Madelein Taljaard, Experience Design Director for the payroll mid-market sector at Sage Global, talks about the challenges and solutions of creating globally diverse software development teams with a human-centred mindset and culture to design and develop tools based on real user data.

Madelein does not manage her team of designers and developers, but rather collaborates with them to execute on projects. She explains how she does this and how the team goes about gathering data and interpreting this to create solutions collaboratively.

Madelein describes how the team conducts research and draws data from this research in a very rapid way. She says it’s important to get stakeholders to understand that research in this context should be quick so that you can rapidly implement changes based on research findings and test again.

In the exploration phase, it’s crucial to involve the people who will be creating the solutions later: to get them to empathise with users and grasp the importance of quality research; to make the data available to anyone in the team, for both current and future projects. Madelein shares some techniques she uses to ensure that the team is always thinking of the user first and that they employ the mindsets of design thinking.

Madelein shares some insight into how the team goes about low-fidelity prototyping and testing within the software development space. She also shares how she had to change her own mindset and thinking around low-fidelity prototyping.

If you are unfamiliar with design thinking, listen to episode 1, where we discuss the methods and mindsets of design thinking and clear up some of the terminology.