Design Thinking, Scrum and the bottom line!

That methodology came up again recently which made me revisit its spirit.

In less than 6 minutes, what am I talking about?

Agility and agility. That word is so much used, that it has almost lost its meaning. Almost labelled as a buzz word with no substance, a shame, but it should not be a lost cause!

Jennifer Kint has her stand on the two most buzzing method nowadays: Scrum and Design Thinking. Scrum was itself developed to build software. Design Thinking is from a Standford Professor: David Keller and was there to help the design process. Design thinking pays attention to the -human- context. What I like from Design Thinking and that I had forgotten are the method’s attributes.

– The human rule, which states that all design activity is ultimately social in nature, and any social innovation will bring us back to the ‘human-centric point of view’.
– The ambiguity rule, in which design thinkers must preserve ambiguity by experimenting at the limits of their knowledge and ability, enabling the freedom to see things differently.
– The re-design rule, where all design is re-design; this comes as a result of changing technology and social circumstances but previously solved, unchanged human needs.
– The tangibility rule; the concept that making ideas tangible always facilitates communication and allows designers to treat prototypes as ‘communication media’.

Design thinking steps:

Any method has its pros and cons. Any agile one has the following cons:

  • You need people convinced by the method. The leader must understand the common pitfalls like: too many iterations can mean meaningless ones. No lock down of the iteration objectives as anyway… there will be one more iteration.
  • Decisions taken without the right competencies or on the fly and resulting in bad coding or affecting dependencies.
  • And you probably have to decide what needs to be “sprint-ed” and what should not be. Yes… everything cannot be “sprint-ed”!

Finally, Design Thinking allows a lot of time to prototype and try. Scrum is into the implementation of earlier decisions.
The current need for organization to reinvent themselves, to use the latest recognized methodology, to use the right people at the right place for -hopefully- developing innovative products or services is urgent.
It is therefore utterly important to make sure that any related or associated process (PMO, Finance, Decision making, etc.) is as lean as possible too. Yes, I would bet that the ecosystem of processes or activities that supply the build of new services MUST be agile TOO.
Otherwise, you will quickly realize that agile… will not be, well, very agile in some situations!

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