Ive discussed in no-handoff how all phases needs to be integrated into the development lifecycle, and not have certain teams simply act in an advisory role, or lob work ‘over the fence’ to another team. For example security teams may traditionally be involved in planning at the beggining, and then testing at the very end, but uninvolved during the bulk of development. The same goes for design. In this post I want to discuss how the no-handoff method addresses the ‘design divide’ and how project management/UX integrates design into the project as a whole.
An integrated no-handoff model places UX in the project manager role and leverages their user-behaviour focus throughout the entire life cycle of the project. UX needs to take into account design from not only a visual perspective but from user behaviour and development criteria perspectives as well. An example of this is setting “design” as a shared project goalpost instead of a stand alone team. Also, banishing the word ‘design’ from the project lexicon and replacing it with user-behaviour centered vocabulary that hold meaning for all teams.
Instead of focusing a UI specialist on a specific set of visual requirements that are more reactionary and possibly downright counterproductive, the UX/project manager specifically looks into areas where UI specialists can be proactive in their approach to accomplishing all shared goals (design is one among many) using their particular UI toolkit and expertise. Instead of simply reacting to guidance, UI innovators can develop strategies that anticipate future user behaviour and contribute to the best end user experience.
If one of the results of our standard project models is inadequate integration of visual and development roles then the shared mental models underpinning our work must also be inadequate. The no-handoff method proposes a new mental model of shared goalposts for all disciplines. Design is an important goalpost, one among many. Each discipline has a toolkit and expertise that is essential to reaching these goalposts. The no-handoff methos creates the space for individual disciplines to innovate and cross-pollinate ideas on a shared and integrated journey.
Design is not a team. Design is not skinning. Design doesnt happen at the end of a project. And design is not someone else’s job. Great design is developed as a response to user pain. Organizations that are user-behavior focused and want to achieve great design need to innovate by integrating it as a shared goalpost for the entire project team and development cycle.