If you work as a user experience designer you’ve probably found yourself playing the rock game. The game basically goes like this…
A project manager in your organization comes to you and tells you that they need a new feature for a project. For the purposes of this game we’ll call this new feature a “rock”.
You go out and locate a rock and bring it back to the project manager.
Project manager says, “No, not that rock. A different rock.”
You go back and find another rock, “OK, here’s another rock.”
project manager says, “No, not that one either…”
You find small rocks, large rocks, brown rocks, yellow rocks, and on and on until you get frustrated and go back to the project manager and say, “What did you need the rock for?”
The project manager says, “I need the rock to pound in a nail, in order to hang a picture.”
Frustrated you say “You don’t need a rock, you need a hammer!”
This story illustrates several things the most important is to ask upfront Who is the user of the Rock is and what user/business needs are being solved for. This is called the “Why” of product development.
If you take the time to understand these things before you start a project you can quickly work towards solving the needs, thus reducing the time it takes to come up with possible solutions, test those solutions and provide the project manager in this story with the “Hammer” that is needed.