How Design Thinking Fuels Agile Product Delivery

The Agile approach to product development and agile product delivery has been around for over a decade now, and it has transformed the way companies develop software. In particular, the Agile Manifesto values “individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” This means that Agile prioritizes face-to-face communication between members of a self-organized, cross-functional team over rigid processes. It also means that Agile teams are constantly learning and evolving their process as they go, which makes for a more flexible and adaptive approach.

One of the key principles of Agile is “working software over comprehensive documentation.” This means that Agile teams focus on delivering working software quickly, rather than spending time on creating detailed documentation. The rationale behind this is that it’s better to have a working software that can be used and tested by users, rather than a perfect documentation that may never see the light of day.

Design Thinking is another approach to product development and delivery that has been gaining traction in recent years. Like Agile, Design Thinking emphasizes collaboration and continuous learning. However, where Agile focuses on delivering working software quickly, Design Thinking takes a more human-centered approach. This means that instead of starting with a technology solution and then figuring out how to make it work for users, Design Thinking starts with understanding the needs of users and then designing a solution that meets those needs.

So what happens when you combine Agile Product Delivery and Design Thinking?

The result is a more user-centered approach to product development and agile product delivery that is faster, more flexible, and more adaptive.

Here’s how it works:

1. Understanding the user: The first step in any Design Thinking process is to understand the needs of the user. This involves talking to users, observing their behavior, and understanding their pain points.

2. Ideation: Once you understand the needs of the user, it’s time to start generating ideas for how to meet those needs. This is done through a process of brainstorming and collaboration.

3. Prototyping: Once you have some potential solutions, it’s time to start prototyping. This helps you to quickly test and iterate on your ideas.

4. Testing: The final step is to test your prototypes with users. This helps you to validate your solution and make sure it meets the needs of the user.

The Agile and Design Thinking approach has already been adopted by some of the world’s leading companies, including: Google, Apple, and Airbnb, and it’s not hard to see why. This approach is faster and more flexible than traditional product development approaches. It’s also more user-centered, which means that you’re more likely to create a product that users will actually want to use. With this in mind, let’s look at how these three companies leverage design thinking to power their agile product delivery process.

Google: Google has a long history of using data to drive its product development process. And it’s the same when it comes to Design Thinking. In fact, Google has even created a tool called “Google Design Sprint” that combines Design Thinking with Agile to help teams move from idea to prototype in just five days. The goal of the sprint is to help teams rapidly ideate, prototype, and test their ideas with users.

Apple: You can’t think of Steve Jobs without thinking about Apple’s user experience and how well designed it is.This is no accident. Apple takes a very user-centered approach to product development, which is evident in their use of Design Thinking. In fact, they even have a dedicated User Experience Evangelist position on their design teams. There’s a reason why Apple’s 2007 launch of the iPhone is considered one of the most successful product launches in history. By starting with the needs of the user and then working backwards, they were able to create a product that was not only revolutionary, but also incredibly easy to use. This accelerated their agile product delivery cycle, which enabled them to beat their competition to market and capture a large share of the market.

Airbnb:Thanks to Airbnb’s innovative product management style, the company has been able to change the way people travel for good, and in the process, become one of the most valuable startups in the world. Design thinking is at the heart of their success. Airbnb’s product is two-fold: there’s the Airbnb platform that connects travelers with hosts, and there’s the actual experience of staying in an Airbnb rental. This means that they have to design for two different users: the traveler and the host. And they do this by using a technique called “parallel prototyping.” This means that they create two separate prototypes for each user, and then they test them both at the same time. This helps them to quickly iterate on their ideas and get feedback from users much faster than if they were working on one prototype at a time. By starting with a deep understanding of their users, they’ve been able to create products that are not only useful, but also delightful to use. This focus on the user has helped them grow from a small startup to a multi-billion dollar company in just a few short years.

The bottom line is that Design Thinking is a powerful tool that can help you create products that users will love. And when combined with Agile, it can help you move from idea to prototype in record time. Organizations looking to accelerate their product delivery cycle should consider adopting this approach.

At Agileseventeen, we are passionate about helping companies adopt agile and design thinking approaches to product development and agile product delivery. We offer a variety of services, including training, coaching, and consulting that can help you implement these approaches in your organization. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you power your product development process with agility and design thinking: