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Abstract:
Tighter SDLC Collaboration Maximizes Clinical Platform Capabilities and User Experience 

A national health insurance client wanted to redesign its utilization management service alongside its clinical software platform. This project required tight collaboration between the client’s software developers and SDLC Partners’ Human Centered Design team.

Ensuring that this project met, both, the client’s need for enhanced technical features, as well as a user experience that delivers value in an easy-to-adopt interface, motivated our team to integrate and move design and development efforts further upstream in the software development lifecycle.

A fresh approach to collaboration means that the client can achieve their vision of a utilization management platform and service that optimizes real-time data analysis and medically necessary interventions for the right patient. 

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The Challenge:
Overcoming Bottlenecks from a Misalignment Between Software Design & Development 

The client had a clear future-state service blueprint along with a clearly defined product strategy for their utilization management platform. The challenge we faced was how to design a utilization management platform in such a way that overcomes bottlenecks that arise from a misalignment between design teams and developers around the feasibility of the prototype build.  

If design teams handed off mockups and prototypes to the developers too late into the process, certain features were deemed unfeasible. This causes changes to the builds at the development level, which might not be communicated back to the design teams. This would lead to rework and waste with the added problem of not meeting the users’, stakeholder’s, or our client’s overarching goals. 

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The Solution:
Breaking Down Silos & Bottlenecks Between Human Centered Design & Software Development

Our goal was to develop a product development process where we eliminated bottlenecks and started to collaborate with developers earlier in the design process. This could ensure we were accounting for technical opportunities and limitations when they were easier to remedy and without adding cost or time. It would also safeguard against teams working in silos, keeping the work tightly collaborative and emphasizing user needs and product goals. 

To achieve these aims, our team reviewed the SDLC process and implemented stringent checkpoints with developers and architects early on to verify the feasibility of prototypes before they were finalized or user-tested. These checkpoints sustained transparency and collaboration, including the development team early in the ideation phase.  

Eventually, our process removed distinct divisions of labor and blended the two teams’ work for greater ownership and productivity. 

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The Results:
Creating Stakeholder-Driven Software Now and Next Time Through Tighter, Earlier Design-Development Collaboration 

The new approach not only eliminated bottlenecks between design and development, but allowed both teams to take advantage of technical capabilities, creating a platform that would deliver the desired user experience, maximizing the required features, and capitalizing on the best professional skills that both teams offered in a very efficient SDLC.  

Consequently, alignment between design and development, and greater shared ownership, helped both teams zero in on the business objectives to ensure that the solution roadmap met those goals. The client is now on track with their strategic goals to design a utilization management platform that enables effective delivery of healthcare services. Additionally, they’ve adopted a new methodology that influences how their SDLC functions and delivers successful products and services across the enterprise. 

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