The Right Way To Present A Proof Of Concept

This cropped up on Reddit Video and I had to have a listen. The original poster was making the point that despite not being able to play a single instrument, Michael Jackson was always credited as being a song-writer in full on his records, with session musicians being brought in to perform the arrangements – even though he also could not write a note of music.

This demo recording of Beat It, is a great example of how a proof of concept should be developed and presented to your team – by using the skills you have to communicate, in MJ’s case – his voice. This may come across as a really tacky tangent but it is actually how I approach all my work. Since my teens, on and off, I’ve been in bands, some more professional than others and the art of song writing differs from one group and individual to the next. I have always taken the same approach – and it’s the same approach I use for Interaction Design.

  • Take your initial riff, record it with a metronome, and play complimenting lines alongside it until you find something that works.
  • Now introduce a bass line to hold the backbone together before introducing the vocal and then the drums come in to give it vibrancy, a sense of urgency and texture.
  • Play riff to band
  • Learn riff as a band and jam out to see where you feel it all goes next.
  • Iterate, over and over and over and over, sometimes for months until you get it to a standard you are happy with, with all your arrangements, a beginning middle and end together you’re set.
  • Play show and introduce new song. Find out whether people like it by volume of applause and feedback from fans after show.
  • Take that feedback and decide whether to drop it or keep it and if you’re keeping it consider what could make it better.

I take this exact approach to all my interaction design projects. Take an idea, work with the band to get it shaped up, because each person plays a different instrument and has something else to bring to the song which will make it sound different, have a different feel and texture and all of you combined is what defines that bands sound. You rehearse it, trying out different things in a closed testing scenario before releasing it and waiting to see what happens. Then, repeat the process.