Key principles

We like to think we’re very principled people. Here are just a few principles that we feel are important to designing and delivering great products and services.

#1 – be lean and agile in everything you do

‘Agile is a philosophy, not a religion’ – it is also a mindset that is central to our approach. The process is experimental and iterative and the goal of each iteration is to learn and respond. To keep things lean, only artefacts that help to test, learn and respond are developed.

#2 – put the user in the centre and keep them there

Users, real users, need to be central to the decision making process. Being user-centred is about establishing what users need from a service in terms of value and desirability. The emphasis on need is intentional – what users want and need are seldom the same thing.

#3 – aggressively drive out the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Flabby products and services help no one. They are expensive to produce, difficult to maintain and carry unnecessary operational risk. Driving out the MVP can be difficult but is vital to remaining user-centred. Part of the discipline is to make assumptions explicit and test the riskiest or most critical first.

#4 – research and act on what counts

Asking users what they want is a sure way to fail. Understanding what they need is a more certain way to success. Validating that what they need is usable and valuable is the only way to be certain. ‘Measure twice, cut once’ is fine for woodwork but in product and service design ‘measure quickly and test quickly’ will get you there in better shape and in a shorter time.

#5 – design services, not just products or features

Few digital products exist in a vacuum and understanding the broader service wrap is an important aspect of designing any product. Maintaining a service design mindset ensures broader service considerations are not forgotten in product and feature design and that the process remains user-centred.

#6 – design is a collaborative process

Collaboration is key, both across the stakeholder and delivery environments and within the Customer Team. The Customer Team needs to be cross-disciplinary and include the Product Owner as an active decision maker who participates in the design process. Collaboration helps us build shared understanding.

#7 – establish what success looks like and how to measure it

It’s natural to measure what is easy, not what will best inform the service design. This becomes inevitable if the definition of success and how to measure it are not addressed up front. Understand KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) from the user and business perspectives to ensure the intended outcomes are delivered.

#8 – find the fastest route to validation

Ask ‘what is the quickest way I can prove this’. Research is important – to a point. Once a hypothesis is understood, the next priority is to test it out in the most expeditious manner. Until you get a product into the users’ hands, you’re still guessing. That might be better informed guessing, but is guessing just the same.