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.
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.