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Conversational AI: Lesson 3 – Determine Scope

Erin Abler
Publication Date
6 December 2019

Conversational AI: Lesson 3 – Determine Scope

In earlier posts, I’ve shared recommendations for uncovering great use cases for voice. After you’ve started with what you know and found a meaningful opportunity, you’ll need to determine scope

Once you’ve identified a promising opportunity, it can be tempting to become increasingly ambitious. What starts as a simple idea can grow larger with each conversation. Suddenly the initiative has doubled in size, and the vision has become technically unwieldy. 

Concepts that grow around a central theme are often worth considering, but conversational AI is a classic case where it’s better to walk before you run. When you’re making your first foray into voice, there will be plenty of basics that you’ll need to get right. If your scope becomes too large or too complex, you may struggle to master those basics. 

The best way forward? Keep user needs front and center, and focus on delivering against those with good, solid design. 

Use what you have

If you’ve followed the advice to start with what you know, you may be leveraging information that’s already available elsewhere in your digital ecosystem. Existing content can be a valuable resource and time-saver, especially if it was created for the audience you intend to address. Even so, you’ll need to do some work to optimize it for voice. People speak very differently from how they write, so your content will need to be rewritten to support listening comprehension, turn-taking, and nonlinear conversational paths. This is critical to the success of the overall design, so you’ll want to allow time for it when you set your scope. 

Evaluate as you go

As you consider potential “extras,” be clear about whether they are essential to your business goals. If they aren’t, table them for future enhancements. If a more complex feature has high value for users or the business, and if it looks possible to achieve within project constraints, don’t back down from it. Just remember to stay flexible as challenges arise. If delivering a certain feature starts to become too difficult or too costly, be willing to recalibrate.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Above all, keep your user as your focus. If the user won’t miss a certain feature and the experience doesn’t deteriorate, that feature isn’t critical. If the features and functions covered in your scope will meet a meaningful user need and a valid business goal, you’ve found a good place to get started. 

Stay tuned for my final post in this series, where I’ll touch on the importance of planning for the future.  

Want to learn more, or have a question about this post? Contact me directly:

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