If teams aren’t purposeful about the way they work together, the default is always naturally going to be waterfall.

By: Trish Lamanna

(Watch the video of this content presented at the TNW Couch Conference from March 2020 and the follow up article here.)

Production still from Star Wars
Production still from Star Wars

When it comes to building the best digital products and experiences, design and development teams need to work together in way that allows them to drive meaningful impact. A team that works together cross-functionally will drive exponentially more value than a single domain ever can. However many organizations struggle with putting this insight into practice. Why is it so hard to get development and design to work together? There’s a few reasons. For starters:

Design was never taught to be Agile and agile wasn’t designed for Designers.

You can’t tell a designer to be agile with development and walk away, especially with a domain like design that was never taught to be agile, nor was agile designed for it to be. Designers are commonly taught in design school to solve for all problems today, tomorrow and in the future, which leads to a need to achieve perfection before handing anything off to development. Anything less means a loss of marks and credibility. This paradigm leads to immense churn in solving for the wrong problems and a huge gap in the learnings that iteration will bring to teams. …


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By: Luís Santos & Kevin Gibson

Legacy systems are often cited as one of the top barriers to digital transformation success.

While enterprises pour millions into digital transformation and innovation initiatives, many find the commercial impact is missing while they remain tied to their aging legacy systems.

Leaders need to develop a modernization strategy for their systems that focuses on improving them and creating near-term customer value and business benefits-but getting organizational buy-in for even incremental changes can be challenging, since legacy systems come with more baggage than just outdated technology. …


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When planning for a digital transformation, many executives focus on an “end state”, or an idealized picture of when the transformation is done, and all changes are complete. But transformations are an evolutionary process, and getting to the “end” isn’t possible-the rate of change in technology, fluctuating market demand and changing consumers preferences are the only constants.

Hoping to soothe stakeholders and shareholders, define a direction for the company, build momentum for change, and avoid resistance, it’s tempting for executives to plot when the digital transformation will be complete. But instead, they must think about a future state: An evolving roadmap that’s connected to the bottom line, and focused on three components: Creating an adaptive learning culture, applying a technology-as-strategy mindset, and enabling self-managing, customer-centric product teams. …


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While becoming a digital enterprise is an imperative for most organizations in the 21st century, there are no set-it-and-forget-it shortcuts to get you there.

Instead, digital transformation requires an explicit and intentional change in the operating model, by investing in three key initiatives; 1) Shifting the business strategy to focus on customer value; 2) Creating an organizational structure and culture that is optimized to deliver that customer value; and 3) Identifying and integrating technologies that enable the first two goals to happen.

When your business strategy, culture and technology capabilities are wrapped around the customer, you have the essential building blocks that enable transformation. …


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By: Rebecca Holland

Digital transformation may be the buzzword du jour, but it’s more than just hype. Done well, it has the power to reduce your operating costs, improve time-to-market and open new product lines and revenue streams for your business.

To define digital transformation, it’s useful to first understand what it isn’t: It doesn’t mean simply digitizing your business, updating your existing technology, or investing in more digital marketing. It’s a multi-step process that should touch every function of your organization. The purpose of a digital transformation is to create new ways of working that will scale with your business. …


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By: Rebecca Holland

There’s now no longer any time for executives to put off their digital transformation until next quarter.

With the market disruption of Covid-19, and the looming threat of industry disruptors in the form of innovative startup companies, risk-taking is now necessary for established companies in order to maintain their relevance in a changing consumer landscape.

While companies of this size and stature have had the means and resources to digitally transform prior to 2020, the incentives to take risks have not materialized. …


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Design systems are often promoted or explained using technical language familiar to designers and developers who will use the system — that was our tactic when we started talking about design systems two years ago, and partnering in the community of practitioners. However, this approach fails to reach perhaps the most important audience: The decision-makers who will decide whether to commit the business’s resources to implementing a design system.

The inaccessible jargon often used to discuss design systems can fail to communicate their benefits for the business as a whole. …


By: Rick Poulin, Director of Digital Innovation

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Your design system is a living artifact. Like a spoken language, it will evolve over time as it is used by new groups-retaining its basic structure, but with new additions spurred by the speakers themselves.

At least, this is the ideal scenario. Your design system should be a living language, not a dead one, like Ancient Greek or Latin. Once built, it has to change and adapt to be useful to the widest possible number of teams. …


by: Rick Poulin, Director of Digital Innovation

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A design system is a set of tools, processes, guidelines and philosophies that combine to drive how a team designs a product. The purpose of a design system is to not only systematize product development, but to also establish the processes that teams use to design, develop, test and more. As a tool, it sets the foundation for your digital experiences and products to look and feel consistent to users, increase efficiency and quality for your teams, and protect your brand across all your touchpoints in the market.

A design system is a tool and a framework that your company can use to streamline collaboration between all the teams who have input into your products and services, including product, brand and marketing, quality, design and development. …


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By: Luís Santos

The road to a digital-first world is a highway. In the last decade, some industries have been overtaken by revolutionary new companies, while leaders in those markets struggled to hit the accelerator, and were slow to adapt and modernize their processes and products or services.

For example, in the last decade, multiple retail companies saw a significant slice of their market share vanish as they failed to digitize, or move from a transaction-centric model to a user-centric one. …

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