"If you can do that faster than your competitors, then your competitors can never figure out exactly what you're going to do next”

Adrian Cockcroft, director of architecture for the cloud systems team at Netflix

Bringing digital products to the market is a complex endeavour, requiring many steps, experts and skills. Working with all the TX Markets companies, PUX experiences all kinds of team setups and agile frameworks. One of the things that is keeping us busy is how to improve our UX process so it is in line with the companies we work with. Here are some of our insights and best practices observed on the field.

(Source : Christopher Webb - LAST Conference 2016 Agile Landscape - https://www.slideshare.net/ChrisWebb6/last-conference-2016-agile-landscape-presentation-v1)

Why should you invest time in thinking about your product development process?

Having an effective product strategy and product development process is proven to have a positive impact on different areas of a company: customer satisfaction, competitivity, employee engagement, and operational and financial performance. 

UX and agile: clash or marriage?

Designers and researchers working in agile are always facing a dilemma to solve: “Is it possible to fit our research and design process into a 2 weeks sprint?”. 

The key of successful companies is to discover first what is the right problem to solve and then find possible solutions for it. For non-UX-experts, this step can feel unnecessary or as a waste of time. However, it’s where you can unlock opportunities to make your customers happy, differentiate yourself, and reduce the risks of investing too much money into something that might not add enough value. 

So yes, we could fit quick design and user testing in a two week sprint. But this also would easily lead to missing out on valuable insights into the real problem and solution opportunities. You’re likely to only validate the functionality of a solution rather than exploring the real value.

At PUX, we are constantly looking into new frameworks to de-risk product ideas, by including research (to inform product decisions) and design at the right (early) moment with the right effort. Some examples on how we’ve included UX into the product development cycle are: structuring research questions, sizing initiatives to include both strategic and tactical UX design and research, prioritizing and planning considering the estimated impact and uncertainties/risks.

Examples of TX Markets’ companies’ product processes  

Car For You: Cross-functional teams are structured by user’s segments and work together to shape their initiatives for the new quarter in what is called the “Sprint 0” (2-3 weeks at the end of each quarter). During that sprint, the OKRs are defined and initiatives are shaped iteratively. The quarter is kicked off with the Big Room Planning. All the initiatives are shared in a product and a UX roadmap and refined in form of epics and users stories. The ones that need more exploration are labeled by “discovery”, the rest goes into “delivery”. Developers’ tickets are shaped in small sizes so to speed up the process and deliver faster. 

This setup has led to a significant increase in number of initiatives implemented compared to previous years.

Ricardo: Similarly to Car For You, Ricardo has a preparation phase to the 6-weeks product cycle, called “Rolling Strategy Process”: OKRs are reviewed and insights (research and data) are used to inform new initiatives. Each of the topic teams can pitch ideas and the ones selected will be included in the roadmap. The 2-day OKR festival is where cross-functional teams refine and plan their initiatives, and find allies and experts to be involved in order to deliver them. A 6-weeks product cycle with 2-weeks sprints follows. Bigger initiatives that require more preparation are worked in the discovery track. Scrum ceremonies keep the pace of sprints and the level of communication high.

Learnings & best practices for successful product processes

  1. There is no perfect process framework: in UX and product, as for development, you never implement by the book. Flexibility and personalization of your process are necessary to react quickly to market changes. 
  2. Inform your product roadmap with user insights: using data analytics and research helps to remove the biases and avoid working on the wrong things. Make time for it!
  3. Focus on a few high level goals per product cycle: setting unrealistic expectations doesn’t help to have impact. It’s better to select a few highly promising goals or OKRs and a clear vision everybody can be engaged and focused towards.
  4. Cross-functional product teams who own the initiatives are more motivated, quicker and effective. Everybody is responsible for the User Experience!
  5. Operations should be managed to allow specialists to do focused work (DesignOps, DevOps). A full-stack Design System improves speed in production and “building the thing right”.

Marta Andreoni, Design Chapter Lead at PUX.
More on “UX Processes & best practices”: HERE 

In the monthly Product and UX letter the PUX team shares insights about projects, interviews with product gurus and personal anecdotes inside and outside the TX group:

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