Last week I gave a small presentation to my team precisely on this matter, called Just Enough Process (sorry Erika Hall), that was based on a recent project discovery phase where I decided to put aside my 5 years in the making and tried to apply a remix of this now "standard methods" and failed almost completely. (almost because I reverted the process to "my own process" in time).
Most of my key takeaways are referenced in this article. I'll just add two more "variables" that are omitted in the majority (if not all) of this "formulas/equations": yourself as an individual & your client (his cooperativeness factor). These formulas are one size fits all.
First, you have your own very unique way of gathering and organising information for your brain that's it's tailored for you (you know thinking). My advice is to use it, as it's a "trained model" with decades of experience in...life. By strictly following a set of steps, specially when you don't see value in some of them for a specific situation, you're not going to look natural, but more like an bad actor who's reading a script on an audition (A robot if you prefer a geek analogy). Then your going to spend a lot of precious time justifying each step and it's value, and when you notice have only 30min left in your slot with the client. Probably he will be more suspicious now than ever because you've been selling him something he didn't ask to.
Second, these methods make you think that you're google/ideo/[insert big fish references]. That you can pop up into a room, with any type of stakeholder and tell them:
- "Hey we're going to make [insert exercise] for x hours on day y and i need you to be there full-time with your full attention"
- "yes of course, you're the expert!". [insert stock photo of business people cheering]
It's not like that. Most of the times, they will not be 100% cooperative/available. They have their own stresses, work to accomplish in that week, their own personality: some will trust your process and find value, some will be suspicious no matter how much you justify its value. I think It's our job to adapt the process to them and not the other way around. I don't believe that there's a mathematical formula to design process, if it did would be something more or less like this :p
To sum up, extract the bits of the "standard processes" that help you speed up your thinking, but don't forget to be yourself and, most important, to adapt.
When I was as student I once went to AGI conference in 2010, "process is the project", where design rockstars talked and illustrated their design process. I still got the conference book. The only thing their processes had in common was that they had nothing in common. (ok maybe practice practice practice ad infinitum).
tl;dr - (Outcomes > Process) && (Why We Design > How We Design)
I’m concerned that the methods we’re publishing in all of our well designed card decks are making our profession appear stupid, and doing a disservice to the people using the cards.
Yep. It's important to recognize how many of these things are essentially just marketing campaigns on behalf of individuals and businesses. Can talented designers do good work using their ideas as a framework? Sure. Talented designers can do good work many different ways. But the gift isn't in the process. It doesn't help anyone to pretend otherwise.
And it certainly doesn't make anyone other than designers take design more seriously.