A better way to gather insights from the 5 Act Interview

If you have participated in a Design Sprint, I’m sure you can relate to how exhausted you are by Friday at 4:00 pm. The last thing you want to do after that last interview is to start sorting Post-it notes. Well, you’ll be glad to hear that Voltage Control has developed a much better approach. Introducing our 5 Act Interview Scorecard.

You can download the scorecard here, but please read on for detailed instructions of how and why to use it!

Our custom scorecard

The scorecard is a simple concept. Create a shared Google Sheet that all of your interview observers can use to take notes simultaneously. With Google Sheets you start with digital notes so you don’t have to type up a bunch of hand written notes later. We assign a worksheet to each sprinter, so everyone has their own workspace, yet we can see each other’s work.

Start your notes in Google Sheets so you don’t have to transcribe Post-its later.
Start your notes in Google Sheets so you don’t have to transcribe Post-its later.
Start your notes in Google Sheets so you don’t have to transcribe Post-its later.

Each sprinter’s worksheet has a column for each tester with rows of questions. During each interview, the sprinter’s job is to answer Yes, No, or ? to each of the questions. While the interviewer won’t ask these questions directly to the tester, they are aware of the questions and will prompt and nudge the tester in order to tease out answers to the question.

Write your sprint questions as Yes/No questions

The questions are derived from the 3–5 Sprint questions that were written on Monday as well as prototype questions. First we start with the 3–5 Sprint questions and re-write them as Yes/No questions. Often these questions seem OK until you are listening to an interview and realize they are ambiguous. It’s important to be as explicit as possible and even discuss the intent of the questions with the team so everyone is aligned on how to interpret them. I also recommend that you write Yes/No question variants such that Yes would be the desired answer. This consistency helps during scoring and later on when synthesizing the results.

In addition to the Sprint questions we also include a few questions that we have about the prototype. (Will the user appreciate the case studies? Do users understand that the KPIs are configurable? Do users want the ability to try before they buy?) We recommend limiting your score card to 10 questions, including your Sprint questions and prototype questions

The insights section

Below the Y/N questions section is the insights section. This section contains 3 columns:

  1. Tester: You can select the name of the tester from a dropdown.
  2. Timestamp: Enter the timestamp for the moment when the insight was revealed. Using the CMD + Shift + Semicolon hotkey makes this a breeze.
  3. Insight: The insight or tester quote you want to capture. It’s important to only capture the big ideas, ahas, and big concerns. You shouldn’t transcribe the interview; you are recording it after all.

@Pro Tip: Bold quotes so they are easy to locate later.

The graph

The final component to the scorecard is the graph. In the graph tab, you’ll find a bar chart that shows the distribution of answers for all your observers across all testers for each question. This is a great way to see which questioned you got right, which ones need more work, and which ones are inconclusive and need to be studied further. The graph updates in real time and I enjoy keep an eye on it throughout the day to see how it is evolving.

The automatically-generated graph helps you get a sense of how things are going at a glance.
The automatically-generated graph helps you get a sense of how things are going at a glance.

How to Use The Voltage Control Sprint Scorecard

I’m happy to share the official Voltage Control Scorecard so you don’t have to struggle with overwhelming notes like we did at first. The scorecard is simple to configure. Once you open the scorecard, simply make a copy and rename it. Then follow the steps below to set it up for for your Sprint.

Our handy-dandy scorecard can be yours!
Our handy-dandy scorecard can be yours!

Setting Up Your Scorecard

  1. Click File/Make a copy to create your own version of the scorecard.
  2. Open the Inputs sheet.
  3. Edit the questions to match your Sprint and Prototype questions.
  4. Edit the interview times to match your interview schedule.
  5. Edit the tester names to reflect your testers.
  6. Hide the Get Inputs sheet.
  7. Rename the Sprinter sheets to the names of your team members. Note: We have support for 10 observers. If you don’t have that many feel free to hide those sheets. Do NOT delete them.
  8. Share the sheet with your team along with the instructions below on how to use the scorecard.
  9. Share the instructions below with your Sprint team.
  10. Hide the Get Started sheet.
Examples of what the scorecard looks like in practice.
Examples of what the scorecard looks like in practice.

Using the Scorecard

  1. Open your scorecard.
  2. Click on the worksheet with your name on it.
  3. At the top you’ll see columns for each tester and the rows of Y/N questions.
  4. On the bottom, you’ll see an empty section for recording insights.
  5. Take a moment to read each of the Y/N questions.
  6. While observing the interview, if you can confidently answer any of the Y/N questions with a Yes or No, record your answer. If the tester wasn’t completely clear or said contradictory things, mark that question with a “?” for that question. If the topic didn’t come up at all, leave it empty.
  7. When you hear interesting, provocative, or concerning things from the testers, record them in the insights section at the bottom.
  8. For each insight, use the drop down to select the current tester’s name, enter the timestamp using the hotkey, and type in the insight.

Remember: don’t transcribe the entire interview! Everything will be recorded anyway.

Tips for capturing insights

  1. When you record a quote, put it in bold.
  2. If you hear something negative, set the text color to red.
  3. If you hear something exciting or super helpful, set the text color to green.

Reading the Scorecard

There is a graph sheet that collects your teams’ collective observations into a simple and easy to understand graphic that can be shared and used to reflect on next steps. We also recommend skimming through the insights from your team. Review and sort through the insights, gathering up the big ahas and noting patterns that are consistent across all the interviews. Feed these into your action plan. Also, quotes that have been highlighted are great to include in announcements or updates to the broader team about the Sprint.

I hope that our scorecard helps you as much as it has helped us. We no longer have to sort through heaps of hand written notes or worry about recency bias (i.e. showing preference for the most recent interview versus that one from 6 hours ago.) Instead, all the notes are digital, terse, and organized. We can safely leave them in place, and revisit them when our minds are fresh and we can think about all of the interviews objectively and equally.