At the beginning of the year, TCI received an inquiry for an IT project from a German car manufacturer for whom we had already successfully completed several projects in the past. The project in question involved the design of a new module within an existing existing individual application for the management of project deadlines as part of the prototype, pre-series and series production process. The specific task was the creation of an exploration concept and the filling of a product backlog (list of requirements) for the subsequent project phase.
Task with challenges: Solution in phases
The challenges were not only the short project duration and the high demands on technical expertise, but also the project approach requested by the customer according to the user-centered design approach.
User-centered design is an iterative project approach that goes through several phases. First, the process is planned. During the Analysis of the context of use information about the future users is collected. This includes analyzing the workflows and the respective tasks of the users. The users' expectations and suggestions for improvement are also collected. Based on the findings of the context analysis, the second step is for the project team to develop the Requirements to the software. In the phase Concept and design concepts for the future product are developed. Design documents and mock-ups are created as a result of this phase. In the phase Evaluation the concepts and mock-ups created are repeatedly discussed with users.
Target-oriented approach through interdisciplinary consulting
TCI carried out the project with three consultants: Patrick Müller with his many years of experience at this manufacturer as TCI project manager, Hans-Christoph Gründler, an experienced process consultant, and Maik Schmalstich, a design thinking coach.
After analyzing the context of use, a two-day workshop was held in which two user journeys were initially developed, which were then broken down into individual user stories. The first drafts for the user interface were developed at an early stage, which were then successively detailed. The first concept drafts in the exploration concept still contained various alternatives, from which one alternative was then selected in each of the subsequent iterations. The concept itself was created in the Confluence wiki software, which made it much easier to collaborate and comment on the concept. The user stories for the product backlog were created in the Jira tool and handed over to the product owner at the end of the project.
Interdisciplinary consulting with very good results
With this result, an invitation to tender was issued. "Never before have we had such a good standing for a tender in this environment" was the statement of one of the customer's IT employees involved in the project at the end of the project.
TCI project manager Patrick Müller also drew a very positive conclusion from the project and the work of the interdisciplinary project team: "This project has shown how well the specialist, process and methodological knowledge of different consultants can be combined."
(Cover picture: © Patrick Müller)