The beauty of prototyping is that it occurs very early in the thinking/designing/planning process. VERY EARLY! This are the wonderful moments in a project when things are open to discussion and when no major ego investments or offices politics are in play. Prototypes are very low risk, low cost, and high creative, which makes them so valuable in pushing for a solution.
However, this early thinking can be highly disruptive because it allows ALL thoughts to be expressed by ALL players – all in a rush! It encourages a massive dumping of perception, factual information, feeling, past experience good and bad, and many other very human expressions and thinking activities. Sometimes a person requires several attempts, with feedback from others, before the person fully understands what he/she is trying to say. There is a lot of “chaotic” and “miscellaneous” sorts of information being expressed and shared and collaborated.
In these moments of “messiness,” one of the most valuable traits all participants can bring to the activity is a very high tolerance for ambiguity, for contradiction, for “abrasive” challenges and highly creative deviations. In these times, everyone must be able to wait, to be patient, to keep adding to the “fire” of the creative and expansive thinking going on among the group players.
Everyone has to have the faith in the human mind that somewhere along the way the threads will begin to form into patterns and mosaics of meaning and that a defensible and correct answer or solution will form. The human mind likes convergence, seeks the moment when team members begin to say, “I’ve got it!” or “Ah ah, I see” or “Now it’s beginning to make sense.” If the team “fights” its way through chaos and ambiguity as it prototypes again and again, the team can know for a surety that, in time, a solution will form and become clear.
Probably 95% of the knowledge required for a project is already known at the beginning of the project. The issue is accessing this knowledge as quickly, as early as possible, so the project begins as “knowledge rich” as possible. Whuuummmppp!Through methods like voice-based data access, every member of the team should “download” by speaking everything related to the project and have that information captured, transcribed, and databased for access by every team member.
We need all quantitative data – the numbers, specifications, detailed thoughts on drawings and proofs; we need all qualitative data – the insights, perceptions, feelings, worries and concerns, preliminary (gut) analytics. We need it all, spoken and out and captured and available – DAY ONE OF THE PROJECT TIMELINE!
The primary reason projects fail is a tendency to procrastinate, to allow team members to remain isolated too long. The drift in ignorance as time passes and information is not captured and shared is what Deming warned about in his book OUT OF THE CRISIS! The delay toward the moment the project is running out of time is the delay that results in many of the worst human judgment errors and biases. So, the team should be pulled together on day one, given hand-held recorders, and told to random dictate every thought that comes into their mind about the project now beginning. Fast, quick, random – power it out and down. This data should be transcribed and given back to the project team within hours.
After they read all that everyone has written, then the team should be brought into the formal Kick-Off Meeting. Now everyone knows the 95%. Project time will be cut in half, and the final product will be of the highest quality.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are drone airplanes flown remotely by operators directing the plane and watching the action via computer screens. UAVs are called the “EYE IN THE SKY” in military operations because they fly over the battle space far ahead of the battle, communicating back to the Generals the movements of the enemy. It is said that “He who owns the reconnaissance, owns the war.” And delivering vital reconnaissance is why the UAVs have proven so valuable in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like the UAVs, the sales team is out on the front edge of the business competitive action, and sales reports with accurate, complete, and current information are the vital reconnaissance needed by leaders at the office to make good decision and take proper action.