Series hosted by my buddy and colleague Brian St. John. (That’s him in the tiny square on the upper left.)

The talk was entitled “Listening. Envisioning. Disrupting Business as Usual,” featuring Tracey Kelly (Envisioning Lead at Microsoft–also with a book coming out in September, “Design Thinking in AI and Software Projects“) and Daniel Hunter (20-year veteran at Microsoft, from software development to sales, now Director at Microsoft Catalyst), who spoke about how design thinking was critical to their success.

Instead of the fixed sequence of a PowerPoint presentation, we started instead with a “Bingo” card of topics as the first slide, and we were invited to choose a topic for discussion. I was greedy and chose two. (I’m totally stealing this idea, by the way; it afforded more novelty and audience interaction, especially crucial for a Zoom call.)