Why does the design process matter? How to create one?

Design Process is a systematic series of steps that helps to define, plan and produce a product. It visualizes the entire product journey even before it is conceptualized. The design process brings in efficiency, transparency, and focus while carrying out various activities among the team and stakeholders.

Why Should You Use A Design Process?

  • Improves project visibility — A process enables the team to work through clear stages; this, in turn, brings clarity and visibility for the design and other cross-functional teams and the client. As the project progresses, everyone becomes aware and contributes as and when required.
  • Sets realistic expectations — With a design process in place, all stakeholders are always aware of the project’s stage and what to expect in that stage. With a transparent design process, steps can be mapped out at the beginning of the project and thus help everyone be on the same page.
  • Visualizes strategy — A well-defined process means building from first principles, understanding requirements, and helps to gradually progress based on different project types, available resources, and timelines.
  • Enables collaboration — A structured design process will help all team members to collaborate and track activities/tasks, especially when team members are remote and have a reduced time overlap. A design process will identify clean hand-offs and communication gaps, if any.
  • Offers decision support — It helps to get things right at first go by making accurate decisions. Despite what feels right, the team goes through the defined process to ensure the right choices and brings efficiency into their work.
  • Drives standardization — Every step is mapped out and carved into a standard design process, bringing into an organization’s specific discipline or muscle memory. It becomes easier for new team members to join the project and get started without much hand-holding.

A purposeful design process ensures that the team works together, gets things done, and targets a planned impact.

How To Create One That Suits Your Team's work?

A process can be operational or evaluative.

Operational processes are somewhat prescriptive, whereas the Design process is evaluative and generic with flexible activities and outputs.

For example, the design thinking process brings structure to finding innovative solutions to tricky challenges simply because the process drives mindset change and doesn’t force the team to follow a prescriptive and rigid framework.

It’s all about knowing the problem well enough to diverge on potential ideas together and converge on a solution that can be iterated to improve efficacy.

The 4D process coined by Stanford D-School is a user-centric iterative process that addresses four facets of digital product development.

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Design
  • Deliver

Our founders have created their processes to suit their client context and design management strategy.

However, most design processes tend to miss out on the measurement phase. Very rarely, design is measured and communicated to the rest of the stakeholders through an RoI or measurable change in a business KPI.

We propose to add measurement as a critical phase with unique activities to complete the design process.

A design process can be customized depending on different factors. These are the project scope, the size of a company, budget, or deadlines — to mention a few.

This is often recommended to teams and leaders that they create their version of their ideal design process. In other words, a customizable template that everyone can refer to as they bring a product from idea to ship.

The customized design process can help a growing design team scale, produce quickly, maintain brand cohesion, and make sure each individual is working on projects that come to fruition. It also helps adjacent teams like product management, marketing, and engineering know precisely how to work with the design team.

Missing Element Of A Design Process

As you explore different design processes, you can customize and standardize them as per your team’s requirements. But, all the popular design processes, misses out on an important step to measure the maturity of the design process. Very rarely, design is measured and communicated to the rest of the stakeholders through an RoI or measurable change in a business KPI.

The maturity of the design process is never measured to optimize and make it practical for the organization.

How to measure the processes? Are there any defined success metrics to measure? How to define the design maturity of an organization?

Unfortunately, very few processes measure the value of design intervention and maturity of the design process. By measuring design processes, you can pinpoint the root cause of the system’s failure.

In our view, it’s a tremendous competitive advantage to have relevant design processes and continuously monitor its maturity.

At CUBYTS, we have built an Intelligent DesignOps Platform to set up your unique design processes to standardize design execution. In CUBYTS, every design process has a measurable aspect connected to it.

It offers several recommendations to create a customized design process, share it with the team, and track the measurement of design outcomes, which improves the design maturity of your organization.