Depends on the service. Often between 15-30 minutes per person
Paper, notebooks or a computer for notes
Sound and video recording devices
Prototypes to test pilot
Any handouts and leaflets
What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?
Piloting is the final testing of a service before it will be finalised for markets, and provides objective viewpoints and experiences of potential customers. It could be compared to a dress rehearsal, but in pilot testing the testers should not be associated with the service as to obtain an objective and fresh user perspective, that allows them to notice any advantages and disadvantages in the service and to help adapt it to the real needs of customers.
Steps how to use this tool in practice
The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.
Plan the piloting and prepare the logistics for it. What will you test? Whom with? How many testers are needed? When, where and how will you test? What materials are needed to run it? Choose testers who have not been involved in developing the service. Ideally they should be potential end-users of the service. The numbers of testers may be for example between 10-20 to detect in the service its flaws and what works. Sometimes fewer are needed.
Decide what kind of information you need from piloting and how you obtain it. Create the questions based on this. The questions can be as open as possible, almost like in a conversation, letting the testers talk. You can also have some more specific questions for specific elements. In addition, you can draft areas in interest for yourself to observe.
Plan how you are going to monitor the testers and collect data. It is usually good at first to let the testers use the service freely after which you can ask them to perform specific tasks and ask questions from them.
Collect and analyse the data from pilot testing. Make a list of all points of improvements, desires, potential risks, and strengths in your final prototype, and any unexpected issues. Based on the data you can decide to move on to finalise the service or return to a previous phase and make modifications. This phase may also provide interesting data for future marketing and specify target groups. When making decisions, it is good to keep in mind what is the identity of your organisation and professional self, and whether these decisions are in line with your activity and foreseen development.
Tips and hints for using this tool
Try to start piloting from your friends or members of your family – this will give you honest and fresh feedback.