Design Thinking is a concept where practitioners in different disciplines – programmers, application architects, etc. – leverage the approach of the designer. Software development teams are increasingly using this technique to build applications better meeting the needs of the end-user.
Additionally, learning this skill offers a nice boost to any IT professional’s résumé – whether a technologist or project manager. So let’s look more closely at Design Thinking and its applications for improving the software development process. Understanding these concepts helps create better applications as well as better careers.
Fostering Empathy with the End User
Developing a full understanding of an application’s user base lies at the core of Design Thinking in software development. Keen observation and fostering empathy with the users’ needs are the keys. It is important for software architects and developers to ask the right questions to ensure the right design gets built.
The Five Phases of Design Thinking
Design Thinking for software development typically involves five discreet phases. They are as follows:
- Empathize – with the application’s users.
- Define – the users’ needs, the problem the application solves, and the development team’s insights.
- Ideate – including challenging all assumptions while brainstorming innovative solution ideas.
- Prototype – begin building parts of the application.
- Test – both development and end-user testing of the solution components.
As you can see Design Thinking potentially follows an iterative process that lends itself nicely to companies using the Agile software development methodology. Its concepts are also able to be modified to work with older methodologies like the Waterfall. Still, many of the development organizations using it also follow Agile and DevOps.
Additionally, teams are also able to execute the phases in parallel or even change their order. The important part is to not fall into ingrained and inflexible patterns of thought. The venerable saying “thinking outside the box” definitely applies in this case.
Design Thinking is Good for your Career
Learning about Design Thinking and actually working on a few projects that using its concepts is good for your career. Software development firms, especially Agile shops, are finding it essential for creating applications that truly meet the needs of the user. No matter your role in IT, experience in this area definitely looks good as part of your work history.
Are you looking to take the next step in your career?
When you need additional advice on thriving in a constantly changing IT industry, talk to the experts at The CERES Group. As one of the top technology staffing agencies in New England, we can help take your career to an even higher level. Contact us today or search for current jobs here!