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5 Popular Types of Design Methodologies You Should Know

Dawid Pacholczyk 3622ceab56

14/10/2021 |

6 min read

Dawid Pacholczyk

Design methodologies is a term that may sound a little vague but if we summon up things like Lean Startup, or Design Sprint approaches, everything becomes much clearer. Of course, there are many more items on the product development methodologies list. Using each one of them may be very beneficial for developers and save the day or, at least, a lot of time, money, and effort.

Increased efficiency and team members’ motivation as well as providing better products and more reliable software may be in the cards. But of course, the devil is in the details, and it’s necessary to know all the intricacies, pros and cons, highlights, and downsizes of all those design methodologies before deciding to choose one of them for your project. Also, knowing the use cases of particular methods may be crucial to assess things right.


Table of contents:

1. Design methodologies – top 2021 trends

2. 5 design methodologies you should know

3. How to choose the right design methodology for your project?

Design methodologies – top 2021 trends

Design Methodology ideas and developing digital products are what go hand in hand together very well. In the extremely competitive IT market, nothing should be left to chance, and selecting the right approach, philosophy or model, can tip the scales and make a given application, tool, or solution stand out, and in a good way. Moreover, they can make a business, especially a new one, stay afloat or go down. Certainly, being swift, flexible, willing to learn new things, and adapt to changing circumstances is on top of everything else.

For this reason, what’s still on track and very much up-to-date in terms of the product design process are solutions that are flexible, agile, and based on feedback and time-boxed iterations. All those can make digital product design more efficient, speedy, and aligned to the ever-changing circumstances of the hasty times we are living in. Whatever happens within or outside the project, it’s good to be able to change the course of action accordingly.

For those reasons, along with those product design approaches, Agile methodologies or Waterfall methodology for project management may be used once you decide which products or solutions to develop.

5 design methodologies you should know

Among a plethora of project management tools and solutions available, there are some we should pay special attention to. What do those design methodologies look like in detail? Let’s see.


1. Design Sprint methodology

Reducing risk before a new product hits the market or a new feature is introduced is more than welcome in virtually any industry. And this is when Design Sprint comes into play, offering a five-phase process encompassing stages like Understand, Diverge, Converge, Prototype, and Test. Interestingly, this method of addressing strategic issues draws upon both design thinking and Agile methodologies – and time-boxed sprints as for the latter. Within the cycle, a high-fidelity interactive prototype gets tested by real users. The bottom line is that guesswork is eliminated and you may find out within a few days, and not months, if the product in question is worth developing, or not.


2. Lean Startup methodology

Eliminating uncertainty startups inevitably have to deal with is a hallmark of another design methodology – Lean Startup. It was born out of the willingness to engineer the startup success, by following the process suggested. It all started in the year 2011 when the book „The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries was published. But it was based on the author’s experience and failure to succeed with launching a new start-up enterprise. This led him to the conclusion that more emphasis should be put on understanding the needs of prospective customers, and not on the act of product launch – one that people may actually don’t want – per se. Moreover, by testing their visions continuously, new businesses may choose order instead of chaos.


3. Product discovery

This approach also puts attention to the greater importance of things like preparatory and preliminary actions and continuous learning about users. Researching and validating ideas upfront may be the new enterprise’s salvation. In short, users’ true needs or problems should be identified first, and next, solutions to them should be designed, developed, and delivered collaboratively. Not the other way round. Product discovery is to weaken risks involved that concern value, usability, feasibility, and business viability, and risk management, in fact, is product management.


4. Wizard of Oz prototyping

Trying to figure out what customers might think about given products is in the center of the Wizard of Oz (WOZ) prototyping. This method involves some role-playing with the use of a prototype test – a physical product or working model. There are two roles to be filled – of an end-user and the person that is to enact the completed product’s performance. The motive behind those actions – which can only take one hour in some cases – is to test functionalities before they exist and find out which ones are necessary.


5. Concierge testing

This down-to-earth methodology is about immersing into potential customers’ natural environment (like shops or cafes) for gathering their insights on hypothetical products. Participants’ answers to directly asked questions as well as their emotional responses are collected. Concierge testing is sometimes confused with WOZ but the difference between them is that the former is designed for generating ideas, and the latter – for testing hypotheses.

How to choose the right design methodology for your project?

Because three out of four startups fail, their originators need to thread carefully from the very beginning of their ways. Design methodologies may be very helpful not only in avoiding the disaster but also in shaping the future right. They may be proper both before launching a new product or service and in the next phases of the company’s existence when new features or functionalities are considered. If design methodologies are chosen well, they may obviously tip the scales in the world of similar companies offering similar apps or services.

Developing digital products is something that requires being flexible on one hand and firm support on the other. And the latter can take the form of an efficient product design methodology. And choosing the right one can simply make your project flourish or turn it into a failure.

A properly selected design method can make it or break it in the case of the majority of tech products’ development. During a decision making process, it’s good for a product designer to pay attention to the methods’ objectives, conditions, and use cases. But, first and foremost, it’s crucial to get to know all the ins and outs, benefits, and restrictions of using particular design methodologies.

And you, which type of design methodologies in software development do you find the most proper for start-ups? Which kind is the most versatile and useful for product designers? Which methodologies are trending in the year 2021?

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Dawid Pacholczyk 3622ceab56

Dawid Pacholczyk

Consulting Manager at Codete with over 15 years of experience in the IT sector and a strong technical background. Seasoned in working with multinational companies. Ph.D. student and lecturer at Polish-Japanese Academy of IT, focused on software architecture, software development and management.

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