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Plan CCD and Agile

CCD and Agile

By Jake Causby

CCD and Agile methodologies give us helpful processes that allow us to keep the customer at the centre of the design process, and deliver value to the customer regularly in a predictable timeframe.

Customer Centred Design (CCD)

CCD is about keeping the customer at the centre of the design process. This means the design is based on an explicit understanding of the customer, their problems and what they are trying to achieve. We gain this understanding through research, we define the problem space, we create a hypothesis, explore many ways of solving the problem and converge on the right solution, validating our assumptions at every step. The Double Diamond design process model, developed by the Design Council (UK), illustrates this. See figure 1.

Double Diamond diagram

Figure 1: Within the CCD design process the CX team creates artefacts that help focus on the customer and their situation. Personas, scenarios, journey maps all help tell the current story and allow us to design the ideal state.

Agile

Agile is a process methodology. At its core, the manifesto states:

  • Individuals and interactions over Processes and tools
  • Working software over Comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over Following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Essentially within the bank, we use the SAFe methodology; “Scaled Agile Framework”. It’s not Agile in its purest sense, but still a useful process of breaking things down into measurable blocks of work so we can try to predict how long it might take to deliver a feature, or set of features, and how much these features might cost.

As an organisation focused on service, we need to make sure we’re constantly updating our understanding of the customer, their needs and wants and fears, at the same time as delivering working digital solutions to the customers through executional UX design inside the Agile framework. Our Strategic Design team currently works with stakeholders to identify opportunities and create business cases on a page, known internally as DVF canvasses (desirability, viability and feasibility) before initiatives are entered into the backlog where they will then be picked up by designers on the Agile Train to complete the detailed design.

The important thing to remember with CCD is that ideas are just ideas. They may sound like great ideas, but the truth is, sometimes we spend millions of dollars implementing great ideas that customers never use. CCD and Agile methodologies give us helpful processes that allow us to keep the customer at the centre of the design process, and deliver value to the customer regularly in a predictable timeframe.

Agile works best when you have complete alignment between the Product Manager/Owner, Lead Designer and Tech Lead. Each influencing each other to make decisions collaboratively.

Within the Experience Design team at Westpac Digital, we use a combination of CCD, Agile and Lean to apply our own design process:

Capture Create Deliver

Figure 2: CCD and Agile work hand-in-hand with the Lean methodology, which encourages a test and learn mindset to make sure we’re always validating our hypotheses and building what we know the customer wants to minimise waste.