How Design Thinking Complements Agile?

Explore how Design Thinking helps Agile projects to succeed.

Agile projects fail due to misstated/incorrect requirements because the Business could not come up with what exactly they wanted. There is a gap in what they think internally and what they list out as the requirements. The Design Thinking is the saviour here.

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Outline/structure of the Session

- How requirements evolve in Agile?

- The scenario where Agile projects fail

- Design Thinking constructs

- How Design Thinking can help Agile projects to succeed?

- How Design Thinking can be implemented in an Agile project?

- Execute Successful Agile projects by following Design Thinking best practices ?

Learning Outcome

Design Thinking Implementation in Agile

Target Audience




schedule Submitted 3 months ago

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  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  3 months ago
    reply Reply

    Can you please help me understand the following statement from your proposal: "Agile projects fail due to misstated/incorrect requirements because the Business could not come up with what exactly they wanted."

    • Ramadevi Lakshmanan
      By Ramadevi Lakshmanan  ~  2 months ago
      reply Reply

      Let us be practical here. Even in Agile, while the JAD/USW sessions are happening with business and PO community, they come up with user story and acceptance criteria based on what they discovered and understood from these brainstorming sessions.

      Two  open queries here.

      1. What they discussed as the pain areas or business problems in these sessions are the real pain points?

      If not, they need help to restate the problem definition better to clearly identify the problem first and then do the JAD to write the user stories. This is where design thinking would help for the business to get the correct solution to their actual problem.

      2. Are they able to write down what exactly they thought about as the requirements?

      ie. Their thinking and what is coming on stories may differ. Early prototyping design thinking cycle would help resolve this.

      Basically design thinking is taking Agile to next level by reducing the failure rate further.

      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  2 months ago
        reply Reply
        I would suggest please read this article from Marty Cagan from 2012 This will clarify some of the misconceptions.
        • Ramadevi Lakshmanan
          By Ramadevi Lakshmanan  ~  2 months ago
          reply Reply


          My intention is not to debate. Thanks for listening. Basically, we stopped hearing the following from our Client Business after we started implementing Design Thinking tools and techniques during Pre-Discovery and Discovery.

          1. "Hey! I changed my mind now" - during Sprint Execution or Demo

          2. "Hmm.. ok. But We should have done it in other way" - during Demo

          3. "Yes. Acceptance Criteria is met. But this is not what I thought about" - during Demo

          etc. etc.

          More than just addressing the problem, Design Thinking starts with redefining the problem itself by questioning the underlying assumptions and causes. Without this explicit realization of where the problem is sourced or caused, Agile goes with resolving the problem directly. This is where we need to bring DT inside Agile. DT also comes with multiple options and then converge into a single solution accepted by all the stakeholders. Thanks.

        • Ramadevi Lakshmanan
          By Ramadevi Lakshmanan  ~  2 months ago
          reply Reply

          Thanks Naresh for sharing this and I did a read. As you know, Discovery and Delivery are the parallel tracks always in Agile Projects. Because PO goes on PB track and expose to team during PB grooming/refinement and estimation etc.. while Dev team goes on Sprint Delivery track and join PO during PB related ceremonies/activities. Moreover, UX and Prototyping are part of requirements gathering even before we started with Agile. But these would be used in the design context for the requirements defined already and this may/will refine the requirements as well. But Design Thinking does not come in the design context and It comes in the requirements context to question whether the requirements are thought out correctly and the pain areas are understood accurately. So, Design thinking addresses the bottom of the requirements understanding by going deep into thought process of the one who needs requirements to bring out the exact needs and more accurate stories. Hope this helps.