Why so few organizations have mastered these Design Thinking processes yet?
If these Human Centric Requirements and applications of Design Thinking to project management so powerful, how come the PMI has not yet included these tools and techniques into the PMBOK guide and so many companies are still unaware of them?
There are two reasons: organizational and political.
Human Centric Design is not new and Apple, Google and other mega successful companies have been quietly applying these processes to requirements management for years now. But for a lot of enterprises, these powerful tools are still kept confined in Web Design areas and only for their externally facing sites and apps.
In my recent webinar presented on ProjectManagement.com we introduced five levels of corporate design mastery. Basically, if you look at companies like Capital One who invested millions of dollars in acquiring leading design firms, so far they have only achieved a small fraction of potential ROI, because they have only been using this talent around Web Design and only on projects for their externally facing sites and apps. The business logic components of these apps are still being designed the old way and so are the countless other sites and apps they're using internally to conduct business.
That said, teams around the world are waking up to these methods and a lot of BAs are now trying to apply these tools in their daily work... And a lot of things are NOT working because people are taking a simplistic, mechanical approach.
Here's an example. A BA red an awesome article written by an interaction designer, teaching them to use wireframes for communicating ideas with stakeholders. He tried that and saying that UI team is not allowing him to show these to a client out of a fear that they may not be complete!
But wasn't that just a better way to present ideas, not commitments?
So you can't just sprinkle these tools in organizations like magic dust and expect them to transform your processes. You start with implementing processes and then see better outcomes, better apps built or procured, lower budgets, better benefits realizations.
And that brings us to the second reason why the industry is taking that long to catch on:
Scope and direction are the most critical component of any business requirements. Getting them just right creates most dramatic savings and biggest improvements that these Design Thinking processes could possibly achieve.
Most stakeholders formulate requirements in a form of solutions. These initial solutions may not be the most optimal and complete, so Design Thinking is calling for 'stepping back' and discovering business goals behind these requirements, then re-designing and validating solutions.
So a lot of people are doing it wrong. They try to challenge authority and get into all types of political traps and get themselves in trouble.
Done right, these processes do not require challenging of anyone's authority and there's no need to disrupt anything.
Instead of saying that your business sponsor is wrong and the goal will never be achieved or that their solution will not work (or embarking on a suicide mission to implement it), asking why was it important to achieve those goals turns a conversation down a much more productive path.
In my recent article on CIO.com I'm providing a practical five point checklist to see if your BA is doing their job or if they're adding to your risk charter.
Would love to see your thoughts in the comments area below. And if you have any questions or comments - don't hesitate to send me a message.