A colleague forwarded me Lift’s designer job posting and I really liked their process section:
We work some variant of Lean + Agile + IDEO’s design thinking.
The things that we believe in most strongly are small batches, validation, and revisions.
On the small batch side, we practice continuous deployment. Every code commit gets pushed to product immediately and automatically (if it passes automated tests). On the iOS side we almost always have a new version of Lift ready to submit as soon as our old version gets approved. This is not just an engineering practice. This is a challenge for you to be able to decompose your designs for incremental release. Decomposing designs is natural, fun and helpful if you’ve ever been curious about whether your design ideas are actually, authentically pleasing to people (as opposed to just theoretically sexy). In continuous deployment, you often have the ability to get real world feedback on your core design assumptions very early (although it would be equally valid to get these even earlier with an aggressive prototyping strategy).
On the validation side we all own multiple copies of The Lean Startup. However, we’ve come to be more measured about our measurements. We run a kanban board with a validation column but we look at more signals for validation than just numeric metrics. The most common signals are: zero usage (this is the only clear and immediate signal that we get from our instrumentation), immediate user confusion as expressed in support emails, observed anecdotal usage (Erin often collects and summarizes these for the team), and personal feel (we’re all active users).
We believe in doing a few things extremely well and do a lot of revision to get there. When we work with our designer friends we often look at many approaches early (this is more of the IDEO design thinking way). Jon and I both went through LUXr which trains for really fast, rapid, paper-based design iteration. But we also find that living with simple features in the wild is wildly helpful for our intuition.
+1 Lift, +1