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The Fountain Institute

Are you stuck in the Delivery Trap?

publishedabout 1 month ago
1 min read

Dear Reader,

You're working as a UX Designer, but something doesn't feel right.

There's never enough time to talk to customers. Instead of satisfying customer needs, you spend all of your time delivering on an endless backlog.

As time goes on, you get pushed further and further towards the end of projects. As the deadlines get shorter, the list of "required" screens grows.

You wonder if the only reason you have a job is that you know Figma, and your manager doesn't. You feel under-challenged and overworked.

What's happening here?

You, my friend, are stuck in the “Delivery Trap.”

“Norman’s Law: The day the product team is announced, it is behind schedule and over its budget.”

— Don Norman

What is the Delivery Trap?

When designers are only judged by outputs and speed, that’s the Delivery Trap.

The Delivery Trap is a concept with many names:

  • Product teams that become a “Feature Factory”
  • The designer as the “Wireframe Monkey”
  • Design as “Pixel Pushing”
  • Products that fall into the “Build Trap”

Companies that put design in the Delivery Trap, appreciate design for the artifacts that it produces, not the problems it solves. They understand design from a UI level, but not the UX level.

These companies think that design is only a delivery phase, especially common in the agency world.

These companies may sell you on the idea of user-centered design but when the job starts, it's all about visuals and output...not customer outcomes.

Design should never be a phase of a project. It should be integral to the whole project.

“Design used to be the seasoning you’d sprinkle on for taste; now it’s the flour you need at the start of the recipe.”

— John Maeda

Design isn't gold plating you can add to the end of a project. Design isn’t a workshop you can run with your team.

It's an end-to-end process that turns customer insights into valuable experiences.

How do you escape the Delivery Trap?

The escape is all about discovery...

Until next week!

Jeff Humble
Designer & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute

P.S. We just announced the first free masterclass of 2023 on research operations called Unlock Your Team's Research Potential