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UX Architecture & Design

Why Software Projects Fail

 

Imagine you are about to project manage building a brand new custom house for a client  - a two story, three bedroom house with 2.5 baths, facing south, and a two car garage.  With these requirements in hand, given to your builder, and agreed upon, you pay the builder and entire crew to begin work on her new house.

 

After several months, you arrive on site to inspect the progress and the build looks nothing at all like what you imagined!  You argue with the builder who shows you the requirements and insists that the house is built to the specifications, but you cannot possibly show the house to your client as-is.  

 

After insisting to the builder that it needs to be rebuilt, the project grinds to a halt as you both spend countless billable hours in discussion clarifying your expectations. In order to move forward, the builder has come back to you with a large invoice for the tear-down and rework.

 

With no choice left but to proceed, you pay the builder and the cost-escalated project continues as before.  That is until, halfway through the adjusted build, the electrical contractor brings up a technical consideration that wasn’t accounted for which will now cost the project additional time and resources.

Facing a fast approaching deadline and an exceeded budget, your client and her financial backers grow concerned, freeze the project capital, and demand an explanation for the overage. You try to justify that the builder didn’t deliver as expected, but the builder blames you for ambiguous requirements. But you aren't a builder and feel he should have seen these risks and brought them forward before beginning work. And around and around it all goes while the project again grinds to a halt.

The client then turns to you both and she asks: “Why didn’t you engage an Architect and a Designer to draft the solution. Why have you spent all this money building what we don’t need?” 

 

In truth, what were the chances that even the best builder would ever create for you exactly what you had in mind?  Slim to none. 

 

 

Lack of UX Architecture and Design Causes Significant Technical Debt

 

No physical structure properly built goes directly from an idea directly into a builder’s hands to construct.  It would be senseless to expect a general contractor to be able to translate your expectations when they are trying to focus on execution.  If this makes so much sense in the building industry, then why do digital enterprises consistently engage in this process methodology when developing software?  

 

If digital product owners consistently ask developers to build to high-level requirements without a clear, detailed, researched, and well designed solution or architectural plan, resolving those ambiguities can annually cost enterprises upwards of millions of dollars in rework. 

 

Unfortunately, some development teams know this all too well and take full advantage of this process breakdown to insulate their teams longevity even holding business teams hostage - at great cost to an enterprise and its shareholders’ financial health. This process breakdown is is especially risky when our enterprise is expected to innovate  and deploy quickly  with a accelerated time-to-market in response to either market forces or regulatory/reporting requirements.  

 

If and when technologists either hide or remain unaware of the implied costs of additional rework and consistently choose the quick and easy solution for the short term instead of promoting a properly architected one, it is not only the stakeholders who are disappointed. Invariably the End User ends up suffering from this process breakdown and will typically choose not accept/adopt the utility and may even become an Anti-Participant - choosing your competitor's services over yours. In a word - Failure.

 

User Experience Architecture and Design is not “window dressing” and it is not simply "Graphic Design". It is a well informed, deliberate, skillful, and highly disciplined design practice that minimizes or even eliminates technical debt and thereby project risk.  The goal is to fail cheaply and revise during iteration not to do so in implementation where it is needlessly expensive.  Properly done, UX Architecture saves companies millions of dollars by providing useful, well-adopted, scalable digital products that can continuously improved with minimal technology investment. The end result is a measurably usable, sophisticated, accepted, reliable, and enjoyable digital product.

 

We at proformUX are able to architect in all fidelities and at all levels of abstraction - Human Actor, Display Layer, Middleware, Admin Areas, System Architecture and all points in-between. To help you communicate your product vision to a development team, these are some of the typical deliverables and artifacts we at proformUX work with you to produce.

  • User Research

  • Journey Maps

  • Content Strategy Models

  • Information Architecture

  • Task Models

  • Low Fidelity Mock-ups

  • High Fidelity Comps

  • Style Guides

  • Declarative Design Blueprints

  • Interactive Clickable Prototypes

  • Device Agnostic Omni Channel Design

 

Our UX Design Process is refined to meld seamlessly into Waterfall, Agile, SCRUM, Waterfall, and Lean Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) process methodologies.

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