Using A Silent Activity To Get Group Buy-In

A key aspect of outlining the right product strategy is ensuring there is strong communication across all stakeholders that results in group alignment.

Moving a project from an idea to MVP launch doesn’t happen easily and can be easily thrown off course if new voices are heard after development has begun. You need to hear from all stakeholders but the challenge is doing that in a way that energizes the product strategy process and fosters buy-in without slowing down the ability to get started.

That’s especially true for the product design sprint activities we facilitate in our Discovery Sprint.

There are a few exercises we might use but at a high level the final exercises help us outline the target user, define their critical path, brainstorm possible solutions and prioritize the experience based on impact vs. effort. A key discussion happens just before prototyping starts, when we connect with the stakeholders to review the research we’ve collected through customer interviews. Having the full group be able to chime in with responses to what we’ve uncovered, helps to confirm all voices are considered in interpreting the findings and outlining next steps.

One of our favorite ways to bolster that discussion happens, ironically, through a silent activity.

It works like this: We condense every customer insight or research revelation onto its own single Post-It note. (Our favorite remote post-it / whiteboard tool is Miro. Then, clients read the notes and paste them onto a continuum from surprised to expected.

The rules are simple. There is no talking. Anyone can move a note. And anyone else is free to move it again.

Screenshot of a virtual whiteboard with post-its sorted from Surprised to Expected

We love this activity because it tells us so much more than the alternative, which is usually a powerpoint presentation where we do all the talking. It forces everyone to engage with the data. And, when we see notes moving back and forth, it reveals where disagreements lie.

It’s also a lot of fun.

Once we see where the post-its land or how often they jump back and forth, we can have better discussions about how to move forward.

That might include repriotizing feature sets, tweaking our UI to more clearly resonate with our customer, or considering integrations with third party software that are already used by our audience.

After the discussions, we craft insight statements that are used to update project storyboards, which informs prototyping.

Not only does silent sorting help us build a better project, it makes sure we are all on the same page early on in the project.

If you’re interested in seeing how we can help align stakeholders or break down a complex problem so you can build the next great product, drop us a line. We’d love to help.