The Importance of a Great Design Process

Ever notice a recurring theme in your life? I've had several conversations about process with people over the last few weeks. So many conversations, in fact, that I thought it was worth writing about here.

If you've ever watched The Profit you know Marcus Lemonis gives a standard lecture about his recipe for success to all the business owners he works with.

You need great people, a great product, and a great process to be successful.

This is true for business and it's true for product teams, too. You're reading this newsletter so I already know you're one of the great people. !!!!! I'm sure the thing you're working on is a great product (we can talk about what makes a great product another time). That leaves process.


What's a good product design process?

Too many organizations assume that great people focused on making a great product will automagically create a great process. Wrong.

Humans, no matter how talented, are creatures of habit and inherently lazy. This isn't altogether bad. Laziness is the mother of invention, and good habits form good disciplines. The trouble arises when a good process isn't in place to direct those habits.

Cutting to the chase, a great process follows 5 principals:

  1. Clear — It doesn't have to be simple (few steps) but the steps have to be clear and easy for everyone to understand.
  2. Memorable — Each steps has to be small and clear enough to remember. If you forget the process you won't follow the process.
  3. Repeatable — You must be able to do it over and over again without fatigue.
  4. Durable — When a process is too strict it becomes fragile. When you can't complete a task the way the process says you should, you'll improvise and go off script. That's bad. You must be able to do it over and over again without changing it (much).
  5. Flexible — Related to being durable. The process must be able to handle all the real-world scenarios thrown at it with grace. This is also how you update the process as the business, market, or product needs change.

Applying those principals to a design process is what led me to think about things as Loops. In any creative process we have to be able to switch between creativity and analysis. Right brain / left brain. Research and creation.

Building great products is hard. Loops enables us to have a clear process which also allows for all the real-world chaos we'll run into along the way. Moving back-and-forth between the creativity and analysis mindsets creates a more flexible process. You just have to give yourself permission to do it. Break out of the "waterfall" vs "agile" conversation and do things in a more fluid way.

Ask yourself, does your process check all 5 points above? If not, what needs to change? Maybe Loops can help.

Posted in Design, User Experience, Design Thinking, Strategy, Design Process

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