min read
August 24, 2015

The Agile Design Process: Why This Helps Quality and Speed for Traditional Companies

Digital Strategy

Too often, traditional enterprises let their allegiance to a rigid chain-of-command prevent them from keeping up with their smaller, more agile competitors. How do you focus all the resources of a major company with all the speed of a startup to get the best of both worlds?When you’re creating digital products, whether it’s a new app, an advanced e-reader, or the latest software, it’s important that you deliver it quickly. After all, digital is an intensely competitive space and delaying your release by even a week could give a competitor the opportunity to steal your thunder.To avoid being undercut, larger companies with unwieldy hierarchies tend to place all their emphasis on time constraints, putting definitive due dates on every aspect of the development process, including design. But despite this focus on time, these projects still tend to experience delays, and the products that represent the end result are often flawed.So how do smaller, digitally-based companies release higher-quality products so quickly? Through agile digital design, a practice that traditional enterprises must adopt in order to avoid getting left in the digital dust.

Breaking the Gates

Traditional companies tend to think of design as small part of the overall product development process -- a task that’s usually completed in one iteration and never reopened again. When working on a product with a traditional enterprise, your first step should be coaching team members on the agile digital design process. A solid design may go through multiple iterations before you proceed to the next stage -- if you don’t want your client to worry every time you have to take a small step back, it’s best to give them all the information they need about how your process works.Once the client understands that good design comes as a result of fine-tuning and not a series of rigid prerequisites, the next crucial step is to ensure effective collaboration. This is best achieved with a constructive, collaborative tool that allows for constant updates, removing any possible roadblocks from the design process in each iteration.

Agile Design, Better Development

Of course, design is never agile simply for the sake of being agile -- it also allows for better development, which ultimately means a faster turnaround of a higher-quality product. As the timeline ramps up, so will new iterations of the design, providing the client with frequent, encouraging updates on the overall process.These updates are great for traditional companies, which usually don’t see a thing for at least a few weeks (or even months) after giving the development team a set of requirements along with the greenlight. The agile design process provides the head designer with constant oversight, allowing them to react quickly when requirements change, respond to feedback, and keep the project on track.Centric Digital employs leveraging tools like InVision to coordinate the agile digital design process with more traditional clients. Tools like these allow for very open collaboration between the internal and external teams, which ensures that no essential requirements or potential bugs get lost in the shuffle.Transparency is key to achieving the needs of traditional companies without getting bogged down by their highly-structured, waterfall methodologies. As counterintuitive as it might seem, the truth is that that quick and effective product design requires a willingness to revisit that design over and over again. If you coach the client on agile design, show them continuous updates within iterations, and provide open channels of communication, they’ll quickly break with tradition and embrace a brighter, digital future.

Centric Digital