Agile may have originated in software development to deliver a product to market faster – through incremental and iterative life cycles that enable flexibility and adaptability to change. But, Agile is not just limited to software development. It can be applied to the design process as well.
“Agile is iterative. Design is iterative. Why couldn’t they work together” – Jeff Gothelf
The design process has the following key stages where continuous incremental and iterative life cycles can be applied:
- Discovery – To understand and validate customer problems
- Ideate – To generate customer-driven insights, identify opportunities and problem solutions
- Experimentation – To create prototypes to test and validate solutions to address customer problems
Upholding the key values and principles of Agile in the design process will enable customer involvement. By producing an output at the end of each iteration, customers will have the chance to inspect early and provide feedback, which will be used to improve the product for the next iteration.
In addition, shared understanding will be built and collaboration will be established. Continuous design iteration provides visibility of the product and allows frequent interactions across team members, stakeholders, and customers. It keeps those required for project delivery well-integrated and engaged to work together towards designing the solution.
Ultimately, as we combine customer involvement in product development, shared understanding and collaboration, and a scrum master or product manager who fosters an environment of dedication and trust on the team’s commitment to delivery, motivation and accountability will manifest. As they figure out their way to work on the team dynamic and to complement their work patterns and creative space, they can grow together to be a high functioning and empowered team. This created synergy will be the driving force towards customer satisfaction.