When we start a small project to learn and answer questions for the organization. It is good if we can be clear about the type of project and the specific learning goals of the project. This template aims to help create a path towards focused learning.
Start with a small paragraph describing the project. List the specific limitations, simplifications, and assumptions in the project. What is roll out / testers / pilot usage if planned, or approach to research if no initial rollout planned. State explicitly if this is a research, proof of concept, or pilot project.
Research: This often is documenting, searching, having discussions, proposing plans and alternative approaches. Research may include small code samples that explore or verify if something works as expected or is a viable option. Most often is used to drive the discussion further.
POC (Proof of concept): This would be a step deeper than pure research. It tries to proof out an idea in a way that answers goals of the project under more real-world conditions. POCs aren’t necessarily for end users, often just for the developers. POCs, unlike pure research should be trying to work with real world business data/conditions opposed to lab conditions of research only.
Pilot: Pilots are often intended for release to a small group of initial users. While pilots are tests of the underlying code and architecture, it is also often testing the business value, UX, performance and usability in real-world conditions. A pilot can be ongoing for a time to allow close contact with a small group of users to iterate towards a solution.
Current Status Quo
We are probably doing this project because we have no solution, or the existing solution has known flaws. Let’s give a brief statement on the current state, which could be as simple as “does not exist.”
A list of defined things we are trying to learn from the project. Below are just some examples that might be relevant to different levels of learning projects.