Alastair Lee

Alastair Lee

Workshop: Design process hacks – what to do when you can’t do what you’re supposed to do.

Most designers and product people are familiar with Design processes like the Double Diamond, Lean Startup and Design Thinking. So they know what they’re meant to do when any new project lands on their plate.  

They know they should start with a desired business goal or ‘outcome’, then carefully research the relevant needs of users, then prototype multiple(!) potential solutions and test them, refining their design through an iterative loop until they have sufficient evidence that they have something worth delivering. 

They know they should do all that before they dive into the detail, working  with developers to get a solution out the door.

They know that’s the right process to follow. And at Panda we know it too. It’s the process we recommend to our clients, and we mostly follow it. 

But in my 20 odd years designing and delivering apps and sites, it’s rarely plain sailing. Very often something throws a spanner in the works and we have to improvise as best we can. We have to hack the process a little.

It might be a stakeholder that’s wedded to a technical solution. Or a struggle to access users for research. Or a vicious time constraint. Or a classic ‘JFDI’ missive from above.

This is the reality for most product and design folks. And that’s what this session is about. It’s about exploring the common impediments to the perfect design process and sharing ways to handle them as best we can.

I have some thoughts to offer. But this will be an interactive sharing session where we can acknowledge common challenges, swap stories and learn what’s worked for others.


About Alastair

Alastair is a seasoned product strategy and design consultant, and managing director at the design firm Panda.

He has over 20 years of experience in digital product design and development. His early career was spent in product management roles at the BBC and Time Out. In 2012 he became a consultant with a focus on product discovery and design. He’s worked with clients as diverse as the Cabinet Office, Zurich Insurance, Octopus Energy and Versus Arthritis alongside a variety of SMEs, startups and scaleups.

He lives in Bath with his wife Katharine and their three children. When time permits he likes to tinker with electronic music and play his cherished djembe drum.