“What’s your team’s design process?” This is one of the most frequently asked interview questions and one that I’m excited to share with interviewees. It’s easy for me to answer this question now but this wasn’t always the case. Previously I had a hard time conveying design culture because process was nonexistent. In fact, this lack of shared process presented several challenges within our team.
Problem 1: Unclear team culture/vision
Lack of process was a symptom of deeper problems around team culture. Even though we belonged to a team, it didn’t feel like we united in vision. Without clear purpose and structure, design get-togethers dwindled and the team felt further fragmented.
Problem 2: Designers worked in silos
Product experience suffered because siloed designers used patterns inconsistently and didn’t solicit feedback from others. At times I’d even discover new design patterns during development! A lack of sharing ideas and communication among teammates contributed to this problem.
Problem 3: Bad copy discovered in production
Bad copy showed up in live products because the team overlooked copywriting. Even when we had access to copywriters, people denied taking responsibility for this problem and finger pointing ensued.
This presented an opportunity for me to develop a design process, one that could be easily referenced and promoted across the team. It was also a catalyst for conversations around building team culture and collaboration.
I was inspired by high-level processes like d.school’s Design Thinking, IDEO’s Design Kit, and How to apply design thinking from scratch. I find these methods great for reference but still too high-level for real product development. I’ll share my interpretation of the design process and how to apply it in practice.
The design board
The design board is a virtual board that helps designers visualize workflow, and it’s inspired by the Kanban methodology used by agile development teams. Work items are represented as cards that move through different stages of design.
A basic kanban board consists of three steps: to do, in progress, and done. You can create a simple board using free tools like Trello or Taiga. First create a card for each project within the To Do column. Move the card to In Progress when you start working on it, and move it to Done when it’s completed.
The design board is a bit more complex and consists of 10 columns representing steps within the design process. I used Atlassian JIRA (paid subscription program) to create the board.
Note: I’m less adamant about following Kanban best practices for project management, so feel free to consolidate steps within this workflow.
The numbers on top of the board represent tickets (JIRA term for cards) within each column, and clicking a ticket reveals more information about the project. I encourage designers to document as much of their research and thought process within tickets.
Why? We often refer to old tickets for new projects or hand-off projects to other designers. In either case, good documentation is useful to recall or understand why design decisions were made.
Designers start a new project by creating a ticket within a separate design backlog board. This serves as a repository of tickets to be worked on in the future. My backlog usually contains ideas for various projects and UX/UI issues to be revisited. Here’s an example of a design ticket in JIRA.
Next I’ll dive into the details of the design board.
When tickets are ready to be worked on, they’re moved from the backlog to the design board’s To Do column. Work hasn’t started but managers can glance over this column to anticipate projects coming down the pipeline.
The first step of the design process, Define Scope, is to conduct preliminary research to understand the purpose of design. I created a template with several key questions to answer.
- Problem — What’s the problem you’re trying to solve? Frame the problem in a way that’s easy to understand.
- Goals— Who are the users and what are their goals? Every element in your design should be justified by a user need or goal.
- Relevant Research — If there’s existing research related to this problem, how can it be incorporated into design?
- Constraints — Are there existing or anticipated constraints?
- KPIs — How do you measure success? Knowing KPIs (key performance metrics) empower designers to think more strategically about the business impact of design.
- Flowcharts — Is it useful to map out flows comparing current vs. proposed designs?
Answering these questions will help designers engage with stakeholders and perform their due diligence to make more informed design decisions.
Read original article on – https://uxdesign.cc/building-design-process-within-teams-f197786c41be