Field Studio

Agile Research Methodology

MAY 2015

What is a Field Studio?

The Field Studio is a lean research methodology enabling a product team to quickly gain user insight in an agile process. It's loosely based on the Google Ventures Design Sprint and is usually a week long process in which you carry out ethnography, rapid ideation, concept validation, co-creation activities and business-case modelling. The outputs of a the Field Studio are generally epics for a product backlog, but can anything from business cases to elevator pitches.

The Versy Field Studio

As part of my role working on the Versy project, I planned and carried out a Field Studio in Austin, Texas. The goal of this was to explore a new market, determine what needs their were that our product could fill and to validate some initial concepts that we had produced. We were joined by the client Product Owner to make the knowledge transfer easier and were joined on the odd day by various members of the client team.

Day 1 & 2

We split into 2 teams and carried out a Culture Hunt and In-home Ethnography sessions on alternate days. The culture hunt was used by us to get to know the local culture, explore interest groups and observe social behaviour, both involving tech and without.


Day 3 & 4

We started off these days with a playback of what each group had discovered before planning out how we would run 2 days of co-creation sessions. We then ran a day of co-creation sessions with pairs of friends, in which we carried out an interview, concept validation and co-creation activities such as paired sketching etc. After the first day we iterated our concepts and discussion guide ready for the next day of sessions.


Day 5

The final day was spent carrying out a Zoom out workshop with the whole team in which we analysed everything we had experienced over the past week and finalised our concepts to take forward and ones to get rid of. Once this was complete we drafted out a high level product strategy and identified epics to fill our product backlog.

The outputs

The Field Studio enabled us and the client to build a prioritised product backlog of epics to start work on over the next 8 sprints. The amount of ideas and constant iteration that they went through as we carried out the Field Studio enabled us to refine concepts enough to be able to break down into user stories and eliminate the ideas for post MVP implementation, or to drop completely. This direct consumer input and fast iteration was key for us in getting the designs for MVP out the door in such as fast timeframe.