Why you should consider product-based design

At District, we believe that the best solution for our customers is one that meets their needs today, but also future-proofs their business for tomorrow. 

As a specialist in community engagement software for government and government agencies, we understand the importance of collaboration. That’s why we offer more than just a client-delivery relationship. Instead, we develop a close partnership with our clients during the co-design process, and work hand-in-hand with them to create the best solution for their organisation and their customers. 

During this co-design process, we run discovery workshops and ideation and whiteboarding sessions. This collaborative effort builds trust and understanding, and draws deep on our clients’ institutional know-how. It’s a great foundation for innovation. 

Our approach is a lot different from the traditional client-delivery relationship, where the project comes to a conclusion when it is delivered, according to the scope of work.

At District, we prefer our products to evolve.

A better approach to designing digital solutions

This approach stems from the idea that a technology project, like a website redesign, is never really finished. It evolves, with the changing needs of the customer and the changing technical landscape. 

Creating a product-based solution asks us to:

  • co-design with the client to develop a bespoke solution 
  • collaborate across UX, Dev and Design teams
  • iterate via developing prototypes for testing and user feedback 
  • regularly update and release product improvements. 

At District, we are firm advocates for the product-based approach because we believe it not only offers the best solution for our customers’ current requirements, but also future-proofs their needs going forward. 

Co-designing with clients creates a better product

Our co-design process with the client starts with a journey of discovery. Workshops, whiteboarding and ideation sessions help us understand at a deep level what the client wants, while also helping to uncover what they need.

From the discovery journey, we can begin to map out their technical requirements. Together we map out the sprints and the backlog. 

From there, prototypes are developed. These are tested by the client, and critically,  their customers. This is a great opportunity for District and our clients to gather deep  insights into customer needs and behaviours. 

Each step of this co-design process is essential for delivering a tailor-made solution for the client and their customers to meet their current needs, while also paving the way for innovative thinking about the future state of the organisation and its needs going forward. 

Evolution is built into the design  

This relationship with the client doesn’t end after the product is delivered. Unlike the way a project team is disassembled after a project is delivered, under a product-based approach, the co-design process continues and the product evolves to meet the needs of the organisation. New features are implemented, new versions are released and incremental improvements add value over time. 

When District delivered the community engagement platform, Engage Victoria, for the Victorian Government, our collaborative relationship with the government’s transformation group, Digital Victoria, continued.

Together, we are implementing a backlog of features, constantly improving the platform for both administrators and the citizens who use the platform. 

Creating in-house experts

But the co-design process offers another benefit too. The team members who are involved in the co-design process become product “champions” within their  organisation - they’ve developed a deep knowledge of the product and understand its potential to serve the organisation and its customers into the future. 

This symbiotic relationship between the client and product team offers exciting opportunities for continual innovation. Recently, District and the team at Digital Victoria collaborated to build an extension of the Engage Victoria platform, Victorian Public Notices. 

The remarkable thing about this platform, which publishes mandatory Public Notices, is that it has replicated complicated whole-of-government permissions and team workflows. It’s a testament to what can be achieved when two distinct organisations work together in a spirit of collaboration, trust and innovation. 

Designing products for the future

When it comes to a product vs project approach, some organisations will prefer the default option. 

But consider the benefits of co-designing and developing a technical solution that’s guided by you and customers’ unique requirements. A product-based delivery ensures the solution will evolve and grow with your customers and your organisation, adapt to changing times, offer continual innovation, improve the customer experience, boost the longevity of the digital solution, and develop in-house experts to lead a culture of innovation. 

At District, collaborative design and community engagement are at the heart of our approach to software development.  If you are looking for a digital solution that evolves with you, talk to one of our consultants today