Next time. Next time we will do it right.
Imagine a product manager calls in a design team to create something new. Nowadays the team would say: ”Fantastic – let’s start with finding out what users really care of and need.“ The product manager will answer: „Great, how long will that take.“ ”Preparing the research takes one week. Second week observing and gathering all input. Destill findlings, another week. So about 3 weeks.“ This estimation mostly leads to a ”Sorry. We do not have the time or budget for this. I think you are right to understand the customer. But we are already behind schedule.“
Is there a solution?
My experiences so far keeps me pessimistic. I believe a good way is to build trust and make design competence more fluent — I mean the product manager design competence. Also helping is, to do customer research in the field always and separated from the product development team. So reccomendations can already be given with the start of a new product. Also a cross functional team is of big importance. Having all disciplines covered by representatives in product teams will save time. All requirements and viewpoints can be understood by all participants and creative solutions will fit most of the issues.
All I really know is: ”Next time“ will never come. As designer I need to be aware of this. I need to keep flexible, try to do little steps, gather user input on the way and work in smaller iterations – constantly giving back feedback to stakeholders and the team.