Upfront Understanding & Alignment: The Value of HCDAgile

May 18, 2021
Aug 11, 2022
Read time: 
Upfront Understanding & Alignment: The Value of HCDAgile

You have heard it before, this is what sets us apart, this is what makes us special, this is our secret sauce. Well, you get to hear it again, because today, I want to share with you what made me say YES to working at 1904labs.

Choosing the Labs

I heard about 1904labs through a friend. It sounded like a cool start up company that was fun, innovative, had an awesome office in a great location (Cortex). A place where you could be your authentic self and really make an impact with your clients and the community. I’ve been here for a year and a half and all of the above is true. But what sold me and made me certain that THIS is the company where I want to work is our delivery methodology. Our “secret sauce” “labs magic” is HCDAgile, short for Human-Centered Design Agile.

What is So Amazing About HCDAgile?

HCDAgile takes best practices from human-centered design and pairs it with a structured agile approach. We want to fall in love with the problem and understand who is going to be impacted by finding the right solution. We want to understand the people behind the problem and get their input on how this solution will help them. It is so simple, yet a step that is often overlooked.

In Practice with Clients

We recently had an opportunity with a client where they were looking to drive alignment for an MVP. This opportunity was a perfect fit for our modern software engineering practice paired with our delivery methodology. Many of the goals for the effort were exactly what HCDAgile does best: bringing shared visibility to challenges and opportunities in the current process, designing collaboratively to bring users and technologists into the creation of the solution, and enabling future adoption and onboarding.

When we went to present our team structure, they wanted to remove the human-centered design element. They wanted to remove our “secret sauce,” the part of our delivery methodology that sets us apart and makes us who we are. They did not initially see the value that this role would bring harmoniously with the technical team. We had to draw a line in the sand and be transparent. Can you do this without the Human-Centered Design element? Sure, you can. Will it be successful? I don’t know. What I do know is that this client trusts us to deliver on an outcome, and for us to deliver the best results for the client, this role is crucial to our process. 

It would be like going to a restaurant and the waiter bringing you whatever food was available to satisfy your hunger. What they bring would meet the need to feed you, but how much better is the experience when you can select what you eat? Without any understanding of your needs or preferences upfront, the waiter might bring you shellfish when you’re allergic to shellfish. Now the basic need of hunger has not been met.

The Impact of HCDAgile

When I learned about HCDAgile, a lightbulb went off. I got it! I understood why huge rollouts of a new technology could fall flat. It is because they didn’t seek first to understand how that roll out was going to impact the end users. Now I have become an evangelist for HCDAgile, and I am not the only one. The feedback that we receive from our clients is incredible! This process has helped empower our clients to make better decisions and provide better outcomes.

Read more about our HCDAgile methodology, and if this approach sounds like it might benefit your teams or projects, we’d love to hear from you.