Our methodology is a big part of our craft and culture, and sometimes methodologies can be tangible. In our case, it is in the form of open-source software that we like to share with the world. We like to apply best practices such as the service design thinking methodology, as well as test-driven development.
Over the years, we’ve had a lot of experience with applying different approaches to executing projects. Some are more successful than others, and some are better suited for different types of clients.
In the end, we consider a project successful if the result is a qualitative product that lives up to the expectations of the team and the client, built through a collaborative and productive process that allows for flexibility and managing the ‘unknowns’ properly.
The process is often a version of Agile and Scrum, working in a rhythm of 2 to 3-week sprints, in which small product increments are delivered by the team continuously. Depending on the team, client and collaboration structure, the process and team composition might look different.
In order for the process to succeed, a close collaboration with the client is required. The most successful projects are those where our teams work shoulder to shoulder with clients and vice versa. Ultimately, they are part of the same team, delivering the product.
This setting often works best using continuous development methodologies, dedicated development teams, and requires mutual trust in being able to deliver the expected quality on a continuous basis. Delivering a small-scope MVP is a great way to prove this way of working and build that trust.
To continuously deliver qualitative products, we leverage a lot of automation and continuous delivery methods. We ensure that in our processes, we continuously look ahead to what’s coming, and anticipate that through a structured strategy and discovery process.
A design sprint is a time-compressed collaboration process with the goal of solving design problems in a short amount of time. While it is not a be-all and end-all solution, it definitely comes with advantages.
The sprint format heavily promotes co-creation, allowing the team to move fast. It also reduces risk by validating the solution with real users. However, it requires a concrete and well-established challenge or problem to be efficient, and it requires commitment from a potentially large number of stakeholders.
At Lab Digital, we have defined our own preferred approach to organising a design sprint as a means to work towards a creative solution in a pragmatic way.
A staple in our way of working is validation with real users. This can be done in several ways, from highly pragmatic to very thorough, and from quantitative to qualitative, depending on the complexity of the solution. In one project, we could conduct interviews, while in the other, we prefer to do live testing with high-fidelity prototypes and design concepts instead. Whether it is facilitating the sessions, booking venues and participants, or designing the prototype, Lab Digital takes care of everything.
Prototyping is something we love to do as it allows us to work towards a solution quickly and efficiently, and it’s fun to sketch and ideate together. Depending on the assignment, we either go for a high fidelity or low fidelity prototype that covers the most essential features and allows for validation with real users. We often combine it with a visual design concept so that it not only becomes very tangible but also allows us to kickstart a potential development or design phase that follows.
Our design philosophy is to create a lasting impact. That requires a systematic approach rather than a one-off - One that is anchored to brand essence. A design system can help with this, as it provides a structured approach to design in a way that is reusable throughout the organisation.
It’s also about laying a foundation that remains up-to-date, clear and transparent, and that can be used by both us and the organisations we work for.
Hybrid working has entered another dimension in recent years. While we firmly believe that the best work happens collaboratively at the workplace, having the right tools to work in a distributed and often international way is critically important.