Integrating Discovery & Delivery with Dual-Track Agile

Nov 8, 2022 | Experience Design

In the past, we kept design constricted to things like a brand or creative strategy. As we’ve seen more and more organizations move toward a design-first approach, the term evolved to refer to a different kind of strategy that ensures we’re building right from a technical perspective.

Design isn’t just about making things pretty. You need to know what you’re building, why you’re building it, and for whom you’re building it for. Designing the right thing means that your product or service solves a problem for people. This solution should also help you achieve your business goals. For example, in a Salesforce Design Medium article, the authors explained, “strategy design is the practice of helping organizations identify opportunities for human-centered innovation and align behind a vision of what to build.”

At Terranox, we work as an Agile team by moving fast, getting feedback, and iterating on the product. We use a process named dual-track agile to ensure that our design assumptions are tested and validated with users before it gets pushed into development. This process means fewer surprises and an experience that serves its users in the best way possible.

What’s Agile development?

Before sharing a peek into our process, let me first explain Agile. Agile is a software development process that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork, and flexibility in the face of changing requirements and priorities. Instead of an extended project plan defined upfront that takes months to complete, we have smaller, bite-sized projects that we can complete in a shorter period. The focus is on getting things done quickly and efficiently rather than taking the time to think through everything before we start working on it. If something happens between now and completion, we can quickly pivot and adjust before it is too late.

Where Discovery and Delivery Meet

Discovery is usually the first stage of a project. It’s where we get to know our clients and understand how we can help them reach their goals. It’s an iterative process that involves observing, interviewing, and testing with real people, which helps us uncover pain points and opportunities to address through our work together. Discovery doesn’t just happen at the beginning of the project. Instead, it’s a continuous learning process leveraged by dual-track agile.

Dual-track agile is a way we keep our team accountable when working on client projects and allows for continuous learning throughout a project. As the name infers, it involves two tracks – discovery and delivery. Discovery accounts for the work we do around design strategy and UX research, and delivery is where development happens. We have team members that naturally gravitate toward the design side and others toward the development side. Still, bridge roles are involved on both tracks to encourage communication and break down “department” silos.

The initial discovery track helps our team shape and prioritize build tasks for the delivery track, which will involve time-boxed sprints where the development team commits to building a set of features and functions within a specific period, for example, one week. By focusing on discovery beforehand and having developers involved early in the process, we’ve mitigated and lessened the risks of rework and feasibility. Moreover, we’ve already tested our assumptions with people users and are at least one sprint ahead of the delivery track. And as I previously mentioned, discovery doesn’t stop there.

Conclusion

Making discovery continuous and dual-track encourages us to always be learning. After a sprint, we might uncover bug fixes and potential new opportunities that would require future exploration. We must address the feedback we get and funnel it back to discovery, and from discovery ton to delivery, ensuring that we’re responding to the constant changes of a project.

If you haven’t worked with an agency that follows the Agile project management process, this might sound foreign to you. While the typical waterfall approach follows sequential steps to manage a project from start to finish with a predefined set of goals and deliverables, Agile’s standard structure involves phases with specific goals and deliverables to allow flexibility in reaching those goals.

It’s essential to find the right balance between structure and flexibility. Still, most importantly, our process helps determine whether or not your product is solving the correct problems for your customers. We’d love to talk more if you’d like to explore our discovery services.

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