Service Design – How we work

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Everybody has a methodology for how teams should work. Some of them are great but most of them are complicated. Here is how Service Design works at Scottish Enterprise.

I am showing three diagrams but the middle one is the one I love best.

Let’s begin:

1. Super simple

We are not a software house. What we do is design and deliver services. We try to be a bit lean & agile and that involves iterating constantly. This means that a traditional discovery, alpha, beta, Live flow is a bit too waterfally for us (I may have just invented a word there).

What we really do in  Service Design is:

  • Find value
  • Develop value
  • Deliver value

Other ways to describe these might be:

  • Discover
  • Iterate
  • Launch

2. Simple but closer to the real world

So life is never really that simple.

There is a lot more involved in Finding value.

Developing value also has feedback loops built in between us, customers and stakeholders and these help us to iterate.

Finding value (discovery)  has several aspects that get us to the point of forming a hypothesis. The trap here is falling in love with Discovery and Big Designing Up Front your way out of any agile benefits. We just want enough info to start learning.

Developing value (iterating) is where we start to build something that we can test against our hypothesis.

A simple hypothesis might be: “We believe that an online form will treble applications for this grant”.

You can ask people their opinions all day long but you don’t know the truth until you put something in front of them for real.

We can test and iterate to improve until we  can prove our hypothesis … or give up because it turned out to be a bad idea.

Deliver value is mostly “cream cakes and champagne” (in our dreams). This involves integrating services into existing processes, training staff and hopefully, ongoing monitoring and potential for future optimisation.

Service Deisgn covers a lot of ground and suggests more engagement with customers and stakeholders than a traditional software development model.

3. Super detailed but look away if you are easily scared

This is a service blueprint so don’t be too scared.

Customers only see the green and yellow boxes (all the stuff in the customer actions and front stage rows).

Everything else is invisble to them. The bottom two rows are all the things we do to make it easier and better for our customers.

service design process complex
Click on the picture to see a full size version

Service Design tries to keep it simple which is why we would rather you look at the middle diagram. We try to make sure that as little as possible creeps up to be visible by the customer unless it adds value to them.

One of our favourite tricks on newer diagrams is to put all customer value in blue. If you look at a diagram and the blue bits are hard to find then we know more work needs to be done.

It sounds simple.

That’s a good thing 🙂

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