At Reason, we like a good challenge. So when a client came to us and asked us to help them brand, design, validate and prototype a new insurance proposition in 5 weeks, we got pretty excited.
Things definitely got hectic, but for a project with such scope, moving at such a pace, everything went pretty smoothly. In the end, we had a branded proposition with a clear vision, a prototyped experience that got stakeholders excited, and over 2.5k visits to a landing page inviting customers to get early access.
Not bad for 5 weeks, 4 rounds of experiments, a 3 person core team, 2 rounds of user research, and 1 late night.
Along the way, we learned a few things. We hope they’ll help us (and you) run projects better in the future.
Plan, plan, plan
At Reason, we run Roadmapping sessions with the client at the beginning of each project. This gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions and align on what’s in and out of scope. We tend to start the process internally with the entire project team involved; that way we have a balanced perspective of the effort needed to bring a product to market.
When we ran the client through our Roadmap, we realised we could push the process even further. What really ended up helping on this project is to be super thorough in our planning - down to single days, and key meetings and decision points.
Doing this so early into the process was tricky, and we did end up shuffling the sessions around. For the most part though, it helped clear up everyone’s diaries and give the team clarity on what needed to be delivered, when.
Set expectations early
“That’s not what I thought you meant by prototype!” If only I had £1 for every time a client said that to me...
Failing to clarify expectations is often the biggest failure of any project. So we started with the basics. Clarifying what we each meant by prototype, experiments, minimum viable brand. When we could, we showed the client an example output from previous projects and asked them if that was what they had in mind.
This helped us set a minimum level of expectations with the client, understanding exactly what they needed us to deliver and why - that way we could tailor our output for the right purpose.
Bring the right people in at the right time
We’re strong believers in minimum viable teams. They are key to moving fast and removing waste from projects. We find the right people with the right skillset and put them on the project at the right time.
That could mean having a 6 person team for 6 weeks, and could also mean having a core team of 3 and bringing in any additional resource as and when needed. On this brief, we went with the latter option. That meant we could keep a tight team running at maximum speed, and dropped in additional resource to deliver specific pieces of output or to add specific skills to the team when needed.
Check in with the client, often
Sometimes client requirements change, other times we learn something along the way that require us to pivot. Which is why checking in often with the client, especially on such a fast paced project, made all the difference. We never went more than a couple of days without an update, and had at least one Bounce & Build session a week to make decisions, pivot or kill experiments.
Sure, that sounds like a stressful pace. In fact, it helped us make decisions often and fast, and move our experiments along as quickly as possible.
Give yourself a (tiny) buffer
Weeks 1 to 3 were a blur. In retrospect, it seems mad to think we delivered as much as we did. Then in week 4 and 5, we could finally breathe - a little bit, occasionally. We still had a lot to do, but having set everything up so early meant we could finally resurface, take a big breath and rethink where our experiments were taking us.
That also gave us space to rethink one of our deliverables, and make it even more powerful.
We’re currently planning the next phase of bringing this exciting new proposition into market, and we’re making sure we apply what we've learned.