How to Master Design Thinking in Application Lifecycle Management

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Design Thinking in Application Lifecycle Management

Design Thinking is taking its place in the IT leaders’ everyday vocabulary. Until recently this approach was strictly associated with industrial design. However, as user experience (UX) is becoming a central concern for many enterprises Design Thinking has been turned into the main focus and intent.

Design Thinking is used to find out the right question and answering it. Basically, nowadays this approach is considered as a strategic method. It can be applied at any stage of the Application Lifecycle Management. Before taking a deep dive, let’s summarize the core details regarding Design Thinking.

Design Thinking Approach: Key Observations                               

Design Thinking is divided into five steps:

  1. Empathy
  2. Definition
  3. Ideation
  4. Prototyping
  5. Validation.

Design Thinking approach ensures smooth and regular communication between the software development team and a customer throughout the whole project/lifecycle. Some studies highlight that the average user satisfaction along with the quality of software significantly increases after implementing Design Thinking.

It states a strong call for a healthy and empathetic corporate culture in the development team. Of course, prototyping is among the core stages of the whole process, but the initial research is an integral part. It is oftentimes used synonymously to human-centered design. Thanks to its interactive and forecasting nature, Design Thinking ensures the most convenient and efficient user experience possible across the entire application lifecycle.

Applying Design Thinking to Improve ALM

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is mostly used as an umbrella term that encompasses requirements management, computer programming, software testing and maintenance, project management and customer support. It helps to integrate teams and collaboratively define requirements and plan sprints.

ALM continues after software development until the application is no longer in use.  Thus, there are several different ways to apply a design thinking approach to the application development lifecycle.

According to the Design Thinking method, the first phase of application development is to put yourself in the user’s shoes (Empathy). This includes gathering key data and defining requirements. Then Design Thinking emphasizes rapid prototyping before moving to the actual mockup development. Applying human-centered design correctly cuts the chances to develop the wrong products. Therefore, it leads to more agile application development.

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Benefits of Design Thinking in ALM

Neither Design Thinking, nor application lifecycle management is new to the companies. However, it is a matter of how well enterprises can combine them for their future success. Companies should encourage their teams to not only collaboratively work on requirements and sprints but to share a common understanding about their customers as well. Eventually, there are many benefits of applying Design Thinking approach:

  • It can be applied company-wide. The great thing about the Design Thinking approach is that it fits perfectly not only for designers but also encourages cross-team collaborations. It can be applied to any industry which is basically the main goal of Application Lifecycle Management.
  • It significantly reduces time-to-market. As a solution-focused approach; Design Thinking cuts time spent on design and development especially when combined with agile and lean approaches.
  • Encourages innovation-driven culture. Design Thinking fosters to challenge common assumptions and established beliefs. It makes everyone in the application development chain think outside the box which eventually leads to innovations.
  • It raises customer retention rates and loyalty. Not only does it positively affect ROI (rise up to 300% according to IBM), but also ensures a human-centric approach to boost long-term user engagement.

Takeaways for a Better Application Lifecycle Management

Design Thinking can significantly improve the overall application lifecycle management. Not only is it useful at the initial stage of product design and development but also it brings many benefits to cross-functional teams during further improvement. To sum up, there are a few Design Thinking practices that everybody can follow to improve their ALM:

  • Constantly learn your costumers.
  • Define your principles and values.
  • Look for common patterns in the data.
  • Repeat constantly.
  • Always prototype and test.
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Mariia Volianyk is a B2B marketing specialist at devabit. She is keen on the latest technologies, IT outsourcing projects and international business processes.

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