Week 56

Last week we had a chance to dig deeper, with interviews and a topic sprint. Johannes met the good folks at Dachis Group, and we’ll be visiting Bonn and London.

This last week we got a chance to dig deeper into some things. It’s something we enjoy tremendously.

Learn about your client

We kicked off a series of interviews with client teams. Exploratory, semi-structured conversations, analyzed qualitatively are a great way to really understand what’s going on inside a company. It helps you understand way more than the basics. Processes, information flows, nuances and motivations – all that can be revealed in interviews if you know how to ask your questions. And in the few hours you spend here, you’ll learn so much more than from any org chart or internal report.

In fact, those interviews have turned out to be so useful, we basically insist on kicking off any major project that way.

Dig deeper

We also had our first topic sprint. Loosely based on the idea of a book sprint, we try to pick one topic and then dig in. It can be any emerging topic we think will become relevant soon, or a problem we’ve been banging our heads against. Without giving to much away yet, this was the first one, and we spent a half day brainstorming and debating the topic we picked. What was important to us is to have clear format restrictions.

In this case, we set out with the following goals:

  • The eventual output we work towards would be a series of blogposts.
  • The output at the end of the topic sprint would a table of content, or an exposé, of this blog series, and author names attached to each one.
  • We would spend no more than four hours on the sprint itself.

Armed with those rules and some croissants we set out and started digging. Slightly less than four hours later we saved a doc with what will turn into a deep dive into a topic we have been thinking about. Check back here for more – but give us a few weeks, we have a lot to write.

Social Business Summit

Johannes was at the Social Business Workshop organized by Dachis, a high-level meetup in preparation for Dachis’ bigger Social Business Summit 2012 series that will also come to Berlin. After a day of conversations with the hosts Jeff Dachis and Peter Kim, Johannes is looking forward to the big event in Berlin on May 17, 2012.

Our travel schedules this week

November is a busy month, so Johannes and Igor will be in Bonn on Wednesday and Thursday. I will head over to London on Friday for the Mozilla Festival and parts of Internet Week Europe. Let us know if you’re around and want to grab coffee!