Impatience and excitement are usually the culprits that keep you from designing processes before products.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. Everyone’s excited about a new product or solution that just got the green light. Engineers and designers jump head first into product design, all with well-meaning intentions. But jumping the gun on product design can result in a solution that offers a great value proposition but misses the mark on its implementation.
To ensure the customer implementation of the solution delivers the “as-marketed” value, there’s one critical step that should precede product design.
Imagine a GPS app for a smartphone that requires manual entry of your starting point. It’s unacceptable because the design didn’t take into account the typical scenarios or events that prompt a consumer to go from point A to point B.
Take that simple consumer GPS example into a B2B transportation company and the complexity grows because it encompasses business objectives beyond the preference of the driver. Wait time in traffic, overall travel time for a multi-stop route, fuel consumption, vehicle wear and tear, customer SLAs and other criteria have to be considered to support the goals of a transportation company.
The above example illustrates why product design shouldn’t begin without first mapping out the overall business process itself, the upstream events that trigger a process and the downstream processes impacted after the fact. A big picture illustration of the procedural workflow is a design team’s best friend because it helps them create the ideal solution and make conscious decisions on the technical implementation when time, people, scope and technology parameters are considered.
A thorough procedural design up front not only results in solutions that hit the bull’s-eye, it mitigates scope creep and saves a mountain of cycles during functional design, technical design, development, testing and ultimately customer implementation and support. It’s an exercise in patience on the front end that pays enormous dividends on the back end, especially when the customer benefits meet or exceed the as-marketed value of the solution.