If you want to make data you collected through scouting, research and experimentation work for you, it's important to organize your project the right way. In this article, we'll share with you 5 simple tips that help you build a project structure that works for you and your team.
Tip #1: Boards contain data, not activities
NEXT is designed for product discovery and UX teams to record, organize, and analyze their scouting, research, and experimentation data. When you're setting up your project and decide on the boards you want to add, we recommend starting from the data that results from your work.
Let's use the example of ideation, prototyping & testing. In this scenario, you will likely end up with the following data:
Learnings & Observations
To make working with your data easy and meaningful – and get the most out of NEXT's powerful feature – we would suggest creating 6 boards; one for each data type. In this way, you can easily find back the data that matters most, link them together, and build a chain of evidence across your data.
Tip #2: Create diverging and converging boards
When teams diverge, they collect research, analyze, generate ideas, or design independently. When teams converge, they synthesize insights from their analysis, validate or negate assumptions, or collectively merge ideas into solution concepts.
NEXT is optimized for teams that use such techniques and principles in their scouting, research and experimentation work. Therefore, we strongly recommend structuring your boards following the diverging-converging method.
Let's imagine you want to do "Customer Research" using NEXT. In this case, we would recommend creating at least two boards:
Board 1: A diverging board called "Customer Research"
Board 2: A converging board called "Customer Insights"
In the Customer Research board, each note represents raw data, such as interview notes, interview recordings, write-ups of focus groups, etc. Once you collected your raw data, you can highlight interesting pieces of data in your research. Those highlights can be combined into insights, which live in the Customer Insights board. In the Customer Insights board, each note represents a specific type of insight, such as a User Pain, User Need, Frustration, Idea, or Job to be Done.
Not sure how to go about this? Take a look at one of our templates for inspiration ✨
Tip #3: Stick to boards with single data types to keep it simple
Keeping it simple is key to a making your project structure usable in the long-run and easy to explain to others in your team. Therefore, we recommend creating boards that represent a single type of data.
For example, capture all your assumptions in an "Assumptions" board, your ideas in an "Ideas" board, customers you engaged in a "Customers" board, research notes in a "Customer Research" board, your prototypes in a "Prototypes" board, etc.
This ensures there's no confusion about where to record what type of data. It also makes sure you get the most out of the grouping, filtering, and connecting features NEXT offers.
Tip #4: Create a To Do's board if you don't use a task manager
NEXT is not optimized as a task manager. For that reason, most NEXT users use tools like Asana, Trello, or Microsoft Planner to plan their work, and use NEXT as their repository of data. However, if you do want to plan and schedule your work using NEXT, you can always create a separate board for your to do's. This will ensure you're not mixing your research notes with to do's or accidentally mix insights with tasks.
Tip #5: Use the "Relation" property to link data across boards
If you set up your project following these tips, you will likely have boards that each represent a specific type of data. Now, you can start connecting your data across boards and build a "chain of evidence". To do so, simply add a "Relation" property for the data you want to connect.
For example, if you're using NEXT to validate assumptions you will likely have three boards: 1/ assumptions, 2/ experiments, and 3/ learnings.
To connect your assumptions to the experiments you ran to validate them, create a "Relation" property called "Related assumption". Open an experiment and connect one or more assumptions using the "Related assumption" property. This allows you to group experiments by assumption in your experiments board.
You can use this approach for every connection you want to build in your system of data.
These 5 tips will make sure you're set up for success! 🚀 Need a little more help getting started, or want to brainstorm how to best set up your project? Book a free 30-minute onboarding call with someone from our Customer Success team.