BONUS: What CEO’s need to know about Design with Audrey Crane

In this episode, we explore what is design, and why you should be deliberate about helping teams, and organizations invest in the design of their products and services.

Every product is designed. Design is an integral part of the product development process. Your customers perceive it when they interact with your product, so the question is: how deliberate are you at creating the experience your customers have when they interact with your product and/or service?

Read more to learn what were the key takeaways from this episode, while you listen to the show.

Critical design questions your team should be asking

When we set out to develop a product, we have a user experience in mind. How deliberate are our teams at crafting the customer experience? And how closely do customer experiences map to the intention the Product Owner and team have when producing the product? 

Design can have a positive impact on the team, and the organization, how are you assessing that impact (or lack of it)?

Finally, Audrey asks: what is your experience/design feedback loop? What have you done as a team to learn about the impact of your design choices? 

In this segment, we refer to the book The Inmates Are Running The Asylum by Alan Cooper.

Setting up your organization for quality design

The design aspects of your product won’t happen without some careful consideration of what is the best way to organize so that your teams deliberately tackle the design of your product. In this segment, we explore what is the appropriate ratio of designer per engineer. We also discuss the idea of Return On Investment for the design work.

The most common problems when design activities are missing

When teams don’t have design skills or don’t plan-in design activities they will often be stuck with decisions that aren’t made (or accidentally made). In this segment, Audrey refers to an example where a team discusses for a long period of time whether to use a check-box or radio button for a particular functionality. This is only one type of question that often creates confusion, and can be made quicker and more impactfully when the team is given the design skills they need. 

Another common anti-pattern is when CEOs hire graphic designers and think that “the design question is now solved”. We discuss why that’s not so, and the importance of understanding what design skills are needed in the team/organization.

Finally, we talk about how teams and designers should cooperate over the life-time of a product. It’s not enough to have designers, they must be part of the team from beginning to end of a product development process, so that we avoid big changes in the middle of the project, and continuously craft the customer experience we want our customers to have.

Resources for future study

At the end of this episode, we discuss some of the resources to help you get up to speed and learn more about the importance of the design activities in a product development process. We refer to: 

About Audrey Crane

Audrey is the author of a recent book called: What CEO’s need to know about Design.

She is a Partner at DesignMap, a product strategy and design firm in San Francisco that focuses on designing complex enterprise products for industry leaders like Docker, Salesforce, Bloomberg, eBay, and Cisco. Audrey is a veteran design leader who started working in high tech more than 20 years ago and can trace much of her success back to the early days at Netscape, working with folks like Marty Cagan and Hugh Dubberly.

You can link with Audrey Crane onLinkedIn and connect with Audrey Crane on Twitter.

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