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How does a design thinking methodology ensure your SAP apps work well?

Gavin Quinn of Mindset Consulting shares how SAP Fiori app developers can use design thinking and Agile methodologies to ensure applications are great for users.

With a traditional IT project waterfall methodology, projects move in one direction: from requirements to specs, design, testing and deployment, and then they are done. The applications that result from these projects are generally problematic, as they never go through the iterations that can make a great app.

There are two popular approaches used today to gather more user feedback and ultimately build better applications: a design thinking methodology and an Agile methodology. Here's a look at both.

Design thinking methodology

With the design thinking methodology, aside from the unique components, such as direct user observation, group ideation, rapid prototyping and end-user testing, the key to success is iterations. A great design thinking methodology session should incorporate several versions of the app design with user feedback -- each time listening, learning and improving the overall design.

Agile methodology

With Agile development, software is considered to be more of a continuously developed product rather than a project that is a one-time build and release.

A great design thinking methodology session should incorporate several versions of the app design with user feedback.

Usually developed in two-week increments called sprints, a new version is built, tested and released, and then usage is analyzed, lessons are learned and the backlog is filled back up. This is an iterative approach that allows for constant course-correction and, if done properly, it can lead to much happier and more engaged users.

Other testing methods

In addition to the design thinking methodology and Agile methodology approaches, you can supplement app design and development with the following techniques:

  • A/B testing -- you release two versions of an app and determine which one performs better using objective metrics.
  • Google Analytics -- you can install these code snippets to analyze how apps are being used, where users are clicking, what browsers or devices they are using, and much more.
  • Log analysis -- you can review ICM logs to see how often each app is being used and look for keywords such as the Fiori URL and app name.
  • User interviews -- after each release, watch how end users experience the software and conduct a survey.

With whatever method you choose, it's critical to listen openly -- don't steer the users. Challenge your assumptions and try new things rapidly.

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