In 2 weeks time the UX team (us) are sitting down to discuss some of the high level business objectives the company want to focus on for 2015, as outlined by the Exec team. They have proposed 3 main areas that tie into growing users/revenue etc

  1. Mobile Adoption
  2. User Onboarding
  3. Repeat Visits

Now, these havent just been picked from the sky. We've done some detailed analysis into the stats and we know there are certain behaviours we can improve in each of this area that will result in more revenue, based on how our business model works.

Given these 3 topics, I'm trying to put into place a framework for the discussion and set some goals for the end of the meeting. I'm wondering if there are any techniques or methods we can use to facilitate the discussion around each of the areas, so we can help define some assumptions and ideas.

For example, we already defined some actions / behaviours we think would be good to drive in each area. I was going to define some user scenarios around each action and give everyone 5 min to come up with some ideas around each. We were then going to have a product design sprint to refine a little more and validate those assumptions.

As you can understand, the Exec team have basically given 3 high level areas to focus on and they want to start seeing mockups! Is there other ways I could facilitate the meeting to help:


Lets just pretend we're dealing with one topic (User OnBoarding) We know in our application we do little to onboard, assist and engage new users. The Exec team want to focus on this and look at ways of improving it. I was hoping to run an interactive session with them in order to get ideas down to go a little deeper in areas we could explore. For example, first point of entry is our welcome email where the user will receive user name and password to login. There are lots of opportunities we can do with this alone before they go near the application.

I'm looking for advice to facilitate discussion more than being directly specific to any of the areas themselves or how to run the meeting. For example I've used the KANO model perviously with stakeholders as a way to determine priority of features across multiple devices. Are there formats similar to use to help breakdown high level ideas into a more structured set of targets and goals where we have a more focused set of ideas that we can begin to explore. I've seen things like a product strategy map or canvas. The business know they want to tackle user onboarding, they just don't know with what features are I'm trying to come up with a structure to help them realise it.

I'm trying to be a specific as I can but if I understand if it's too general.


  • I think you are going to need to narrow this significantly. The approach here involves multiple stakeholders, multiple topics, and a long agenda, so this is not situation where UX.SE is going to be able to render a useful answer. If you have much more specific concerns we can help with that, but "how should i structure my broad meeting" is pretty much impossible to answer.
    – tohster
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 17:54
  • I've tried to break it down a little more but am struggling trying to narrow it further.
    – UXG
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 18:30
  • I am a little bit confused by the question, because the title is about planning the big picture with the CEO and Exec team, but the description is about discussion within the UX team...
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 23:21

4 Answers 4


One or more of these might help:

  1. Impact Mapping. It's a structured mind-map type activity that helps see the connections between the intended outcome, the people involved (both internally and end-users), possible "hows" to achieve those outcomes and specific "whats" to achieve those hows. I like it because they allow people to quickly explore different options to explore.

  2. User Story Mapping. It's a nice way to explore the different features you might be proposing to build in relation to a customer's journey through the system. It can help prioritise things and help enable conversations about priority and scoping. Jeff Patton has an excellent new book on the topic (Bias warning: I'm friends with Jeff ;-). I've sometimes found it useful to use Kano model type categories for theme prioritisation in user story maps. Worth poking at.

  3. Design Charettes (or Design Studio). This is a collaborative design activity based around rounds of tightly time boxed design-pitch-critique sessions rounds. These are really excellent for alignment, and generating lots of ideas.

You also might want to look a some of the workshop/facilitation ideas in the Gamestorming and Innovation Games books for some other approaches.


Data, data, data

Execs need data so it's a good thing you have been deliberate in choices of what to focus on. This implies you have some data to back them up.

Stay away from specific details and it's usually better to avoid having execs make decisions if they're not in the UX organization. If they are giving lots of input on what to focus on for improving the user experience it's a sign they don't trust the data. Listen to them and find out why.

Good execs hire good people and trust them.

Here is one specific example of what I would love to hear as an exec...

In order to improve the on boarding experience we first considered using our existing welcome email to better describe options available to new users, however, during our usability testing we found that only 5% of new users read the welcome email and over 90% just look for and click on the confirmation link. This is why we chose to focus on this item last.

On the other hand, 88% of users liked the idea of showing helpful hints on first time launch highlighting key features...

At the end of the day the various stakeholders should each feel like you understand the customers better than they do and feel as good as you do about the path forward.


Are there formats similar to use to help breakdown high level ideas into a more structured set of targets and goals where we have a more focused set of ideas that we can begin to explore.

Take the topic User Onboarding and try to break it down using structural analysis by using Six Sigma tools:

  • Analysis: Make a cause and effect diagram and ask 5 times a why to go down the causes.
  • Drill it down by looking for the feasibility of each cause. Is it C=Constant, N=Noise (implication) or X=eXperimental? The eXperimental can be changed.
  • Set KPI's. What goal do you want to accomplish? Is it number of new users or number of constant users? Or other KPI's
  • Improve: Collect ideas for these changeable (X-) causes in order to improve them. As many ideas as possible.
  • Check your ideas against your KPI's. Give some numbers for it how good an idea can contribute to a KPI (six sigma uses 9 for very good match, 6, 3 and 0). Sum it up and you get a good sort which ideas could improve your KPI's best.
  • An alternative is to give your stakeholders or management some points/fake money/candys and they have to prioritize the ideas. But I only would recommend this to get a buy-in (they have influenced it). The tricky point is to reduce the amount of points to a minimum, so the main sort is done by KPI's and only a few ideas are bumped high by managers choice.
  • And finally cost benefit analysis should be made, which you can present as a matrix. A cost benefit matrix is very actionable and management likes it, but you have to prove your way to this recommodation (by taking all steps above).
  • Now you can prototype, sketch or mockup the first package (high benefit, low cost) of ideas or there are quick-wins may be.

Hope this is, what you are looking for.


That's hard to help without knowing your stakeholders, development process and company culture. To name some approaches:

  • they may be ok with just some plan, outline of process and a promise of validation
  • want to share THEIR ideas
  • want to have some thrill and pick from an option
  • need to be shown something rough and are needed to be led to name what is needed to be done to make it better (you know what is needed)

Have fun! :)

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