Delft Design Guide: Staging Design Activity

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Delft Design Guide: Staging Design Activity

  1. 1. STAGING DESIGN ACTIVITY When staging your project, the aim is to come up with an approach that fits your goal and ambitions, the resources that are available and the interests and expectations of your stakeholders. In the Delft Design Guide we present a large variety of methods that you will find useful, both as a student and later as a practitioner. We hope that you will use the guide as a source and reference during and after your education and that over time you will develop and expand your repertoire of ways to approach designing products and services. One of the main purposes of the Delft Design Guide is to provide you with resources that you can use to stage your projects. By building a rich repertoire of ways to approach design projects, you will be better able to stage different projects in an appropriate and timely manner. Different roles of methods when staging design Methods can play different roles for you and in your project. Obviously, staging is about determining which activities are necessary for coming up with a good design outcome for the specific project you are working on. Methods can help you to do that. For example, when you know you require information about user needs, specific user research methods can give insight into how you could do that. But staging also involves making sure that you can coordinate and manage both your efforts and those of your team. For example, when you work in a team and need to agree on task division and milestones, methods can help to distinguish and define activities. And staging is about making sure that you can justify and account for your efforts to your external stakeholders, for example your client or your design teacher. Last but not least, staging is about creating an overview for yourself and giving you the flexibility to adapt – and experiment with – different approaches as you go along. For example, by mapping your activities onto a process model of product innovation, it becomes easier to ‘position’ yourself in a project and manage your expectations of what things you should be doing now and what things you can leave for later. In this light, methods can help you to design with confidence, spurring you to create valuable and innovative results. When staging your project you should ask yourself three basic questions: 1. Which approach is most likely to help me realise my design goal? In order to answer this question you will need to clarify a number of issues. What is the design goal? What resources are available in terms of time, budget, expertise, infrastructure, etc.? Which stakeholders are supposed to benefit from the outcome of the project? What are their needs, desires and wishes? Who will be working on the project and what are their (combined) skills, attitudes and ambitions? What approach would fit my own background, expertise and ambitions? Based on the answers to these questions, you can start to synthesise an initial approach that fits the project and its circumstances. 2. Given that approach, how can we organise the work that needs to be done? In order to answer this question, you will again need to clarify a number of issues. How can the work be divided amongst the team members? What are the dependencies between the individual activities? Which milestones are necessary? What intermediate results need to be delivered? Which qualities should these intermediate results possess? Based on the answers to these questions, you can adapt and optimise your approach. 3. How can we justify and account for the work to project stakeholders? In order to answer this question, you will need to clarify the following issues: who are the stakeholders that directly influence the project process in terms of resources, support, decision making? What are their interests and needs? What value do the different activities add to the project and outcome? How can the planned efforts be justified beforehand when pitching the project? How can the efforts be justified during the project? What kinds of information and intermediate results can help to elicit buy-in and support from stakeholders to enhance the success of the project? How can the project be justified afterwards? Designing is a complex activity that can take many forms. Therefore, staging your project in an appropriate and timely manner is a prerequisite for developing successful design outcomes. Staging is about planning and preparing for doing the right things, before you start to do those things right. It is sometimes also about rethinking the things you are doing during your project when unexpected things happen. D E L F T D E S I G N G U I D E — 1 3 STAGING A PROJECT ‘How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.’ (Richard Buckminster Fuller)

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