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An intro to the IBM Garage Method


Choosing how to develop software is as important as defining what to develop. The IBM Garage Methodology reinforces Enterprise Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and agile DevOps concepts and is fundamental to the transformation of your enterprise. The Method is a collection of curated practices and workflows to help you rapidly define, design, build, deploy, and scale innovative solutions This article shows you how to create a solution using the Method.

Focus on your users

To get started, you need to focus on your users and their needs to deliver more useful, usable, and desirable solutions. This practice is called Enterprise Design Thinking. When you start a new product or a new iteration, you first conceptualize, design, refine and prioritize features that will delight your customers. Your goal is to define an MVP, the absolute minimum function needed for your target persona to have a delightful experience while accomplishing a goal.

design thinking workshop example

Define the MVP

After everyone is on board with the definition of the MVP or minimum viable product, the next step is an Inception activity. During an Inception activity, the squad breaks up an MVP definition into small user stories, written from the perspective of the personas, that a pair of developers can implement within about a day.

Rank your priorities

Next, rank your user stories in priority order. Developers pull user stories from the top of the backlog so that the highest priority items are always developed first. The backlog is fluid and you can adjust story priorities based on feedback and new requirements. Use a Kanban board to make the state of all user stories visible to the team. In your daily standup meetings, track the backlog, along with stories that are in progress, under review, and complete.

Deliver an MVP

Other practices that ensure you are delivering a high-quality MVP to production include pair programming, test-driven development and automation. Automate operations to ensure that your production solution meets your established service level agreements.

Hold regular playbacks at every step of your project to gather feedback from stakeholders and target users. Take the feedback into account as you iterate on the MVP. Iteration and feedback are key elements of the Method. At any time during the creation of an MVP, feedback might demand that the team pivot to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the target users. If a part of the MVP under development is not really meeting the user’s needs, you may need to re-design and abandon the original design. The key is to fail fast, learn, and pivot to create a solution that will delight your user.

storyboarding mvp

That might be very different than the way your organization currently works. Cultural change and organizational transformation are at the very root of the adoption of the Method as a new way of working.

Work with experts

At IBM Garages around the world, companies both large and small are empowered to create engaging solutions. In an IBM Garage workshop, you design and build real solutions that solve your business needs. The Garage can lead your business through organizational and technology transformation. Start with one small project or embark on overall organizational and digital transformations.

experts from ibm garage workshops

Work with our experts to identify a candidate business problem, practice Enterprise Design Thinking, and create and deliver an MVP on the cloud. Then continue to adopt the Method to transform how your enterprise works and to continue to scale your project.

What’s next?

Visit the IBM Garage Methodology site to learn how you can use the Method to transform your business. You can also visit the Garage to work with our IBM experts to define and develop your MVP.