HOW I WORK
My design process
My design process differs from project to project depending on the requirements and the nature of the project. However, each process is a constant loop of identification, validation, and creation. happens through the lens of the user the organization and technology.
WHICH METHODS DO I USE IN WHICH PROCESS PHASE, AND WHAT IS MY ROLE
My ideal process - agile vs waterfall
There are many approaches for the design and implementation process. From a research and design perspective, the process is often described based on a 'waterfall approach' with the double diamond model to express converging and diverging project phases. Phases are described to happen after each other. From an agile development perspective, these phases are all repeating in each sprint instead of having closed phases after each other.
From my experience, a combination of both works best. For successful product development a discovery or exploration phase, initial research, and analysis phase should happen before starting to work in agile sprints to ensure the epics are based on the right user needs and business objectives to allow success. However, each sprint contains discovery, definition, creation, and implementation in small, hence divergence and convergence. Also, each phase contains identification validation and creation.
In an ideal project, it is possible to go through all phases below in a full product development. Different phases will involve colleges from different disciplines and different stakeholders. Below I will explain my approach, skills and involvement in each of these phases as a UX and Service designer. The process is explained from a digital product development perspective since I have been working in this field for the past years. But the phases can be transferred to other industries and products focused on the user. The Implementation phase will differ for physical products or spaces.
The phases are exploration, research, analysis & service orchestration, conceptualisation and implementation. When an MVP or a first release is ready it should ideally be tested in a pilot. The pilot can be used to test the MVP and carry out research. Findings of this pilot result in an analysis phase and the cycle repeats developing a refined version.
refined problem statement and design criteria
A project usually starts with either a request from a client/ stakeholder or recognizing a user's need or business opportunity: Identify and frame the scope of the assignment together with the client or stakeholders.
It has to be validated whether this problem is relevant from a user, business and technology perspective as well as from the client-side (small competitor analysis, stakeholder interviews.
Based on this first validation, a plan or proposal (high-level strategy and roadmap, and a research plan) is created.
activities and methods I use: Understanding the problem, interviewing stakeholders and clients, market research, advisory role in meetings with clients, writing a proposal for an approach, creating a roadmap together with the client.
The research phase mostly begins with desk research to identify business goals, processes and internal operations as well as narrow down the user group to make a selection for participants for a qualitative session.
This is followed by and more in-depth stakeholder interviews to validate business goals and processes.
As a next step overview maps of findings are created and research materials such as interview guides or context mapping materials and schedules are created.
After that qualitative research is carried out, the research is the validation with the user.
I call this phase Initial research because research continues during the whole process, in conceptualization in form of concept tests during the sprints in form of usability testing and during the pilot in the form of booklets, questionnaires, observing,...
Methods I use and have experience with:
Research: Stakeholder & user Interviews, observation, and shadowing, context mapping, co-creation workshops, questionnaires, usability testing of existing products, sensitizing booklets and diaries, focus groups, mystery shopper, literature research.
Artefacts: stakeholder maps, touchpoint maps, probs, workshop templates and sensitizing materials.
Analysis & Service Orchestration
In this phase, all research results, backstage, and frontstage come together.
The results of the research are analyzed and topics and relations are identified, mapped out and linked to the backstage, for example, internal systems and operations. This is evaluated with IT and processes. Based on the analysis the service is orchestrated, a service proposition created and requirements are defined (User stories, design requirements,...). The outcomes are evaluated with the stakeholders such as product owners, designers, and implementation teams.
Customer journey maps, personas, service blueprinting, ecosystem maps, service proposition, creating epics, writing user stories, swim lane mapping, business model canvas.
Based on the service proposition and the requirements from the analysis concepts are created, often in co-creation with business stakeholders, designers and development teams. Otherwise, the concepts are evaluated with them. Ideally, the concepts are also tested with users and iterated upon before the implementation phase begins. Based on user and stakeholder validation the concept (s) to move forward with is identified. This is often a so-called sprint 0 in which stakeholders are taking part in ideation workshops, technical research and advise.
Methods I use:
concept workshops with stakeholders and team, application architecture, user flows, concept drawings, paper prototypes, concept testing with users. wizard of oz, technical exploration with development and It.
Design & Implementation
Implementation in Software development is done in Sprints. Interaction-, Visual design, and Development work together on user stories defined for a sprint.
Each sprint contains identifying priorities to work on first, validating the priorities with stakeholders and user needs and creating designs and developing features. Design and development have to be validated before going live.
Service designers define backlog together with PM (backlog prioritization and user story creation) and together with team define content and user stories for the following sprints.
After each sprint, the results of the sprints are shown to the client and stakeholders and new features are tested with the users. The results of these tests create new or refined user stories.
Defining epics and features with service blueprint, user needs and design requirements in mind, Epic overview and aligning the backlog and prioritisation with POs, Creating wireframes and flows, content and design refinement with visual design, copywriters, marketing and development, usability testing, helping with scrum methodology (e.g writing good and useful user stories).
if part of a scrum team then also: daily stand up, sprint planning, sprint demo, sprint review, scope review following sprint.