How to Improve Your Product Design and Development Model: Lessons From PayPal

How to Improve Your Product Design and Development Model

The typical product modeling process takes an inefficient course that requires a lot of back and forth between departments. In the lifecycle of a traditional product design and development model:

  • A project manager has an idea that gets turned into a written description and sent to the design team
  • Designers have to interpret the project manager’s written instructions and turn them into images
  • The designers send their visual work to developers
  • Developers use their coding experience to recreate images and add functionality to features
  • The project manager reviews the product features made by the developers and requests revisions

The process repeats until the product finally achieves the product manager’s vision.

PayPal’s design team recognized the problems in these traditional methodologies. It created a more streamlined approach that met the company’s needs. Read on to learn more about how PayPal’s approach can offer you greater insight into improving your own processes.

Table of Contents

Move your product model process toward a code-based, systemic approach

It only takes a little insight to realize that the traditional product model process hurts business models and cuts into profitability. PayPal found a more efficient product developing an operating model that broke down silos between departments and gave developers and product managers more control over their work.

PayPal called their approach DesignOps 2.0. Designers created assets that everyone could use to build different products without straying from the aesthetics and features PayPal’s stakeholders expect. The code-based, systemic approach meant that they could often cut product design time in half.

Enable product managers and teams to do design

PayPal has an impressive team of designers willing to tackle exceptional challenges. As they saw the number of UX developers grow within the company, the small team of designers decided to adapt. They expanded the scope of what people outside the design team could do, to improve the overall process. You can follow some of their steps to improve your product design and development model.

Build a library of reusable templates, visual assets, and interactive components

PayPal’s design team built an original design system for everyone to use. To streamline things, you still need designers and developers in this process, but they don’t have to play such hands-on roles. The product manager doesn’t need to approach the design team to talk about wireframing the tool. Instead, the manager uses the design system to find an existing template. Designers don’t need to create unique logos, buttons, and other visual assets, either.

Build a design system that includes the templates, visual assets, and interactive components that managers need to make products without relying on designers and developers. For example, when a manager wants to add a digital tool that tracks defects, the person can open a template, make changes to reflect the tool’s goal, and test the prototype to make sure it functions as intended.

Recommended reading: 7 Best Reasons to Use React.js Components in Your Project

Establish significant guardrails to keep developers on track

Code-based design components need to give managers and developers some flexibility. Good product management, however, must prevent people from deviating too far from the company’s aesthetic and expected features. If a new IT product doesn’t function like similar products, it will confuse users.

Designers can keep everyone in line by establishing significant guardrails that do not let others stray too far from other tools in the company’s product portfolio.

Recommended reading: Design with Code

Make it easy for new product developers to schedule time with designers

PayPal’s design team has found that developers can finish more than 80 percent of product development work without their assistance. A product that gets used by a lot of employees or sent to customers, however, needs input from the design team. They have made it easy for developers and product managers to get the direction they need.

First, the team provides exceptional training tools that help non-designers do as much of the work as possible. Employees have access to more than three hours of training videos. They can also:

  • Access 60+ prototyping components
  • Schedule office hours to meet with a designer in person or virtually
  • Use a Slack channel to get feedback and instructions

In the end, the design team will go through full products before releasing them. The final step helps ensure accuracy and functionality. Changes rarely involve much additional work because the designers have set up their colleagues to succeed.

Recommended viewing: Watch Sandeep Yeole, a product manager at PayPal, build a product with UXPin Merge

Adopt UXPin Merge to streamline product development

UXPin Merge plays a critical role in the success of PayPal’s design team. Without UXPin Merge, the small department couldn’t build a design system full of code-based components that make it simple for product managers and developers to create products.

When you have all of your approved digital assets in front of you, you can make design changes within minutes or seconds. After some experience, employees outside of the design department could make their own products within less than an hour.

UXPin’s prototyping capabilities also make it easier and faster for PayPal to take full products to market. Prototypes in UXPin work just like completed products. The prototypes use real data, let testers interact with components, and perform like complex products. It’s always a good idea to test digital products for bugs, but prototypes in UXPin rarely need much tweaking.

You can discover the advantages of code-based design, effective design systems, and fully functional prototypes by requesting access to UXPin Merge. The tool has revolutionized the way that PayPal’s designers work. Imagine what it could do for you.

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