Using co-design to add some creative impetus to Agile squads

Published Oct 19, 2021, 9:48 AM
Written by Amanda Brown

Co-design isn’t just for big pre-planned workshops. It can be the great unblocker: this is why we jump into an impromptu codesign session to trigger more creative solutions anytime we need a burst of creative problem solving during our Agile projects.

We’re never the kinds of people to sit still when we could be moving. That’s why we often used codesign activities on the back of our stand-up sessions for our recent Continuous Improvement project for the Victorian Department of Transport (DoT). 

Our multidisciplinary team comprised Symbiote developers, a solution architect, a project manager and DoT’s UI Designers and Product Owner. 

Working Agile, the improvements project ran a series of fortnightly sprints over three months, with a bountiful backlog of uplift activities. While we always managed to maintain good communication and open collaboration in our squad culture, sometimes the daily stand-ups would take great care of work in progress, but we’d be blocked with user experience or user interface issues blocking the build work on stories. 

Adding codesign activities on an ad-hoc basis to the timeslot directly after stand-ups helped us to shift between different modes of thinking just when they were needed: moving from structured updates to creative, lateral user-focussed solutions” - Amanda Brown

When we were blocked, we found that impromptu co-design sessions in the morning would get us moving. They were energising and extremely practical and resulted in creative solutions for the people using the systems we were improving.

The sessions that became our favourites were when devs and designers pulled apart tricky features that just weren’t coming together. These sessions brought together engineering and design creativity to build outcomes for end-users that really worked.

Co-design activities have been a great addition to our Sprints to stop us from getting into a rut. In a way, this kind of creative re-use or new applications for existing skills is the ultimate in open source thinking.


Image credit: Patrick Perkins on Unsplash