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Design Thinking and Agile

Human-centered! It is the key factor for both design thinking and the agile approach. But the trick question is “How is it possible to combine them and draw an efficient picture?”

It is better to remember that Design Thinking does not mean “Design-focused thinking”. We always put the user at the centre; that’s why you should call it “User-focused design thinking”.

If we look at the history of Design Thinking, we will see that it dates back to the 1970s and after a while, the agile approach came into our lives. We started to create scrum teams and run sprints.

In the beginning, they seemed so different but one key focus was the same! It looks like they can serve each other.

It’s possible to use Design Thinking for different aims: generating completely different ideas, creating new ideas on existing processes and more. You can change your personas, you can change your questions and change your methods during your workshops and get extraordinary results.

Take the successful growth of Getir as an example — we are disseminating the agile mindset inside the company day by day and while doing this, it is obvious that we should strengthen our hand by putting the users at the centre, understanding their needs and creating real value for them. To create this value, Design Thinking comes to mind.

“How can we create this value without missing our Time to Market?”

It’s a tricky question because every company has their road maps; you probably have lots of bugs, tasks, features to burn through in your backlog, but your backlog is LIVE! You should feed it, love it and take care of it :) Your product owners should also feed themselves considering the user and business needs.

There are several ways of implementing Design Thinking into your current scrum as you can see in the literature including blogs and articles. The company should focus on the most suitable one for its dynamics and health. In my opinion, that can be an enrichment of your current backlog for your product or generate completely new ideas and products.

It would be good practice not to spoil the nature of your scrum structure if you’re using Design Thinking to explore new features for your current product and backlog. It’s possible to determine a period of design thinking workshops and collect the new ideas. Then you can combine the stakeholders’ feedback and outputs of the design thinking workshop at the same time. In this way, you can upgrade your product or prototype.

We know the stages of the Design Thinking process as you can see in the picture. The “empathise” stage is really important to shape your direction. To understand the user deeply, you’re asking questions from the general to the specific. At this stage, it’s significant to consider your aim and be well-prepared for the interview. If you want to focus the user on your product, you shouldn’t ask directly about your product, you should focus on the experience that the user lives or process of using something. In this way, it’s possible to lead the concept by generating completely different ideas or generating new features for your current product. After that, you will follow your remaining steps of Design Thinking.

If you did this to richen your backlog, it’s time to evaluate the test results of your prototype and transfer this knowledge into your backlog to see your real minimum viable product.

As you can see all the ways are possible to implement! The challenge is to determine your way, considering your own needs. Good luck!



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