Organizing Design in Lean-Agile Programs : A Participatory Case Study

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Title: Organizing Design in Lean-Agile Programs : A Participatory Case Study
Author: Laitinen, Niko
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Tietojenkäsittelytiede
Abstract: The nature of developing digital products and services has changed to adjust to the emergent markets that change fast and are difficult to predict. This has prioritized time-to-market and customer validation. The increase in expectations and complexity of digital products has caused organizations to transform to better operate in the present market space. As a consequence the demand for user experience design in digital product development has grown. Design in this context is defined as a plan or specification for the construction of software applications or systems or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype, product or process. New ways of organizing design work are needed to adjust to the evolving organizations and end-customer markets. In this case study digital product design was examined as a craft, a process and methods of defining, creating and validating digital products for consumer markets. The significant adoption of Lean-Agile software methodologies has successfully spread to organizations in response to the changed market space. Yet incorporating these methodologies into digital design have not yet reached maturity. Results from extensive studies have shown that successfully applying Lean-Agile methodologies can improve the quality of user experience and team productivity. These results have increased the integration of user experience practices into Lean-Agile methodologies. Successfully integrating Lean-Agile development and design have been proven to have immense effects on business growth on a large scale. This has largely been due to increased customer engagement using user-centered design approaches. This thesis investigates how Lean-Agile methodologies, user-centered design, Lean UX, Design Thinking, Lean Startup Method, Agile Software Development, DesignOps and Design Systems could be incorporated into the design process in digital product development to improve the impact, efficiency and quality of design work outcomes. A case study was conducted to prove the benefits of using Lean-Agile methodologies in the development of customer facing digital products and services. The design organization was examined with participatory and action research to establish a model of design operations in the community of practice, a group of people who share design as a discipline. This constructed model is then evaluated against a DesignOps model constructed from applicable literature. The participation allowed use of operations management methods which aimed to make the design process rapid, robust and scalable. These operations are later referred to as DesignOps (design operations). Quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to gather data. Qualitative methods included a team survey and an analysis of business metrics including the effects on business value and growth. Quantitative methods included discussion, interviews and observation in the design organization. The sustainability of the design practice was also evaluated. In addition the design organization put effort into building a company wide Design System and the benefits and considerations for building one are examined. The results indicated that the design practice at the studied company was still low in maturity. Especially DesignOps methods were noticeably beneficial. Efficiency in digital product development and increase in employee satisfaction could be identified from establishing design practices with DesignOps. Beyond these the establishment of a design organization with DesignOps enabled continuous improvement inside the company. Lean UX showed promising signs for establishing highly functioning digital product development teams that can efficiently produce design work in a sustainable manner. Design Systems spread knowledge and cultivate collaboration across disciplines which grows the impact of design inside the company. Establishing a design practice for continuous learning can increase market value, generate growth and improve employee and customer satisfaction.
Subject: Digital Product Design
Lean UX
Design Thinking
Lean Startup Method
Agile Software Development
Design Systems
Confrontational Design
Service Design
User-centered Design
Lean-Agile Methodology
Action Research

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