Done RITE

Done RITE

At AF CyberWorx, we pride ourselves on our capability of Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation (RITE). RITE, by its very definition, iterates gathering requirements, designing prototypes, user testing those prototypes, learning what did and did not work from real users, and repeating throughout the design and development process. This increases the functionality and usability of the end product as well as improves the overall quality for the end user.

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Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Reality?

Artificial or Augmented Intelligence:
Which Solution is Right for Your Project?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest ‘gadget’ that companies want to add to every project. However, it’s not the silver bullet that many folks hope it to be. It has its strengths and limitations. To overcome AI’s limitations, Augmented Intelligence optimizes the strengths of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning (ML), and human capabilities.

The fundamental limitation of AI is not the programming, but the design of the AI algorithms. Artificial Intelligence is a rules-based solution, and a traditional rules-based AI requires complete and accurate rules. It’s up to the designers to accurately define the right rules. Historically, humans are not very good at predicting every eventuality or possibility, and thus do a poor job of specifying the rules.

And then there’s the issue of the data used to train and operate an AI system.

Project Logistics

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Pre-game Part Three: Project Logistics

What do hotels, food, security, and video recording have in common? They’re all part of the chain of logistics that happens behind the scenes before a successful event. The AF CyberWorx logistics guru is Cheyenne Ellis. She does more than just gather and send out a hotel list and coordinate access badges and video recording of the event outbrief. She also lines up transportation into the secure location where events are held, builds baskets with supplies for each breakout team, coordinates with our support team for food delivery, ensures buildings and elevators are accessible, and a myriad of other small details to let participants and the team focus their energy on the problem being worked during the event.

Solution Design

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Step Three: Solution Design

The solution design portion of a design sprint is often considered the most fun and free-flowing part of an event. This is what people come to the event for: to come up with solutions to their problem. What most newcomers to the design sprint process don’t realize is that the solution design portion is still part of a much larger process. Knowledge and artifacts from the previous steps in the event feed into ideating solutions and then paring them down for realistic solutions that will have a strong impact on the organization.

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Managing Expectations

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Pre-Game Part Two: Expectations

“Our thoughts about an event can have a dramatic effect on how we go through the event itself.” –Martha Beck, life coach

Any time a group of people are about to embark on a new goal, there are expectations. As much as motivational quotes talk about having no expectations, they still exist in one form or another. A major part of the initial event planning is expectation management. Stakeholders have in mind what they think AF CyberWorx can do and will do. At the same time, the facilitation team has specific things they hope the stakeholders and participants will do. Sometimes the mystery continues on until the event itself. We hope this blog will work towards solving that mystery by setting realistic expectations.

Refining the Problem

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Step One: Refining the Problem

The first step during a design sprint at AF CyberWorx is refining the problem. Stakeholders have an idea of what problem they want to solve. They may want to save time, streamline or automate processes, fix a system showing bad metrics, or set up a policy for a new requirement. Initial problem statements may reflect this focus, but usually lack the specifics the problem solving team needs to be effective.

Larry Marine, lead UX designer at AF CyberWorx, explains why it’s so important to re-examine the problem statement. As he states, “If you don’t know what problem you need to solve, the best you can hope to do is solve the wrong problem very well.” Just like a mission statement gives direction for a business, an accurate problem statement gives teams a solid visualization of what they need to achieve. Larry gives an example of a poor problem statement from his previous experiences:

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Discovery Call

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Pre-Game Part One: Discovery Call

When AF CyberWorx gets a request to run a design sprint, it’s like kicking an anthill…without all the biting that follows. There’s a series of meetings scheduled, logistics starts plans to make everything run smoothly, and team members are selected. One of the most important pieces to this initial organized scramble is the discovery call.

Participant Roles

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Pre-game Part Four: Participant Roles

Many moving pieces go into a successful design event at AF CyberWorx. Each person has a specific role to play: multiple roles, in some cases! While the most visible roles are the participants and the facilitator at the head of the room, the magic wouldn’t happen without everyone involved.

Stakeholders: Each event begins with a stakeholder. Some events have more than one; but the role is the same: to provide direction for the event and everyone involved. They know what the problem is, why it’s a problem, and what the end goals are. Without an involved stakeholder, the event is missing the backbone that provides structure and focus for the entire event.

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The Outbrief

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Step Four: The Outbrief

The finish line of a design sprint is the final outbrief. This last piece is when participants and decision makers see the results of the hard work everyone has put into finding a solution. The outbrief is an integration of everyone’s efforts during the event and includes all the design sprint elements: the refined problem statement, personas and scenarios, solution design, and all the pieces in between.

Vel Preston, AF CyberWorx Head of Innovation Design, describes the elements of an outbrief. Just as the event begins with the problem statement, the outbrief also starts with the problem. As Vel asks, “What’s the impact of the status quo?”

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Next Steps

Dissecting the Design Sprint Event

Part Five: After the Sprint: Next Steps

A design sprint’s ultimate goal is to improve a situation, whether that means improving an existing process or developing a new product. Not acting on the solutions a team suggests means a design event has not fulfilled its purpose. AF CyberWorx continues working beyond the sprint itself to help the results of a design sprint reach implementation.

The last step of the event is the outbrief where participants present their findings to the stakeholders. With team suggestions in mind, AF CyberWorx uses their own crack team to work with stakeholders to determine the next steps.

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