User-centered project Project management

The evolution of Project management has been slow during the years. Hopefully, more and more companies choose the agile way of working and choose lean methods. As most of the projects nowadays have to do with software development, most of the companies choose Scrum. But is it enough? Is it what we need? What is the Scrum focus? Do we put enough focus on where it is needed?

Usually, what is a priority for a Product Owner or Product Manager is what tech stack his team will be using, if they will use cloud or not, and what database software they will choose, but does that adds value to the customers’ life by using our products. This is the wrong approach on our work priorities as product professionals and the reason is that this can help our short-term goals and sprint goals but how much our end products? For example:

If we build an mobile game app and our devs choose Azure for deploying their application this can accommodate our developers to finish their sprint in shorter time. But this choice can add to the final cost of the app from 7$ to 7.50$. Do our end users care about this extra 50 cents? We should always start from the down to the top having in our mind always the impact on the end user.

Do you know what is the biggest company in the world? This is Amazon and this is their mission statement:

Now it makes sense why Amazon has this position. They wanted to be earth’s most customer-centric company. A customer-centered company has different meanings. You can be one by designing products that your customers will need and have good usability or don’t focus that much on the product.

A customer-centered company can be in every aspect. Maybe you don’t design products but you can be in customer service focused. In this article, we will analyze the human center development.  To be a customer-centered a company needs first to be user centered.

User centered design

Human-centered design has as its epicenter the end-user the humans, this is pretty much the focus on agile methods also. However there is a crucial point where agile development should meet human centered design

What is UCD according to Wikipedia:

“User-Centered Design or User-Driven Development is a framework of processes in which usability goals, user characteristics, environment, tasks and workflow of a product, service or process are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process.”

Putting special attention to the last pharse that extensive attention should be given in any phase of the product development is key:

UCD is spending a lot of time in the design phase and plan phase of the product. This doesn’t happen in scrum as they believe that they can take over design and development at the same time. If in one iterations the users don’t like the design they can fix it on the next..

Now, what if you could include developers in the design phase . The developers have to cooperate with the designers and cocreate at the same time with end-users. Developers in this way have to learn and understand what is qualitative feedback and implement it in their code. At the same time, they have to validate the working software with the end-users.

Why you should measure your digital performance

Your product might be good to the extent to what your developers have built, might be acceptable by the end user also, but is it good for the online communities? Online ecosystem? What are the KPI’s to measure customer satisfaction? Usually, this work is being done from a Business analyst, as they wear many hats. These people will always need to test the hypothesis and test the working product in the early stages. These are not the people that will test the functionality of the product, but the ones that will test the performance of the product in the online world. In the real world this is called observation. In the online world is called Netnography

The trap of empathy

Very common in user center design is empathy. This means that when we speak with end-users to understand their needs we should remove our own bias. When we speak with other people though, their own bias can come into play. An example is a dating app.

A question of the type “ would you ever put photos looking younger on your profile to find more matches?” don’t believe that people will give you the most accurate answers. The dating app was an extreme case, but this is the reality in most of cases. People have real needs and latent needs, or better, undiscovered needs. It is an art trying to reveal these needs. Try to think like them. Have empathy and remove your bias but at the same time think like them and understand their background and situation

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *