The 720 degree model

Working with digital products takes many forms. Although a lot of them look alike, hardly any good products or services are built in the same way. No teams are the same, and no company follows the exact same path. Working as a freelancer and consultant you learn this fast, needing to quickly adapt to different workflows and team structures.

So, I want to share a bit about how I perceive a good process, and how I fit in working with others.

My work tends to follow a model I call the 720° model. It starts with an Analysis phase, followed by Design and Implementation, and ends with a Follow up. This can manifest in short sprints or month-long collaboration. Some times it repeats and some times it's simply a one time operation.

The 720 degree model
The 720° model

For smaller projects, I sometimes do all four stages, including the full implementation on my own. Mostly in readily available platforms such as Webflow, WordPress, Shopify, etc. For bigger projects, sometimes I join development teams for the implementation phase as Product Manager or Product Owner. For some projects, I do just the analysis and design phases. It can be on my own doing all aspects of the design. Or focusing mainly on the UX Design working with a design team or other experts.

For most projects, I like to include the follow up phase, as I believe that no design job is properly done before the work lands in the hands or before the eyes of the real people they are intended for. In this phase, it might be about looking at the data, traffic, and traction. And about tweaking and finetuning. It might also lead to starting the 720-degree process over again, based on the new insights found and assumptions being either validated or falsified.

Analysis phase illustration

1. Analysis

The first phase of any project is about understanding where we should start. Who are we designing for? What is the market? Who has a say along the way? What are the special terms and requirements to be considered?

What is the scope of our efforts? What does it take to eventually land somewhere we would regard as a success?

Design phase illustration

2. Design

The design phase can begin. We dive into the work. Sketching, testing and prototyping. Researching and experimenting.

It's trial and error. Until we eventually land at something we feel good about and confident will meet user needs and solve the initial challenges of the project.

Implementation phase illustration

3. Implementation

Now, that we know, what we need to do, it's time to do it. Efficiently, focussed and with a clever sense of what needs to be prioritized when.

As an experienced product manager and product owner I can help make hard choices and adjustments along the way and make sure we stay on track towards the common goal: Bringing the design to life.

Follow up phase illustration

4. Follow up

A design is not finished before it meets its audience and starts being used. Meeting audience demands is the ultimate measure of success for projects with a product/market fit and in a position to scale.

For early-stage projects it might be something else; a proof-of-concept prototype or a functional minimal viable product. Regardless, an evaluation needs to be made to understand how to proceed to the first step again in new and wiser way.