Designer’s Field Guide

How Product Development Works Best

When design, business and technology define product strategy together as partners, success is a certain outcome.

Photo by Jens Behrmann on Unsplash

First of all, my definition of product development working:

1. Build great products

2. Everyone involved has fun doing it.

How do you do this?

A partnership of business, design and engineering.

The partnership has 2 rules:

A partner can require either an outcome or a schedule from another partner. One or the other, never both at the same time.

A partner may not ever, under any circumstances, require a process of another partner.

The partners collaborate on the product like this:

Business owns the value model.

Design owns the interaction model.

Engineering owns the data model.

Everyone owns the object model.*

*I explain these models in Designing Digital Products with Mental Models.

Each production cycle, the partners pass the initiative from one to another in the same order every time:

Design drives discovery & planning.

Business drives scheduling & priority.

Engineering drives production & quality.

Picture it like this:

Or, as a function of time, like this:

Once the partnership is rolling, you monitor performance like this:

Each partner creates a performance metric against which he expects to be held accountable by the other partners.

Together, the partners create a performance metric against which they expect to be held accountable by those who depend upon the success of the partnership.

That is how product development works best.

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models, methods and patterns used by the effective designer

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Tim Sheiner

Tim Sheiner

System thinker, story teller, designer, husband, father of 3, San Franciscan, Bernal Heights neighbor

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