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Using “Day in the Life” to Drive Empathy

Watch Alex Cowan to learn how to use "Day in the Life" to drive empathy.
In the last video, you learned how to create thoughtful meetings that help bring all this material together and show it to the rest of your team, so that you can both improve that material and drive forward to the valuable outcomes that we’ve talked about. Now, I mentioned I would talk more about Day in the Life, so I’m going to show you an example of that. Day in the Life is a game you play with a bunch of collaborators to help bring a persona to life. And the way it works is I’m going to show you a series of photos about a persona and now I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions about them.
And there’s no right answer to those questions, but there is a right process. And the right process is for you to infer your answers based on the glimpses of what you’re able to see about this persona in the photos. The persona I have for you is Sven the Salesperson. He works remotely doing sales for a small enterprise software company. When he wakes up, the first thing he does is he checks his phone. Did anybody schedule a meeting at the last minute that I hadn’t seen? Are there any emergencies, and if everything’s okay, he has some nice, artisanal coffee and gets ready for the day. He’ll typically go work out, and then make himself a nice breakfast.
On the job, he’s spending a lot of time with his collaborators back at the central office on Google Hangouts, keeping up with what’s going on. And then, the majority of his time is actually on calls with customers. And he likes that he doesn’t have to do those calls in an office or a conference room, that he can sit outside if the weather is good, or really take them wherever he wants. At lunch, he’ll typically have something light, and then he really likes to go and work out, get some exercise. In particular, he likes to ride his bike.
After things wind down for the day, and he’s kind of finished with customer calls and follow-ups, he’ll typically spend time on his sales materials. These are PowerPoint slides, meeting agendas, things like that. He’s also on the road a lot, traveling, and then things are a little different for him. He gets a little bit out of his daily routine, and he uses his phone and his tablet more. He’s back home after work, he’ll often try to schedule a squash game with one of his friends. And following that, he likes to have a nice dinner and unwinding before bed, he’ll typically watch shows on Hulu on his laptop.
And then, you know, sales is a stressful job, so he likes to have a drink before he goes to bed.
Here is some questions about Sven. Now, if we were doing this, I would go through, and ask you these questions. And you’ll notice, there’s kind of a mix of sort of fun questions that humanize Sven for the group, and then there’s more practical questions. These are about CRMs and enterprise software, that’s what was the original nature of the project where I created this persona. And this is a good way, this list could be much longer, if you wanted it to be.
And this is a good way to sort of get people to engage with the persona and think about them and both kind of just humanize them generally but also drive at some specific decisions and assumptions about how you’re going to deliver valuable software to this persona.
It seems like maybe it’s a lot of work to do this. Well, there’s a tutorial on how to do this in the course materials, the resource section. I would say it’s worthwhile to make time. If it takes you, say, eight hours, then if we look at how much a project costs in say, North America, how much this costs, and you know, could it make your outcome a teeny little bit better, say, if only by engaging your collaborators to understand this persona, I mean, then it’s a good idea.
So if we go back and look at some of these other techniques we discussed, Storyboarding Loop, just generally generating questions, you can find resources on how to do this and these other items, like Spend a Dollar, in the resources section of this course. That’s it. You’ve learned how to create user stories, how to tie them back to the work that you’ve done to understand your user and what makes them tick and what’s valuable to them. You’ve learned techniques to iterate on and improve those stories.
And very importantly, because these stories are not an end to themselves, they’re just an item to help you drive high quality narrative collaboration, you’ll learn how to bring those stories forward with your team, and edit and improve them, and use them to drive to valuable software.
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