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Published 28 May 2014

Service Design Principles

By Tim Manning

This collection consists of high level principles suited for guiding the design of a service or service operation.

They are divided into 5 different design domains and reflect the design philosophy of Design4Services which is a free online resource for service and service operations design and business transformation.

Source: Design4Services

  1. General Principles

    • Services will be designed against an understanding of purpose, demand and the current capability of the organisation to deliver the service
    • Services will be designed ‘outside-in’ (customer focused), ‘not in-side out’ (internally focused)
    • Services will be designed within the context of the system, not in isolation, e.g. by focusing on the optimisation of the system as a whole, rather than on individual components
    • Services will be designed around an understanding of value and efficiency of flow
    • The design will not treat a special cause of variation as if it was a common cause
    • Services will be co-created with their users
    • Service designs will be prototyped
    • Against a clear business model and high level design, services will be designed, built and deployed incrementally and iteratively, to deliver value early and to inform the design
    • Services will be designed and delivered collaboratively, leveraging maximum benefit from the internal and partner network
  2. Process Design

    • Activities that do not add value for the customer will be minimised
    • Work will be structured around processes, not functions, products or geography
    • The fragmentation of work will be minimised. Where possible, a single individual will have responsibility for a process from start to finish, to minimise hand-offs, reduce errors, delays, rework and administration overhead; and encourage ownership, innovation, creativity and improve control
    • Process complexity will be minimised, by reducing the number of process steps, hand-offs, rules and controls; and by empowering staff to make decisions
    • Multiple versions of a process (tuned to different customer needs, markets, situations or inputs) will be developed where necessary, to ensure that the design of each process is fully aligned to customer demand
    • For any given customer demand, process variation will be minimised to maximise reliability and predictability
    • Linear processing will be minimised, e.g. by avoiding the artificial linear sequencing of tasks and through the use of parallel processing and variable sequencing
    • Excessive process decomposition will be avoided, e.g. by replacing work instructions and call scripts with appropriate staff training and knowledge development
    • Unnecessary process breaks and delays will be minimised
    • The need for reconciliation will be minimised
    • The need for controls will be minimised
    • The need for inspection will be minimised
    • We will only measure what matters
  3. Organisation Design

    • Work groups will be organised by process and competencies
    • Staff will be empowered to make decisions
    • Work will be located where it can be done most efficiently and effectively
  4. Data Design

    • Data will be normalised across the organisation and its partner network
    • Data will be transferable and re-usable across the organisation and its partner network
    • Data entry will be avoided, by using data lookup, selection and confirmation approaches
  5. Technology Design

    • Technology will act as an enabler, rather than as a driver
    • Technology will be ‘pulled’ into a design, not ‘pushed’
    • The technology design will be flexible and agile, able to be easily modified in response to changing business requirements

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