Bring business and IT together through Design Thinking.
Failing IT projects have been a topic of conversation in the Netherlands for years. Wrong schedules, budget overruns, a lack of necessary resources or changing requirements during the project. Therefore, in this series, we look together with experts at the background of this failure. More important, how you can prevent it in future projects.
During this series, experts tell you how to start an IT project ready to go. How to get the business on board and why razor-sharp objectives are indispensable. In the second part of this series, Benjamin Roelfsema (UX/UI Designer at LINKIT) explains how to minimize the risk of failure in a starting IT project using Design Thinking. “Because by involving the business in the IT process at an early stage, you can realize a value-added product,” says Benjamin.
The foundation of an IT project
A solid start to a new IT project is about a strong foundation. “A solid foundation provides a clear starting point. At LINKIT, we use a four-part project approach: Dream, Design, Develop and Deliver. Four steps to minimize the risk of failure.”
He continues: “It starts with the exploration phase (Dream, ed.), in which we conduct customer interviews to map out the vision and problems and to analyze where the bottlenecks lie. After this, the Design phase takes place, and we move to the head of the users. Who are they, what does their working day look like, at which location(s) do they work, and what do they need? These are all questions with which we can make a design.”
Moreover, the third step is to have the concept worked out by the development team to finally get to the last step: Deliver. The end product is then delivered to the customer and used by the users, with LINKIT monitoring to solve bugs immediately.
The crucial connection between IT and business
IT projects are often aimed at improving business processes. With the active involvement of stakeholders, such as managers and employees, a project can sufficiently consider their specific needs. Benjamin: “End users (the business, ed.) play an important role in identifying their specific needs and determining the priorities of the IT project. Moreover, by involving the business, you reduce any resistance.”
It makes the second step in the process, the Design phase, crucial: this is where business and IT are connected. “By empathizing with the user, the situation becomes clear, and we can realize a targeted solution,” says Benjamin. “If the stakeholders feel heard and involved, they are more inclined to support the project. They will actively participate in the implementation, putting it into use. In other words: to prevent failing IT projects, IT must take the business seriously. It is the only way to create broad organizational support, with everyone behind the end product.”
“This is the only way to create broad organizational support, with everyone behind the end product.”
Solutions in a pressure cooker
One of the methods for tailoring the end product to the users is Design Thinking. “Design Thinking ensures that you have a ready-to-use and user-friendly product that is actively used and puts a smile on the face of end users. Because a super flashy application with the latest technologies sounds great. However, in the end, it’s about helping the end user,” says Benjamin.
Part of the Design Thinking methodology is the Design Sprint offered by LINKIT. “This is a close collaboration between the customer, its employees and LINKIT,” explains Benjamin. “In four days, a validated solution is designed through various workshops. In this way, we quickly get from the idea to the desired solution.”
He continues, “It is a pressure cooker to devise a solution: we investigate the problem on day one. On day two, we choose the best prototype solution, design it on day three and have it tested by the engineers on day four. Finally, users. It shows whether the assumptions from the previous steps are correct and provides relevant feedback. That brings us ‘back’ to a new starting point: the actual production phase of the end product, in which we process the new functionalities and ideas that have arisen.”
“This four-day period touches the core of the Design Thinking framework,” concludes Benjamin. “By developing a value-adding product, employees (end users, ed.) also embrace it. The result is more enthusiasm, motivation and efficiency.
“By developing a value-adding product, employees (end users, ed.) also embrace it. The result is more enthusiasm, motivation and efficiency.”
Prevent failed IT projects.
Do you want to stay informed about this series and learn everything about preventing failing IT projects? Then follow us on LinkedIn and be the first to receive a notification when more of this series is published.
Would you instead contact an expert directly? Don’t hesitate to contact us because they will be happy to tell you more about the possibilities of Design Thinking and other ways to bring your project to a successful conclusion.
Benjamin Roelfsema UX/UI Designer
Benjamin (33) ended up in IT after studying Communication & Multimedia Design and has worked at LINKIT since the beginning of 2022. For him, UX means an inexhaustible source of analyses, research, and creativity.