What are the benefits of incorporating Design thinking and UX into software development in agile mode?

What are the benefits of incorporating Design thinking and UX into software development in agile mode?

Usually before launching an IT project there tend to be a kind of friction between the parties involved in the project, and that’s because they speak different languages; programmers think in terms of code, companies think in terms of business value, and interface designers think in terms of customer experience. Balancing out the different languages involved can be a challenging task. 

In this article we are going to go in depth into the benefits of incorporating design thinking and UX in software development, but before what is design thinking and UX? And what is agile

  • What is design thinking and UX?
  • What is agilemode?
  • What re the benefits of incorporating design thinking and UX into software development in agile model?

What are Design Thinking and UX ?

Design thinking can be described as an iterative process through a series of steps where we aim to comprehend the user, probe existing ideas, and rethink problems as we try to pinpoint new strategies and possible solutions not immediately obvious to our initial level of understanding. On the other hand, it represents also a solution-based approach to problem solving, considered as a way of thinking and a set of practical methods.

Design Thinking focuses primarily on a fundamental concern to gain an in-depth understanding of the clients we are designing products or services for.

It helps us to examine and build a sense of empathy with users. Design Thinking guides us through the questioning process: questioning the problem, questioning the assumptions and questioning the implications. Design Thinking has proven to be extremely useful in tackling unspecified or unknown problems by refocusing the problem in a human-centered way, by generating many new ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a hands-on approach through prototyping and testing.  Design thinking includes ongoing experimentation: sketches, prototypes, testing and trials of concepts and ideas.

UX or as known as UserExperience, involves how a user actually feels when utilizing a product, application, system, or service. The term is a generic description that can cover everything from how the user can navigate through the product, to the ease of use, usefulness of the content displayed, etc.

So, whether the different dimensions of the experience are directly under the control of the product or simply associated with the product, the overall experience is considered to be part of the UX from the user’s point of view. Every contact between the customer and the company is part of the total user experience.

What is agile mode?

Agile mode or method is a model of IT project management that emphasizes dialogue between all stakeholders, customers, users, developers and other project professionals, flexibility during implementation, the ability to modify plans, and speed of delivery. The aim is to escape from traditional practices that are far too rigid and too demanding in terms of contractual specifications. Therefore, it is important to give priority to relationships and extensive communication about project development processes.

Now that we got to explore and we know exactly what agile mode means and what does UX and design thinking stand for, we can delve deeper into the benefits of incorporating UX and design thinking into software development in agile mode.

Apple, Whirlpool, General Electrics, IBM, Lego, Marriott, Accenture, Daimler, Microsoft, BMZ, Airbnb, Toshiba etc.…

These companies don’t have much in common, yet Design Thinking plays a key role in how they make decisions, innovate, and remain leaders in their respective industries.

Combining design thinking and UX in IT projects and software development is becoming a must for all companies. No one can deny how that would make the job easier for all parties involved in any project and not to forget their satisfaction in regards of the final product.

Therefore, we are going to discover the different advantage of this combination in software development in agile mode:

  • Better understanding of the problem:

Taking the time to listen to customers so as to better understand the problem before coming up with relevant solutions, testing them, building assumptions about the results, iterating quickly and providing definitive solutions.

Through this process, software developers and designers can build highly effective solutions by developing products and services in a way that analytical thinkers cannot.

  • Allows rapid testing and validation of concepts before time consuming coding:

When developers are in touch with their customers’ need and are operating in agile mode, this makes them focused more on the client, meaning that the testing and validation of an idea or a concept is a must before the coding to ensure the satisfaction of all parties involved.

  • Provides a clear, sociable visual representation of the project’s vision:

A shortcoming of many IT projects is a lack of common understanding or vision of the ultimate project goal. This results in a mismatch of expectations and scope changing as the project matures. Different stakeholders have different motivations and expectations of what will be delivered, these different views often result in an underlying mistrust between the different stakeholders.

  • Engaging the end user as a customer:

The role of the ‘customer’ is central. However the customer is one voice and is generally a business representative who will determine what will have business value and thus be prioritized in the development. However business value for the customer does not always translate into value for the end user.

  • Improves basis for estimation:

Visualization of what the application will look like and behave helps identify how functionality can best be developed for maximum performance with minimum development effort.

  • Mitigates project risk:

Having a perfect vision of the project and its aspects makes it easier for the people working on it to make it perfect and find the suitable solution for the clients, while decreasing any risks possible.

This article gives a general overview of design thinking and UX and how incorporating then in software development could make the job easier, and that’s because engaging all stakeholders in the process ensures that when the developers start cutting code the focus will be on ensuring code quality, mitigating the risk of business driven changes that could not be articulated without having something tangible to evaluate. We tried to expose the most important advantages among others.

References : https://www.thoughtworks.com/ https://www.interaction-design.org/ https://www.productplan.com/      

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