A Nicer Kind of Interrogation

1f212c6039f890f5ab5e1f89d752c33e?s=47 Veronica Erb
September 13, 2014

A Nicer Kind of Interrogation

Getting the information you need from teammates and users can be tricky.

Whether you are a designer drafting a user interface, a developer gathering requirements, or a researcher testing a prototype, the information you gather shapes the work you produce.

The first step to producing your best work is asking the right questions in the right way. In this session, we’ll take a look at which kinds of questions to ask and how to ask them to get the best answers.

1f212c6039f890f5ab5e1f89d752c33e?s=128

Veronica Erb

September 13, 2014
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  1. #nicerqs #codeher2014 ∙ @verbistheword A Nicer Kind of Interrogation Veronica

    Erb | DCWW Code(Her) Conference 13 September 2014
  2. @verbistheword #nicerqs I’m a researcher. Introduction

  3. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs Who’s here? Introduction

  4. @verbistheword #nicerqs You can ask questions anywhere. Introduction

  5. @verbistheword #nicerqs You can ask questions about anything. Introduction

  6. @verbistheword #nicerqs You can ask questions of anyone. Introduction

  7. @verbistheword #nicerqs The Answer Man Introduction

  8. @verbistheword #nicerqs The Question Woman Introduction

  9. @verbistheword #nicerqs Think of a problem you have right now:

    A new project A current project A troublesome person Introduction
  10. Summary @verbistheword #nicerqs Perspective Process Properties Introduction

  11. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Perspective

  12. @verbistheword #nicerqs Eek! Perspective

  13. @verbistheword #nicerqs Gathering information does not mean agreeing with that

    information. Perspective
  14. @verbistheword #nicerqs Humans are lonely creatures. Perspective

  15. @verbistheword #nicerqs Listening to a person will get you insight

    you need, AND will help them think. Perspective
  16. Script #nicerqs I want to understand your perspective. Perspective Researcher

    Scheduling
  17. Script #nicerqs I understand. ! That makes sense. Perspective Researcher

    Listening
  18. Script #nicerqs I’ll do that. ! Good idea. Perspective Researcher

    Agreeing
  19. Script #nicerqs Thank you for talking to me. Perspective Researcher

    Concluding
  20. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Gather information without judgement Perspective

  21. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Process

  22. Summary @verbistheword #nicerqs Prep Interview Reflect Act Process

  23. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Prep What ∙ Who ∙ Where Process

  24. Subsection @verbistheword #nicerqs What Questions: Topic ∙ Research ∙ Spoken

    Process: Prep
  25. @verbistheword #nicerqs Topic Question Why can’t my lead and I

    agree? Prep: What
  26. @verbistheword #nicerqs Research Questions Is it the process? Is it

    personal? Do we think differently? Prep: What
  27. Script #nicerqs How do you think the project’s going? !

    How could I help it go better? Prep: What Researcher Spoken Questions
  28. @verbistheword #nicerqs Is it personal? ! Is it the process?

    ! Do we think differently? Prep: What How do you think the project’s going? ! How could I help it go better? Why can’t my lead and I agree? Topic Question Research Question Spoken Question
  29. Subsection @verbistheword #nicerqs Who Process: Prep

  30. @verbistheword #nicerqs My teammate ! My lead’s former teammate !

    My lead Prep: Who
  31. @verbistheword #nicerqs My teammate ! My lead’s former teammate !

    My lead Prep: Who
  32. @verbistheword #nicerqs Options: Gathered People The One on One Prep:

    Who
  33. @verbistheword #nicerqs Option: Gathered People The One on One Prep:

    Who
  34. @verbistheword #nicerqs People need to dump their buckets. Prep: Who

  35. Subsection @verbistheword #nicerqs Where Process: Prep

  36. @verbistheword #nicerqs Formal: Office Informal: Restaurant Prep: Where

  37. @verbistheword #nicerqs Make it a safe space. Prep: Where

  38. @verbistheword #nicerqs Make it easy for the interviewee to show

    up. Prep: Who
  39. Script #nicerqs Are you available for a 30 minute or

    1 hour chat? We can meet in person or remotely. Prep: Who Researcher Invitation
  40. Script #nicerqs Informational interview Prep: Who Researcher Key phrase

  41. @verbistheword #nicerqs Prep: What Who Where Process: Prep

  42. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Use preparation to make the interview easier

    Process: Prep
  43. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Interview Warm up ∙ Dive in ∙

    Wrap up ∙ Thanks Process
  44. Script #nicerqs How was the traffic? Process: Interview Researcher Warm

    up
  45. Script #nicerqs [The juicy questions] Process: Interview Researcher Dive in

  46. Script #nicerqs What should we start? What should we stop?

    What should we continue? Process: Interview Researcher Wrap up
  47. Script #nicerqs Thank you for talking to me! Process: Interview

    Researcher Thanks
  48. @verbistheword #nicerqs Interview: Warm up Dive in Wrap up Thanks

    Process: Interview
  49. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Have a way to start and conclude,

    and then enjoy the conversation between. Process: Interview
  50. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Reflect Process

  51. @verbistheword #nicerqs What did I learn? What can I do

    based on this information? Process: Reflect
  52. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Pause between gathering information and acting on

    it. Process: Reflect
  53. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Act Process

  54. @verbistheword #nicerqs Options: Change behavior Make a request Ask more

    questions Process: Act
  55. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Make sure you use the information you’ve

    gathered. Process: Act
  56. Summary @verbistheword #nicerqs Prep What ∙ Who ∙ Where Interview

    Warm up ∙ Dive in ∙ Wrap up ∙ Thanks Reflect Act Process
  57. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Properties

  58. Summary @verbistheword #nicerqs Word Format Purpose Frequency Properties

  59. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Word Who can name the “question words?”

    Properties
  60. @verbistheword #nicerqs Who What When Where Why How Properties: Word

    Options:
  61. @verbistheword #nicerqs Who What When Where Why How Tell Properties:

    Word Options:
  62. Script #nicerqs Why did you… How did you decide… What

    made you… Tell me about… Properties: Word Researcher Avoiding Why
  63. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Format Open-ended questions ∙ Prompts Cues ∙

    Confirmation Properties
  64. @verbistheword #nicerqs Open-ended questions ! Prompts ! Cues ! Confirmation

    Properties: Format Yes or no questions ! Stories Avoid: Use:
  65. Script #nicerqs Do you work at AARP? Properties: Format Researcher

    Yes or No
  66. Script #nicerqs So, I have a friend who used to

    work at AARP and she loved it, but then her knitting habit grew into this business. It started just with some scarves, and then hats, and then she made bags. And then, well, have you ever seen wet felting around armadillo shells? It’s absolutely beautiful, and is the most creative upcycling I’ve ever seen… But, like I was saying, how’s it at AARP? Properties: Format Researcher Story
  67. Script #nicerqs How did you come to work at AARP?

    Properties: Format Researcher Open-ended
  68. Script #nicerqs Tell me about working at AARP. Properties: Format

    Researcher Prompt
  69. Script #nicerqs <raised eyebrow> Properties: Format Researcher Cue And then

    I started working at AARP. Interviewee:
  70. Script #nicerqs Ok, so you started at AARP because your

    mother’s brother’s English professor’s son worked there and recommended you. Is that right? Properties: Format Researcher Confirmation
  71. @verbistheword #nicerqs Open-ended questions ! Prompts ! Cues ! Confirmation

    Properties: Format Yes or no questions ! Stories Avoid: Use:
  72. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs Why do you use Sharepoint? ! Properties:

    Question Word + Format Open-ended Prompt Cue Summary Who What When Where How Tell
  73. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Enable the interviewee to speak candidly. Properties:

    Word + Format
  74. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Purpose Subject ∙ Clarification ∙ Depth ∙

    Switch Properties
  75. Script #nicerqs Great. Now, how did you get into accounting?

    Purpose Researcher Subject
  76. Script #nicerqs Tell me more about TPS reports. Purpose Researcher

    Clarification
  77. Script #nicerqs <quiet> Purpose Researcher Depth

  78. Script #nicerqs Is there anything else we should talk about?

    ! Do you have any questions for me? Purpose Researcher Switch
  79. @verbistheword #nicerqs Purpose: Subject Clarification Depth Switch Purpose

  80. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Use questions to steer the conversation. Purpose

  81. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs Frequency Properties

  82. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Speak as little as possible. Properties: Frequency

  83. Summary @verbistheword #nicerqs Word Format Purpose Frequency Properties

  84. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs Asking a question at a pitch meeting.

    Exercise
  85. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs Pair up & introduce yourself. Exercise

  86. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs Clients, what I want you to ask

    is on the next slide. ! Service people, close your eyes! Exercise
  87. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs What time is it? Exercise

  88. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs Clients, turn so you can’t see the

    screen. ! Service people, the answer will be on the next slide. Exercise
  89. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs The clock in the room reads: ..:

    :. Exercise
  90. Activity @verbistheword #nicerqs Service people, how did you answer the

    client’s question? Exercise
  91. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Enable the interviewee to answer, “I don’t

    know.” Exercise
  92. Section @verbistheword #nicerqs When you ask questions…

  93. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Perspective: You can ask questions without knowing

    (what you’ll do with) the answers. Conclusion
  94. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Process: Asking questions takes place over time.

    It requires patience and curiosity. Conclusion
  95. Goal @verbistheword #nicerqs Properties: The details of each spoken question

    will shape the answers you get. Conclusion
  96. Summary @verbistheword #nicerqs Asking questions is brave and smart. Conclusion

  97. Summary @verbistheword #nicerqs When will you start? Conclusion

  98. #nicerqs #codeher2014 ∙ @verbistheword A Nicer Kind of Interrogation Veronica

    Erb | DCWW Code(Her) Conference 13 September 2014
  99. #nicerqs #codeher2014 ∙ @verbistheword Thanks! @verbistheword veronicaerb.com