I learned about staging investments while working for an Investment bank. Staging an investment means that you make an initial investment, look at the results, and determine your next move.
This technique is especially useful when a great deal of uncertainty exists. I recently used this technique to analyze applications in the new area of prototyping software for websites.
What's more, WinFX is ready to burst onto the scene and create a product platform that will increase competition. Indeed, Microsoft has announced "Expression."
So after analyzing a number of products, I've decided that Axure is the best way to stage an investment in this venue. For a small investment you get a fast way to create wire frames, and produce several options to protect against volatility. Here's one option:
Option to learn – Axure creates an option to learn about prototypes. You'll learn how to produce visual requirements and eliminate rework at your company, without a huge investment.
Product managers should take special interest in website prototyping tools.
I've been researching prototyping and modeling software for the past couple months. So I was rather amused when I chanced upon a LEGO website promoting LEGOs as a way to model new thoughts. The LEGO Group cites research that shows:
The hand is connected to the brain. When personal desire drives you to learn something using your hands, a complicated process takes over that generates a powerful emotional charge. Using your hands releases thoughts that are stuck in your head.
If you have worked at a company that needed everyone to hold hands and agree to a solution before taking action, you know how frustrating collaboration can be.
Still, some decisions require collaboration and a facilitator to guide the group. The Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, by Sam Kaner, is considered by many to be the top book in this area. The book moves past touchy-feely techniques and provides methods for groups to look at problems in a new light. Mr. Kaner introduces reframing, because when someone views a problem from a singular angle, other potential answers are never considered. Here are just a few of the ways that you could reframe a problem:
From "It's a problem" to "It's an opportunity."
From "We don't have any power in this system" to "We haven't found our leverage points in this system."
From "We don't have enough money" to "We haven't figured out how to find new sources of money."