Alignment

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Tackling a new design process can be valuable but more often than not challenging. This is especially the case when you are trying to incorporate design into a product that had little or no design intervention at its inception.

How do you begin to introduce design thinking into the process so that what you do yield at the end is a comprehensive, purposeful user experience?

The answer lies in the foundation laying at the start of the initiative. Educating key stakeholders about the value of beginning to think in a design-centric manner will allow you to move more flexibly later in the project as it will indicate design value upfront, giving the team time to begin to see how design will allow them to accomplish their goals in a way that continues to keep users happy.

There are several avenues by which this could be done but one quick and time efficient way to get everyone on board is to conduct a short UX workshop. The purpose of this exercise will be to generate small results within a short period of time, to demonstrate the value of various UX processes.

Lets examine how a simple two session workshop can allow you to accomplish this.

PART 1 - ENGAGEMENT & DISCOVERY

To begin the process of alignment its important to introduce key concepts that will allow the team to begin to understand the UX design process, while gathering around a main goal. Having the whole team attend a group session like this will allow full visibility into the coming process and will allow for a space within which learning and understanding can begin.

To set this session up, organize a series of exercises built around the UX process. Pick 2-3 exercises you would perform as a designer and incorporate them into group activities that can be performed on the day. Some ideas could include a persona creation exercise, a simple journey mapping and perhaps a basic screen layout exercise. Use these exercises to supplement a main goal for the redesign, which you will outline at the start of your session with the team.

With each exercise, explain the concept in simple terms, outlining the objective of the work that is being done. Follow this up by including some basic questions that lead the group towards answering in a way that is functional to the exercise. End this instructional segment by explaining what will happen next, once the exercise is complete - what will be created from the information generated or where will this lead the project.

A sample of this activity arrangement can be found below:


 

End the first day of your workshop by explaining how this was a day of information gathering. You were helping the team rally around a main goal and using a series of exercises to support information gathering around that goal. The team is therefore becoming more aligned around the key objectives of the design and is learning about the importance of the UX process in achieving this goal.

PART 2 - FIRST RESULTS & THE ROAD AHEAD

The second day of your workshop should centre around providing simple deliverables based on the information gathered on the previous day. Depending on the exercises conducted you want to provide a few assets that align with that work and demonstrate a cohesion of the ideas generated. In this way you are giving the team an understanding of how a picture can begin to be formed for their redesign initiative. A sample of how the results of each phase could be presented is shown below:

 

Discuss what you have begun to create and incorporate elements of education into how these are iterative processes that you will continue to perform during the redesign process, each time further refining your outputs. Simple notes about how this can also add overall business value will allow for further buy-in by the team and will encourage a design positive experience.

CONCLUSION

Creating a big picture workshop will allow you to engage your team in a way that they can begin to appreciate what the design process is and how it can help them and the project along. Showing quick results through simple exercises will indicate the efficiency of your process and provide visibility into the importance of each phase in the process. Overall, having a full team onboard with your work as well as onboard with the overall project goal will ensure a streamlined project flow that should generate positive results in time.

 

Measures for Success II