What is the Double Diamond Method of Software Development?

Posted by
Nate McGuire in Development category

If you work in project management and strategy, you’ve probably come across the term “Double Diamond Method”. The Double Diamond design has been around for over 15 years. In 2005, the British Design Council studied the creative process of several corporate giants, including LEGO and Microsoft, to understand how information is processed to create solutions. As part of the study, the British Design Council discovered that each company shared the same steps within the creative process. These steps make up the Double Diamond Method. We explain below what it means and how to make the most of it for your projects.

What is the Double Diamond Method?

The British Design Council identified four unique steps as part of their study. Nowadays, these steps can act as a map for designers and developers to follow while organizing their thought processes throughout the creative process. 

The 4 Steps in the Double Diamond Method

The steps identified are the following:

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Develop
  • Deliver

Discover and Define form the first diamond, which focuses on finding the right problem. Develop and Deliver make up the second diamond, focusing on solving the problem. 

In a first step, the discovery stage consists in gathering data to learn more about the different elements that affect the problem or the business opportunity. During this stage, designers are expected to research and assess information that enables them to gain a better understanding of the user’s needs. 

The second stage, definition, filters through step 1 information. It is designed to make sense of the information gathered and identify the true problems and limitations that need to be addressed. When it comes to software development, this step sets the context for it and analyzes how the project means the business requirements. 

The first diamond concludes with an official sign-off, budget, and resource allocation. The project brief is developed at the same time. 

The third stage, the first half of the second diamond, is development. Here, the developers and designers work on exploring the solution for the problem defined in the first two stages. The development phase is marked by cross-department problem-solving and prototyping through brainstorming, visualization, MVPs, etc. 

Finally, the last stage, delivery, is about building the solution, testing and delivering it. The British Design Council also notes that all corporations in the study also include feedback loops to assess customer satisfaction. This enables them to improve their designs and solutions constantly. 

Challenges of the Double Diamond Method

No method is ideal. However, it is important to understand when the Double Diamond Method is ineffective for businesses. Essentially, the Double Diamond Method focuses heavily on researching, questioning, and reviewing creative solutions. As a result, it is not the best approach:

  • To get to market fast
  • To get a competitive edge
  • To maximize collaboration and teamwork

Advantages of the Double Diamond Method

Being able to research every problem to solve in-depth means that the design team gains a better understanding of the impact of the problem and the potential solutions. This means not only thinking about building the right thing but also building it right. While time-consuming, this method guarantees you can keep your eyes on the bigger picture. 

Thinking of the problem first can not only highlight issues you wouldn’t have considered in the first place but also ensures the final product is designed to bring tangible, real value to the end users. 

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