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Scott Plewes

Scott Plewes

Chief Strategy Officer

A Great UX Design Process Doesn’t Guarantee Great Results: Limits of Process

Lean UX, Agile UX, Design Thinking, Service Design, JTBD, whatever your favourite design process, remember it’s just a process. It’s not a universal guarantee of insight, innovation or product success. Some processes work better in different contexts, and all require high skills to execute. Going through the motions doesn’t ensure success by itself. And unfortunately, not realizing that fact can lead people to blame the process.

Some things to know about the Limits of Process:

  • If people are talking about it like a belief, then you are at risk of not understanding its limits
  • Because of the nature of time pressure in many digital endeavours, most software design processes avoid spending much time in the problem space and rely on a “let’s see if this works approach”. This only works if your guess is somewhere in the ballpark of “right”.
  • People’s expertise is an inherent part of the limits. You can do the right activity, but if the person doesn’t have enough experience it backfires.
  • When certain processes that were super successful (think ISO in manufacturing for instance) and then are transferred to different contexts like UX design, they are likely not to be as successful as the context has changed.
  • You don’t have to throw out the baby with the bath water. If a process has some obvious limitations, you can often adjust it rather than look for something brand new.

Scott Plewes

Scott Plewes

Chief Strategy Officer

Over the past twenty-five years, Scott has worked in the areas of business strategy, product design and development in the high tech sector with a specialization in experience design. He has extensive cross-sector expertise and experience working with clients in complex regulated industries such as aviation, telecom, health, and finance. His primary area of focus over the last several years has been in product and service strategy and the integration of multi-disciplinary teams and methods. Scott has a master’s degree in Theoretical Physics from Queen’s University.


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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.