Product Innovation Trends

5 Trends for Design Engineers to Watch

A few weeks back I had a great talk with Rob Spiegel of DesignNews about the changing landscape for design engineers, and the trends we’re seeing in team collaboration and technology integrations that will have a major impact on product design and development.

Big changes are occurring in product delivery, and those changes are altering the work environment for design engineers. We are already seeing many of these trends impacting all aspects of product development, from design to delivery.

Greater importance of the product manager

The product manager’s role will be more important in 2015, mostly because the product manager ensures all teams — design, development, and test — are fully integrated. The product manager is responsible for providing a shared vision for every group, and the product manager offers context about the product that allows each group to make improved decisions quickly. As you build larger more distributed teams, it’s important that the product manager is front and center.

Demand for better technology integration

Increasingly, companies want disparate product solutions to work together in a seamless development experience from concept through delivery. Systems used by developers and testers need to be better integrated so they can work collaboratively in a more fluid setting instead of a linear fashion. Today software tools must be tightly integrated from idea through design to help teams make better decisions.

The SaaS evolution will continue to grow

Developers need to be prepared to function in an environment of continual product delivery. Gone are the days of developing and shipping version 1.0, and then turning to 2.0. Right now, only about 2% of IT spending is on cloud tools, but that’s growing dramatically, and teams that deliver software will have to adapt.

Inclusion in C-Suite agenda

The C-Suite has always been focused on product innovation; now it’s focused on product execution. As the economy rebounds and companies enter a more competitive work environment, products will need to be designed right and delivered on time. Company survival may depend on it.

Agile pratices will evolve

Agile developers can no longer afford to do their sprints disconnected from the broader team. Development teams need a common touchstone to ensure they are delivering on the initial product vision and not just a set of features. That said, there is a need for more agility in other areas of product development, including product management, embedded software development, and hardware development. Teams need to deliver smaller units of value faster and they need to tie everyone back to customer need.

This article is an excerpt from an article previously published in DesignNews. You can also read the entire article here and participate in a good conversation going on in the comments.