TLDR; Blockchain development takes longer than Web2 product iteration cycles. This means teams don’t know if they’re building something users want until after a costly and time consuming #buidl. We use Google Ventures Design Sprints to prototype, test and learn from real user feedback — fast. Bringing product design methodologies to Dapps and DeFi developers.
Knowing if you’re building the right thing is hard
Good ideas are hard to find. Even the best ideas face an uncertain path to real-world success. With blockchain development it’s even harder because the concepts of decentralization, transactions and self-sovereignty of value is not a concept the average person is used to.
In addition to that comes blockchains immutability — once the product is launched and the blockchain is live, it’s almost impossible to alter fundamental functionality to improve or fix errors. Compared to web2.0 products, it’s not just expensive to be insecure about the released product, but it’s essential for the projects existence to build the right thing for the right audience.
But, what if there was a way to get market data and user insights before lengthy #buidl and development schedules?
Dapps are not building product solutions people want or need
We’re a long way from the killer app. We’ve moved on from Crypto-Kittie hype and we need something big. I’m convinced we’re on what’s know as a ‘user interface moment’ — the point where some great user facing solutions will be built on top of established protocols.
Blockchain has a UX problem and Fintech is winning the war. Dapp user numbers are in the thousands.
More importantly, Dapp and smart contract development takes time. Lots of it. It’s in the nature of smart contract code — it has to be perfect before a mainnet launch. You can’t risk loosing a users funds. Therefore, perfecting code means months, sometimes years, before a product is in a user hands.
And, only when it’s in the users hands do you learn if it’s what they want!
How do you find out if you’re building the right thing?
At Deep Work Studio we’ve been developing Google Venture’s Design Sprints refocused for blockchain teams.
The sprint is a four-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.
The sprint gives teams a shortcut to learning without building and launching.
Why Design Sprints?
It compresses potentially months of work into a few days. Teams find out if a product is worth developing, if a feature is worth the effort, or if the value proposition is really valid.
The outcome of every Design Sprint Week is a high-fidelity interactive prototype, tested by real users, and with clear insights on where to go next.
Scientific testing, user focused design and an agile philosophy.
Process — What does a Sprint look like?
On the first day, we work with you and a team, to define the challenges and scope of the week. The second day we focus on solutions and user storyboarding. Day three we rapidly build a high fidelity prototype. Which is then tested with real users on day four.
This is not a “wireframe” or a “paper prototype”, it looks and feels like a real product. We always make sure that the test simulates the actual product because then and only then you are getting the authentic and emotional feedback needed to learn from the test.
What do you get?
👩💻 Real user feedback on a team’s product.
📈 Tested product and market economics.
🤩 Rapidly learn if you’re developing the right thing.
📊 Find the best route to market.
Who needs to participate?
The Design Sprint combines all expertise of every participant and merges them into the best product possible. On one hand, this means that a Product Owner or CEO needs to participate to make sure it’s going into the right direction. We also recommend having a UX/UI Designer, Product Lead and (if relevant) a CTO or Lead Developer to take part, to make sure the entire team is aligned.
In addition it’s always useful to have an expert participate in the Sprint to give relevant advice for the specific field of the product (we worked with lawyers, biologists, race drivers, smart contract developers, etc.).
What if the team is distributed?
We got you covered:
We understand that many blockchain teams are not located in the same area. So we are the only agency to also run them remotely, so everyone can work from their country/home/bed.
Summary — Why Sprints?
Blockchain and smart contract development is difficult and time consuming. Design Sprints check you’re building the right thing with real user feedback in days not years!
👍 Validate products and features before a costly building phase.
🚢 Increase speed to market.
🚀 Increase chances of product success.
Check out our work at DeepWork.Studio or hit us up on Twitter DMs: @charliellington . We’d love to set this into action and start running sprints with DeFi, Dapp and Protocol Developers. Why us? — We’ve worked with blockchain and DeFi teams including Balance.io, Wyre, Ramp and Nexus Mutual and Andrej’s run sprints with Axa, E-on and N26.
Thank you to Andrej for reviewing drafts and adding to this post. 🤩