Conference PaperPDF Available

Integrating Service Design Prototyping into Software Development


Abstract and Figures

Customer-driven service design is becoming an integral part of continuous software development. The fulfilment of needs is manifested through customer behaviour patterns that are often difficult to identify and validate for R&D. This paper investigates how customer involvement in software development can be achieved through experience prototyping. First, participatory action research with four cases is presented. As a result, the benefits, challenges and critical factors for successful service prototyping are identified. Second, a practical model is proposed for integrating service design as sprints within the software development process. Based on the study, the deployment of these methods can be adopted through an organisational culture that invests in the needed mindset, expertise, timing and placement. Contextual and motivating user involvement is important throughout the software development process. A number of important subjects that need further studies, such as service design performance measurement and customer data management, were also identified.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Integrating Service Design Prototyping into Software Development
Tanja Sauvola1, Simo Rontti2, Laura Laivamaa3, Markku Oivo1, Pasi Kuvaja1
1M3S research unit, University of Oulu
2 University of Lapland
AbstractCustomer-driven service design is becoming an
integral part of continuous software development. The
fulfilment of needs is manifested through customer behaviour
patterns that are often difficult to identify and validate for
R&D. This paper investigates how customer involvement in
software development can be achieved through experience
prototyping. First, participatory action research with four
cases is presented. As a result, the benefits, challenges and
critical factors for successful service prototyping are identified.
Second, a practical model is proposed for integrating service
design as sprints within the software development process.
Based on the study, the deployment of these methods can be
adopted through an organisational culture that invests in the
needed mindset, expertise, timing and placement. Contextual
and motivating user involvement is important throughout the
software development process. A number of important subjects
that need further studies, such as service design performance
measurement and customer data management, were also
Keywordscustomer involvement; service design; software
development; experience prototyping
Today, software is transforming almost all industries and
is the main driver for innovation [1]. Elbert stated that all
companies are in the software business either directly with
IT solutions or indirectly with products in which software is
critical for value creation, such as embedded systems, or
value delivery, such as services. In today's highly
competitive and fast-changing markets, software intensive
industry is evolving towards a value driven and adaptive
real-time business paradigm [2]. Hence, we live in a world of
data overload, where any argument in product development
can find supporting data. It is easy to find information to
support our assumptions, but testing them with customers
and then taking corrective actions is still hard [3]. Customer
involvement and understanding customer needs are essential
in software development in order to build successful
products and services. According to Humble, after failing to
deliver value for customers, the second largest risk in
product development is building the wrong thing the right
way and overinvesting in unproven opportunities. For this
reason software companies need to continuously collect
customer feedback and validate assumptions during the
development process in order to build a product that is the
best fit for customer needs [3][4][5]. However, customer
needs are often difficult to identify and they can change
rapidly. Obtaining tacit and complex knowledge from
customers is hard, as interacting and talking to customers
may often be misleading, e.g., asking customers for
information that they are not able to provide, such as what
product to develop or technologies it should contain [6].
Agile methods [7][8] and Lean Startup [9] philosophy are
addressing these issues by offering a range of techniques for
more flexible ways of working. The aim is to produce a
definition of a new service concept or the 'minimum viable
product', which is to be implemented in markets as fast as
possible with minimum effort, allowing us to measure how
customers react and then validate findings.
Service design (SD) is an ascendant field of research
where cultural, social and human interaction are connected
[10]. The customer-driven SD approach aims at products and
services that are useful, usable and desirable from the user's
point of view and efficient from the service or product
producer's point of view [11]. Service design has already
taken place in the business-to-consumer (B2C) context, but it
is also recognised as a useful approach in the business-to-
business (B2B) context as well as in the internal
development of organisations' processes [12]. More recently,
a few process models and working practices, such as Lean
UX [13], user story mapping [14] and design sprint models
[15][16], have been introduced under both service design and
user experience (UX) design titles and attempt to synthesise
service design thinking, agile software development and lean
start-up philosophies.
In this study, using four case projects from Finnish
companies, we examine the role and impact of the
experience prototyping methods of service design in
software development contexts. Therefore, the main research
question is:
RQ: How can service design be integrated into software
development through a collaborative experience prototyping
In exploring this we also ask:
What are the benefits, challenges and critical factors
of collaborative experience prototyping in software
What is the position and role of service design in
software development?
The contribution of the paper is twofold. First, we present
a participatory action research study with four cases, where
we identify the role of SD and benefits, challenges and
critical factors of experience prototyping in the software
development context. Second, we outline a practical model
for integrating SD in the software development process in
order to increase customer insights and solve problems that
are relevant for customers and thereby deliver value.
The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Section II
presents the background and related work for this study.
Section III presents study design and research method. In
Section IV, we present and discuss our results from the
empirical study and outline the findings in a practical model
for integrating service design in software development
projects. Finally, Section V concludes this paper and
suggests topics for future research.
A. Customer involvement in software development
Today, software is developed in rapidly changing and
unpredictable markets, with complex and constantly
changing customer requirements and the added pressure to
shorten time-to-market [17]. Agile methods, which are
widely adopted in the software industry [18], facilitate more
flexible ways of organising software development activities
in order to better meet the dynamic and unpredictable
conditions in the business environment. Many different agile
methodologies have been devised, such as Extreme
Programming, Scrum, Kanban and Lean software
development, which to some extent share the underlying
mindset but use different implementations [2]. As stated by
Nerur et al., agile methods are people-centric, recognising
the value that competent people and their relationships bring
to software development. In addition, agile methods focus on
improving customer satisfaction through collaboration,
active participation of relevant stakeholders and embracing
change. The value of agile methods depends largely on an
organisation's ability to learn. [19]
In the Agile software engineering literature [8][19],
customer involvement is seen as the direction software
companies should take to transform their practices
throughout the development process. Typically, this is
addressed by having a product owner represent the customer
point of view [4]. However, recent studies show that even
though ways of learning about customers are increasing,
software companies often find it challenging to obtain timely
and accurate feedback from customers to support research
and development (R&D) decision-making processes
continuously [4][5]. Customer involvement is studied widely
in areas such as participatory design, user-centric design,
usability engineering, human aspects of software engineering
and requirements engineering [20].
Customer involvement is an abstract concept that refers
to ways in which customers play roles in the software
development process and the extent of their participation.
Customer involvement is referred to as direct interaction
using techniques based on active customer participation [21].
Through the years, a long list of practices and methods has
been introduced to enable user participation and
involvement. Although user participation seems to be a
beneficial and well-understood approach in product
development, direct user involvement may not always be
feasible. The situation is especially difficult in business
markets when a wide physical or cultural gap exists between
suppliers and customers and there can be multiple
organisations and management layers between developers
and users. The SD approach introduced in the next section
offers a method to bridge this gap.
B. Service design approach
SD is a methodological approach, which can be used for
customer involvement during the software development
process. It is a holistic, multidisciplinary field that helps to
innovate and improve existing products and services as well
as make them more useful and desirable for customers [22].
Service design provides methods and tools for concretising
and understanding user motivations and emotions during the
development process for all the stakeholders involved. In
B2B markets in particular, a large number of internal and
external stakeholders must be considered, such as users,
decision makers, developers, etc. The SD approach
integrates the themes of a customer's emotions and
experiences in the innovation process and concretises them
for the benefit of value co-creation efforts [23].
Service design offers an outside-in-development
approach, where products and services are developed
holistically from customers' and end-users' point of view. In
the B2B context, it means studying both the client business'
and the end-users' processes, needs and wants. SD views the
entire customer journey before, during and after the actual
service in order to design the process fluently and support
customers' goals [19]. Another key concept is the touchpoint
through which the product or service is experienced;
touchpoints are anything that can be designed in order to
direct user experience in the desired direction [24]. This
includes not only software user interfaces but also phone
service, face-to-face communication, social media, signs,
service premises, prints, physical tokens and their
interconnection from the customer point of view. The
touchpoint concept can also be looked at from the software
development point of view (inside-out), as a link to
customers through traditional product development phases:
requirements, development, verification and validation and
post-deployment where qualitative and quantitative data is
collected [5].
The concept of co-creating value is defined by Srivastava
and Verma as systematic and structured process based on
collaboration with external stakeholders to generate value for
the company as well as for the customers [25]. In the SD
process, customers are not considered merely as feedback
informants but as active participants from the beginning to
the end of the process. In the process, customers may be
targets of study via qualitative methods, such as interviews
and observation, or customers can be asked to produce the
customer data themselves using self-documentation methods,
such as design probes [26]. Co-design is emphasised in SD,
which refers to the process in which stakeholders are
involved in concrete productive design tasks. These
workshop sessions typically include collaborative
prototyping and other means of expressing the information
Figure 1. They key concepts and the research setting of this paper.
needed in the design process facilitated by design
professionals [27]. Recently, the workshop-based SD process
has led to the compression of service design into a short but
efficient design sprint as the pre-development phase in a lean
and agile software development process [15][16].
According to Buchenau and Fulton Suri, experience
prototyping is a key method in co-design sessions, serving as
an efficient medium for concretising and empathising with
customer insight. The aim of experience prototyping is to
represent and prototype different design concepts and ideas.
Prototypes are defined as 'representations of a design made
before final artefacts exist'. To them the term 'experience
design' consists of methods that make it possible for
designers, customers and users to reach a common
understanding of the forthcoming results (products or
services) of the ongoing project. Experience prototypes may
include suggestive staging; 'quick and dirty' card mockups,
taking the roles of both customer and service provider and
enacting service situations. Experience prototyping has three
roles in the design process: understanding customer insight
findings, exploring new ideas and communicating concepts
to others. [28]
Pinheiro lists three main goals for how early experience
prototypes can be used in a project: '(1) set the context for
users to participate in idea generation and co-design, (2)
service enactment, or role-play, to explain or lean from a
complex concept and (3) test to validate specific service
interactions or the entire service journey'. The experience
prototype can serve as an earlier, more inexpensive and
efficient version of the minimum viable product (MVP)
emphasised in Lean Startup philosophy. [15]
Several methods and facilities have been developed in
order to enhance the facilitation of co-design and holistic
experience prototyping. The Service Innovation Corner
(SINCO) is a service prototyping environment concept
developed at the University of Lapland [29]. SINCO consists
of the environment and a set of tools for co-design and
experience prototyping. In SINCO, technological equipment
and digital material, such as photos, videos, and sounds, are
used to create the atmosphere of actual service moments for
prototyping and re-enactment. The SINCO set-up has two
117' background projection screens perpendicular to each
other to provide the background scenery and enable partial
yet immersive spatiality [30]. SINCO methods and tools
were applied in this research when conducting co-creation
workshops with the case companies. Fig. 1 summarises the
research setting and the interrelations of the key concepts of
this paper.
In this section, research methods and settings, data
collection activities and analysis are presented.
A. Research method
The aim of this paper is to study the role and impacts of
experience prototyping methods of service design in the
software development context. We apply the multiple case
study approach, which adopts an interpretive approach [31].
The multiple-case study is suitable for this study because it
allows the researchers to study the phenomenon in a real life
setting as well as a cross-case analysis of the data. The
general research framework for this study can be
characterised as participatory action research (PAR), as
described by Whyte, with the research activities taking place
in empirical context advancing both science and practice
[32]. PAR is a social process involving practitioners in the
research from the initial design of the project through data
gathering and analysis to final conclusions and actions
arising out of the research. Methods to achieve the research
goal include end-user interviews, role plays and data and
information visualisations. They also include experience
prototyping in the SINCO environment where both
customers' and end-users' tangible and intangible needs and
wants were examined with scenarios including images, video
and audio material. The approach to these methods is also
PAR, in that it studies a situation and a set of problems to
determine what the facts through self-reflective iterative
cycles. This can also be described as a co-learning process
between researchers and workshop participants resulting to
organisational learning and change [32][33].
B. Case companies
The study uses empirical data from four case companies
in Finland. We refer to the companies as Company A, B, C
and D. The four companies were selected using convenience
sampling from a group of Finnish leading-edge companies
participating in two large national research programmes.
Company A is developing embedded software solutions for
specialised markets in the wireless and automotive industry.
It also provides B2B product development services and
customised solutions for wireless communications. The
focus of the case was to increase user insights of special
devices used in specialised market segments, such as public
safety. Company B is an SME operating in metal industry,
manufacturing hydraulic cylinders and offering cylinder
maintenance services for big industry clients. The focus of
the project in the company was to develop a digital
maintenance service. Company C operates in the software
industry, offering a variety of IT solutions focusing on data
security operations, mainly in B2B and B2C markets.
Figure 2. Example of the SD workshops: Experience prototyping public safety communication use cases in the SINCO.
Company D is a multinational bank operating on both B2B
and B2C markets. The focus of the case project was to
analyse and improve online banking services.
C. Data collection and analysis
Empirical data was collected from December 2013 to
March 2014 (Companies B and D) and from November 2014
to September 2015 (Companies A and C), using semi-
structured interviews with open ended questions [n=11],
workshops [n=12], group discussions [n=10], field diaries by
the service design team during workshops [n=13] and
secondary data [n=29]. The interviewees and workshop
attendees were selected by a key contact person from each
company who was asked to nominate experts from various
departments, such as product management, R&D, validation
and verification, sales and marketing and, in some cases,
contact centre and customer counter functions. The interview
guide allowed us to conduct the interviews in the form of a
discussion with each interviewee that lasted approximately
12 hours.
The workshops (Fig. 2), besides being an integral part of
the service design sprints, can be considered as participative
action research cycles, producing data about the research
phenomenon [31]. In the workshops, SD was turned into
action through service design sprints affiliated to the
company's existing R&D, business development or
marketing processes. All workshop participants had a lot of
experience of working in the company on multiple projects.
Workshops lasted approximately between 35 hours and
were facilitated by 13 service designers. Workshops and
interviews were video and audio recorded and transcribed for
analysis. In addition, participatory observation was used as a
research method in this study. These field diary notes were
important, as the emerged emotions during the workshops,
such as frustration, anger or laughter, were observed and
documented carefully. In addition, secondary data was
collected from the case companies: (1) process models and
other documents, (2) both individual and group interviews of
the potential end-users and (3) material from workshops and
In our study, we assess three aspects of validity, i.e.
construct validity, external validity and reliability, as
identified by Runeson et al. [30]. Prior to data collection, the
research design that also included the data collection process
was carefully considered. The activity involved selecting
appropriate companies and roles for the interviews and
providing all interviewees with introductory materials (e.g.,
study objectives, the structure of the workshops and
interviews, etc.). Threats to the reliability of the study
findings were mitigated by three researchers involved in all
the phases of the research process. In particular, data
collection and analysis was performed in continuous
collaboration following the general techniques for case study
analysis and used the QSR NVivo tool
. During the analysis,
all materials, including transcripts, field notes, audio and
video files and other related material, were stored in NVivo.
All transcribed interviews were carefully read and coded by
themes. The results were produced by looking for themes
related to the research question.
Based on the empirical findings, this section presents and
discuss the identified benefits, challenges and critical factors
of service prototyping in a software development context
(Tables I, II and III). Additionally, a practical model for
integrating service design sprints into the software
development process is outlined and discussed (Fig. 3).
A. Experience prototyping in software development
The use of SD experience prototyping methods has
benefits and challenges. The findings from each case study
company show, that at their best, these methods can nourish
and support innovation and development culture. The most
important offering of the workshops, according to many of
the participants, was the liberalisation of mindsets.
Experience prototyping methods also allow for the efficient
constitution of a complete understanding of all stakeholders'
viewpoints. These methods were seen as pleasant and
motivating but also challenging because participants had to
step out of their comfort zone. According to workshop
participants, they were able to develop significant
knowledge, skills, and emotions by experience prototyping
in an emergent process that empowered people to engage in
discovery, reflection and even action (Fig. 2). Testing of
business hypotheses and assumptions in product
development could be then turned into faster and more
accurate decision-making and value creation. Table I
categorises and describes the identified benefits and Table II
categorises and describes the identified challenges of
experience prototyping based on the research data. In Table
III, we also identified critical factors that need to be
considered in order to successfully implement experience
prototyping within company processes.
SD methods help to improve communication
between all the stakeholders (e.g., management,
sales, development team, customer and end-users).
Collaborative prototyping sessions also increase
transparency in the organisation by uncovering
grassroots knowledge to be exploited in
development even on strategic and business level.
Instant feedback
Presents an opportunity to get instant and direct
feedback from the end-users.
motivation and
SD methods motivate development teams,
customers and end-users to innovate, co-develop
and more actively participate in the development
process. SD methods also support and sustain
innovation process.
Mindset change
It brings out the user oriented mindset and changes
the viewpoint from insight-out to outside-in.
Customer journey walkthrough and empathising the
customer role inherently leads to customer-centric
development approach (outside-in) instead of just
pushing new technology based features (inside-out).
Learning and
decision making
This accelerates the decision-making, e.g., via more
efficient distribution and understanding of the
information. In the process, tacit knowledge is
converted to tangible knowledge. This is an
opportunity to find behaviours and patterns about
which users are not aware. Learning process with
different levels: individual, team and organisational.
prioritisation of
features or
potential market
SD methods help stakeholders to identify and
prioritise features as well as avoid building
unnecessary functions based on deeper
understanding of end-user needs. It may also help to
identify new potential products/services or market
segments and even reduce time to market.
Value creation
Value can be created from intangible end-user
experiences and emotions. Quick and cost effective
way to test new ideas before any development work
is done.
Special skills and environment are needed to
facilitate SINCO workshops. Companies do not
have the premises nor facilitation capabilities.
Due to increasing demands and hectic business
schedules, it may be challenging to find suitable
time for all stakeholders to participate in a
workshop at the same time. In the B2B context,
involving end-users may be challenging.
and data
Lack of systematic ways to collect customer data
and identify metrics for how to measure customer
value and no practices for documenting and
integrating workshop results back to the existing
processes. Video was identified as an effective
medium to document and communicate experience
prototypes but companies' IT systems don't
necessarily offer suitable ways to store and tag
Timing and
placement of
the workshop
Proper timing and placement of the workshop with
the company's process. In two of the cases, the
involvement of end users and the whole SD sprint
took place too late in the development process.
Critical factor
Service design
In-house and outsourced service design expertise is
utilised. In-house service design expertise is needed
to pursue the co-creation model forward and to be
able to facilitate and/or purchase facilitation on
demand. The outsider view was needed to help
companies apply an outside-in customer-centric
development approach.
Understanding the business challenge and the
context is critical. Preparations phase consists of
brief from the case company, collecting information
(benchmarking, observations, mystery shopping
etc.) and information analysis for scenarios
formation. Defining which information will be
collected as the result of the workshop session, and
Role of SD sprint
Positioning of
SD sprint
Novelty customer involvement platform to validate the holistic
user experience of a communication device and its ecosystem
Indirect link to ongoing software development, complementing
product backlog, validating overall product/service quality
(software development being one sub problem of the design,
manufacturing and delivery of the electronic device/platform
under development)
Pre-development tool for a new maintenance service concept.
Providing a service vision and come up with a roadmap for IT
service development.
SD sprint as a pre-development phase of software development,
online-software concept/backlog as a core deliverable of the SD
Make corporate internal operations and knowledge visible
through gamification and prototyping.
Pre-development phase, online service portal concept/mockup
being a central deliverable of SD sprint.
Validate and finish the user experience of new service concept
consisting of new online channels already being in
implementation phase.
Indirect link to already ongoing software development,
complementing product backlog, validating overall
product/service quality
Critical factor
The facilitator must be able to direct the participants
and experience prototyping session as well as
rapidly build mock-ups during the session.
Facilitator defines the point of view through which
matters are analysed. Also, proper rhythm of
different collaboration modes: presenting
background information, enacting and gathering and
analysing insights unveiled in the drama (role play)
are important.
Involvement of
real customers
and end users
Involving real users to both the customer insight
phase (in workshop and during the preceding field
study) and concept testing is critical in order to
validate the findings.
Our results indicate that, typically in the B2B context,
there is no direct interface between the development team
and users. Often this is due to the intermediaries in the
supply chain. We also noticed that even if the link between
the development team and the users does exist, this
opportunity is rarely fully utilised, and typically users are
involved too late in the process. For development teams, this
may lead to a situation where it is difficult to understand the
reasons behind the requirements and validate which features
bring real value. Experience prototyping workshops acted as
a tool for innovation, communication and interpreter
emphasising stakeholder experiences, thus allowing different
points of views to be discussed. It provided instant and
detailed insight about end-user motivations in different
situations and the possibility to test various different service
or development options. In experience prototyping
workshops, involving real users is necessary in order to
enable deep customer insight efficiently as well as test and
validate the findings. By observing the workshop sessions,
we noticed that sessions that were too long are challenging
and may become a tiresome activity, especially when the
methods used were unfamiliar to most of the participants.
Therefore, it is important to balance the time between the
workshops and discussion activities and provide clear
instructions to the attendees.
Essentially, the challenge for companies today is no
longer how to solve technical issues but rather how to solve
problems that are relevant for customers and end users. This
requires changing the company culture and mind-set from
'insight-out' technology and features first thinking towards
more customer-centric 'outside-in' approach.
B. Integrating service design sprint into software
development processes
The role of SD varied with to R&D phase and the
lifecycle point of the software being developed. The roles
and the positioning of the service design sprints against
software development process in the case companies is
presented in Table IV.
Through the findings from the company cases, we
identified that SD experience prototyping could to be
considered as a new development strategy. In all cases, the
companies' company culture was identified as a key factor to
support change and encourage constant learning. SD
methods provide one set of tools for gaining this lacking user
knowledge. As a result of our study, we present a practical
model of how to introduce SD experience prototyping into
Agile Scrum process as sprints (Fig. 3.). In the model, user
knowledge is used for continuous learning during the Scrum
process, which can be used to test, validate and prioritise
features, update the product roadmap, improve the product or
service and ultimately result in better customer satisfaction.
The model builds on the possibility of learning and executing
small tasks that are delivered as an MVP to customers.
In the proposed model, the SD experience prototyping
sprints take place in three phases of the agile software
development process. The first SD sprint focuses on
customer insight and analysing the customer journey through
the holistic service experience in which the software product
is part. The involvement of real customers and end-users is
crucial during this first SD sprint. The first SD sprint results
in the product backlog of the MVP or script for the minimum
Figure 3. Service design sprint as a part of the Agile Scrum process
valuable service. The second position, where holistic user
experience prototyping takes place, happens during the
software development sprint as company's internal holistic
user experience (UX) check point tool. The aim is to validate
and integrate the developed individual software features into
a common vision of the holistic outside-in service experience
at regular intervals. The third experience prototyping sprint
takes place before actual commercial launch of a service.
Depending on the case, this sprint may have different foci.
The first is evaluating the product or service concept with
customers and other external stakeholders in order to accept
and refine the critical points of the customer journey before
deployment. The second purpose is to educate relevant
stakeholders (e.g., sales, marketing and support) of the
software use cases and customer experience related sales
arguments. The responsibility of coordinating the SD sprints
falls naturally to the product owner. The actual facilitation of
the experience prototyping sessions requires hiring or
purchasing special service design expertise, or it may fall
under UX designers' responsibility as new expertise with the
need for education and training.
Users expect nothing less than great products that are
easy to use and bring value regardless of technology,
platform or context. Delivering value in constantly changing
markets and meeting customer needs are key success factors
for any business. The objective of this paper was to study the
role and impact of experience prototyping in software
development projects, including its benefits, challenges and
critical factors.
Our study shows that during the case projects, the role of
SD was to concretise customers' and end-users' needs to
internal stakeholders and to innovate, validate and create
new product or service concepts holistically. The methods to
achieve the aim included end-user interviews, followed by
workshops and role plays, data and information
visualisations as well as experience prototyping during the
workshops in the SINCO environment. In general, SD
methods enhance the software development process and
benefit both the developers and users by enabling companies
to develop customer-centric products and services that are
useful, desirable and competitive in the market. We
identified a number of benefits of experience prototyping in
the software development context, such as instant feedback,
faster and more accurate decision-making, continuous
learning as well as focusing the development effort on things
that bring value to users are some of the perceived benefits.
Furthermore, we identified challenges and critical factors
that could block the use of SD methods during development
activities, such as stakeholder availability, special skills and
the environment needed for workshop facilitation, etc. Based
on the results, we present a practical model of how to
integrate SD prototyping sprints in software development
processes. The model builds on existing software
development practices with short learning and iteration
cycles, where customer experience can be improved by
arcing out the situation, making quick improvements and
prototyping the experience again. In the proposed model, the
SD experience prototyping sprints take place in three phases
(before, during and after) of the agile software development
It is important to note that due to the methodological
nature of our research, generalisation based on the results is
inherently limited. However, our research results offer a
fruitful ground for future studies on using experience
prototyping or other SD methods in software development
practices. Our future research will aim to validate the
proposed model in an empirical context. For future research,
it could be important to identify mechanisms that can be used
to analyse and incorporate workshop results into software
development processes and identify metrics for analysing
customer value.
This work was supported by TEKES (Finnish Fund for
Technology and Innovation) as part of the 'Need for Speed'
project ( and 'Value through Emotion'
project. This work has been done in co-operation with
research group (M3S) from the University of Oulu and
University of Lapland.
[1] C. Elbert, 'Looking into the future'. IEEE Software, vol. 32,
no. 6, pp. 9297, 2015.
[2] J. Järvinen, T. Huomo, T. Mikkonen and P. Tyrväinen, 'From
Agile software development to Mercury business' In Software
Business. Towards Continuous Value Delivery, Cyprus:
Springer, vol. 182, pp. 5871, 2014,
[3] J. Humble and J. Molesky, Lean Enterprise: How High
Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale, CA, USA:
O'Reilly, 2015.
[4] H. H. Olsson and J. Bosch, 'Towards continuous customer
validation: A conceptual model for combining qualitative
customer feedback with quantitative customer observation', in
Software Business: 6th International Conference, ICSOB,
Portugal, pp 154-166, 2015.
[5] T. Sauvola, L. E. Lwakatare, T. Karvonen, P. Kuvaja, H. H.
Olsson and J. Bosch. 'Towards customer-centric software
development, a multiple-case study', in 41st Euromicro
Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced
Applications (SEAA), Portugal, pp 9-17, 2015.
[6] A. Griffin, 'Obtaining customers' needs for product
development', in K.B. Kahn, The PDMA Handbook of New
Product Development, 3rd Ed., Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, pp. 213
230, 2013.
[7] J. Highsmith, Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative
Products. New York, NY: Addison-Wesley, 2009.
[8] T. Dybå and T. Dingsøyr, 'Empirical studies of agile software
development: A systematic review', Information and Software
Technology. vol. 50, pp. 833859, 2008.
[9] E. Ries, The Lean Startup. How Constant innovation Creates
Radically Successful Businesses. UK: Penguin, 2011.
[10] S. Miettinen and A. Valtonen, (Eds), Service Design with
Theory. Discussions on Change, Value and Methods.
Rovaniemi, Finland: Lapland University Press, 2012.
[11] E. Kuure and S. Miettinen, 'Learning through action:
Introducing the innovative simulation and learning
environment Service Innovation Corner (SINCO)', presented
at World Conference on E-Learning, 21-24 October, Las
Vegas, NV, USA, pp. 1536-1545, 2013.
[12] B. Reason, 'Mind your own business. Service Design in a
B2B'. Touchpoint Journal, Service Design Network, vol. 1,
no. 3, January 2010.
[13] J. Gothelf and J. Seiden, Lean UX. Applying Lean Principles
to Improve User Experience, USA: O'Reilly, 2013.
[14] J. Patton, User story mapping. Discover the whole story, build
the right product. Sebastopol, CA, USA: O'Reilly, 2014.
[15] T. Pinheiro, The Service Startup. Design Gets Lean. USA:
Hayakawa, Altabooks and Createspace, 2014.
[16] J. Knapp, J. Zeratsky and B. Kowitz, Sprint. How to solve big
problems and test new ideas in just five days. New York, NY,
USA: Simon & Schuster, 2016.
[17] G. G. Claps, R. B. Svensson and A. Aurum, 'On the journey
to continuous deployment: Technical and social challenges
along the way,' Information and Software Technology, vol.
57, pp. 2131, 2015.
[18] P. Rodríguez, J. Partanen, P. Kuvaja and M. Oivo,
'Combining lean thinking and agile methods for software
development: a case study of a Finnish provider of wireless
embedded systems detailed', in 47th Hawaii International
Conference on System Sciences, IEEE, pp 4770 4779, 2014.
[19] S. Nerur and V. Balijepally, 'Theoretical reflections on agile
development methodologies'. Communications of the ACM
Emergency Response Information Systems: Emerging Trends
and Technologies, vol. 50, no. 3,pp 79-83, 2007.
[20] U. Abelein and B. Peach, 'Understanding the influence of user
participation and involvement on system successA
systematic mapping study,' J. Empirical Software
Engineering, vol. 20, pp. 2881, 2013.
[21] S. G. Yaman, T. Sauvola, L. Riungu-Kalliosaari, L.Hokkanen,
P. Kuvaja, M. Oivo and T. Männistö, 'Customer involvement
in continuous deployment: a systematic literature review', in
Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality,
22nd International Working Conference, REFSQ, Sweden, pp
249265, 2016.
[22] M. Stickdorn and J. Schneider, This Is Service Design
Thinking: Basics, Tools, Cases. New York, NY, USA: Wiley,
[23] S. Miettinen, S. Rontti and J. Jeminen, 'Co-prototyping
emotional value', in 19th DMI: Academic Design
Management Conference. Design Management in an Era of
Disruption, London, UK, pp. 2-4, 2014.
[24] J. Howard, 'On the origin of touchpoints. design for service
research, patterns and observation'. [Online]. Available:
[25] R. M. Srivastava and S. Verma, Strategic Management.
Concepts, Skills and Practices, New Delhi: PHI Learning,
[26] T. Mattelmäki, Design Probes. Finland: University of Art and
Design Helsinki, 2006.
[27] Y. Lee, 'Design participation tactics: The challenges and new
roles for designers in the co-design process'. CoDesign
Internal Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, vol. 4,
no. 1, pp. 3150, March 2008.
[28] M. Buchenau and J. Fulton Suri, 'Experience prototyping', in
Proc. 3rd Conference on Designing Interactive Systems:
Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques (DIS '00),
ACM, USA, pp. 424-433, 2000.
[29] S. Rontti, S. Miettinen, E. Kuure and A. Lindström, 'A
Laboratory Concept for Service PrototypingService
Innovation Corner (SINCO)', in Service Design and
Innovation Conference (ServDes 2012), Helsinki, Finland, pp.
229-241, 2012.
[30] S. Rontti, S. Miettinen, E. Kuure and A. Lindström, 'Agile
techniques in service prototyping', in Service Design with
Theory. Discussions on Change, Value and Methods, S.
Miettinen and A. Valtonen, Eds. Rovaniemi, Finland: Lapland
University Press, pp. 189196, 2012.
[31] P. Runeson, M. Höst, A. Rainer and B. Regnell, Case Study
Research in Software Engineering: Guidelines and Examples.
NJ: Wiley, 2012.
[32] W. F Whyte, Participatory Action Research, USA: Sage,
[33] J. M. Chevalier and D. J. Buckles, Handbook for
Participatory Action Research, Planning and Evaluation.
Ottawa: SAS2 Dialogue. [Online]. Available:
ites/all/files/manager/Toolkit_En_March7_2013-S.pdf, 2013
... The requirements of users can also be studied during their experiences when they come into contact with the product, related service(s) or a prototype of the product (Kawano et al., 2019). These are called as touchpoints and can provide details on how users interact with the product, that can be then used to inform further design and development decisions (Sauvola et al., 2016). Noting and tracking touchpoints can let the team shape the user experience of the product in a certain direction (Howard, 2007), which can lead to creation of compelling user experiences. ...
... Noting and tracking touchpoints can let the team shape the user experience of the product in a certain direction (Howard, 2007), which can lead to creation of compelling user experiences. The touchpoints concept can be applied alongside agile based requirement elicitation techniques such as user stories since both approaches treat customers as partners in the design and development process of applications (Sauvola et al., 2016;Schön et al., 2017). In addition, many recent product and business development approaches often uses personas to represent the user archetype. ...
... User stories Touchpoints Personas Competing products (Cohn, 2004), (Wagner, 2001), (Silva et al., 2016), (Beck, 2000), (Wang et al., 2014), (Lucassen et al., 2016), (Heeager & Nielsen, 2018), (Bjarnason et al., 2011;Cao & Ramesh, 2008;Paetsch et al., 2003), (Hummel & Epp, 2015;Myers, 2019), (Olsson & Bosch, 2015), (Käpyaho & Kauppinen, 2015). (Kawano et al., 2019), (Howard, 2007), (Sauvola et al., 2016;Schön et al., 2017). (Haas & Kunz, 2010), (Wölbling et al., 2012), (Perdana et al., 2017), (Müller & Thoring, 2012). ...
Although software startups are seen as engines of rapid growth and sources of disruptive innovation, these entities are known to have a high failure rate. In addition to this, owing to the rapidly evolving technology sector and the ever-changing needs of the modern business and consumer markets, it might be worth reviewing the development methodologies presently in use for relevance. Considering newer technological constructs such as cloud computing and corresponding impact that could have on the development process such as the ability to quickly scale will need to be studied as part of such a review. This research works reviews current literature for product, business model, and integrated frameworks involving the two spaces to present the various aspects covered as part of the different paradigms of startup development within the software space. The resultant review presents the areas covered by the different paradigms and presents a view of the various areas from the viewpoint of software startup success factors.
... As part of that effort, the various points of interaction when a user comes into contact with the solution can provide valuable insight to the team regarding the needs of the user [68]. These are known as touchpoints and can inform the development team on how the product is being used, along with details that can serve as inputs to the evolving design and development process [69]. This stage encourages the development team to highlight how the solution will help leverage the customer touchpoint and what the anticipated impact of such an intervention might turn out to be. ...
Full-text available
Software startups are temporary organizations created with the purpose of bringing a profitable business idea to life. In the initial stages, the commercial viability of any product concept is yet to be proven and until the startup can generate revenue, resources are always in short supply. To this end, this research proposes a process-oriented, competition-aware, metric-driven business model development and innovation framework. The proposed framework is designed to aid this process, by supporting the creation and validation of the business model. A web-based tool is created to demonstrate the working of the proposed model and validation is performed using survey data collected from the usage experience of participants. The data is used to evaluate the research questions and the ability of the proposed framework to overcome the shortcomings of the business model canvas. The results showed that the tool (and by extension, the framework) made the task of business model creation a quick and easy process, while at the same time covering all the required areas to create a holistic business model. The framework contributes to startup success by creating a structured approach to business development, helping to visualize the avenues for product differentiation and planning growth.
Full-text available
The chapter is an introduction to service design. It starts by introducing design thinking and how it recently became adapted by the specifics of service to become service design. It uses theory and practice to describe key terms, competences and approaches to explain what service design is, and how it is a means of designing for trust. © Marika Lüders, Tor W. Andreassen, Simon Clatworthy and Tore Hillestad 2017. All rights reserved.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
[Context and motivation] In order to build successful software products and services, customer involvement and an understanding of customers’ requirements and behaviours during the development process are essential. [Question/Problem] Although continuous deployment is gaining attention in the software industry as an approach for continuously learning from customers, there is no common overview of the topic yet. [Principal ideas/results] To provide a common overview, we conduct a secondary study that explores the state of reported evidence on customer input during continuous deployment in software engineering, including the potential benefits, challenges, methods and tools of the field. [Contribution] We report on a systematic literature review covering 25 primary studies. Our analysis of these studies reveals that although customer involvement in continuous deployment is highly relevant in the software industry today, it has been relatively unexplored in academic research. The field is seen as beneficial, but there are a number of challenges related to it, such as misperceptions among customers. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the research field, we clarify the gaps in knowledge that need to be studied further.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Customer involvement in software development is essential for building successful software products. Incremental improvements and enhancements of software require an in-depth and continuous understanding of customer needs. Also, mechanisms for managing customer feedback data need to be in place. However, previous research shows that the feedback loops from customers are slow and the process for obtaining timely feedback is challenging. In this study, we investigate customer feedback mechanisms and the ways in which customer data can be used to inform continuous improvement of software products. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, we present a multiple-case study conducted in five Finnish software companies, where we identify how customer feedback data is collected and used in different product development activities. Second, we provide an explanatory 'customer touch point' (CTP) model which provides an overall understanding of customer feedback data collection and the related challenges in the case companies during software development.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Software-intensive product companies are becoming increasingly data-driven as can be witnessed by the big data and Internet of Things trends. However, optimally prioritizing customer needs in a mass-market context is notoriously difficult. While most companies use product owners or managers to represent the customer, research shows that the prioritization made is far from optimal. In earlier research, we have coined the term ‘the open loop problem’ to characterize this challenge. For instance, research shows that up to half of all the features in products are never used. This paper presents a conceptual model that emphasizes the need for combining qualitative feedback in early stages of development with quantitative customer observation in later stages of development. Our model is inductively derived from an 18 months close collaboration with six large global software-intensive companies.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The rapid downfall of the Nokia software ecosystem has radically altered the landscape of software industry in Finland in recent years. There has been a shift from largely corporate driven way of working, which is often dominant in large companies, to more agile practices, and in general software organizations are seeking new, leaner ways of composing, delivering, and using software also inside already established companies. To accelerate this transformation in large scale, a collaborative research program has been created, called Need for Speed (N4S). In this paper, we give an insight to the joint goals and concrete actions of the program and discuss the motivations of individual companies that are participating in the program. As one concrete goal of the project, we introduce the concept of Mercury business, where the principles of the Lean startup framework are applied in a more conventional industrial setting.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Lean Software Development has attracted a great deal of attention during last years. However, it remains unclear how Lean is implemented in a domain that fundamentally differs from the automotive industry in which it originated. This study provides empirical evidence of how Lean can be combined with Agile methods to enhance software development processes. A case study was conducted at Elektro bit Wireless Segment, which has used Agile from 2007 and began to adopt Lean in 2010. Our findings evidence numerous compatibilities between Lean and Agile. In addition to well-established practices in Agile, Lean thinking has brought new elements to software development such as Kanban and work-in-progress limits, a "pull" and "less waste" oriented culture, and a stronger emphasis on transparency and collaborative development. Scaling flexibility, business management involvement and waste reduction were found as challenges, whilst setting up teams, self-organization and empowerment appeared easier to achieve.
Conference Paper
This paper outlines a new holistic approach to service prototyping; which supports different phases of the service design process. SINCO is a laboratory concept consisting of the environment and set of tools suitable for service prototyping. It can be conceptualized under the following five terms: Servicescape Simulation; Service Stage; Digital Touchpoint Toolkit; Rough Mock-up Crafting; and Teamwork & Documentation Tools. In SINCO; it is possible to study and analyze existing service journeys; visualize ideas and develop them quickly and evaluate concepts collaboratively. The technologies used in SINCO help studying service situations with quick simulations; reveal technological development opportunities through experimentation and enable setting-up of the desired service paths as substantial experience prototypes for testing and communicating.
Context Continuous deployment (CD) is an emerging software development process with organisations such as Facebook, Microsoft, and IBM successfully implementing and using the process. The CD process aims to immediately deploy software to customers as soon as new code is developed, and can result in a number of benefits for organizations, such as: new business opportunities, reduced risk for each release, and prevent development of wasted software. There is little academic literature on the challenges organisations face when adopting the CD process, however there are many anecdotal challenges that organisations have voiced on their online blogs. Objective The aim of this research is to examine the challenges faced by organisations when adopting CD as well as the strategies to mitigate these challenges. Method An explorative case study technique that involves in-depth interviews with software practitioners in an organisation that has adopted CD was conducted to identify these challenges. Results This study found a total of 20 technical and social adoption challenges that organisations may face when adopting the CD process. The results are discussed to gain a deeper understanding of the strategies employed by organisations to mitigate the impacts of these challenges. Conclusion While a number of individual technical and social adoption challenges were uncovered by the case study in this research, most challenges were not faced in isolation. The severity of these challenges were reduced by a number of mitigation strategies employed by the case study organization. It is concluded that organisations need to be well prepared to handle technical and social adoption challenges with their existing expertise, processes and tools before adopting the CD process. For practitioners, knowing how to address the challenges an organization may face when adopting the CD process provides a level of awareness that they previously may not have had.
User participation and involvement in software development are considered to be essential for a successful software system. Three research areas, human aspects of software engineering, requirements engineering, and information systems, study these topics from various perspectives. We think it is important to analyze user participation and involvement in software engineering comprehensively to encourage further research in this area. We investigate the evidence on effects of user participation and involvement on system success and we explore which methods are available in literature. A systematic mapping study was conducted. The systematic search yielded 3,698 hits, from which we identified 289 unique papers. These papers were reviewed by the first author based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. The second author validated the selection of papers by reviewing the reasons for exclusion and inclusion and the corresponding papers on a sample base. 58 of the 289 papers were selected (22 statistical survey and meta-study papers and 36 methods papers). Based on the empirical evidence of the surveys and meta-studies, we developed a meta-analysis of structural equation models. This overview demonstrates that most papers showed positive correlations between aspects of development processes (including user participation) and human aspects (including user involvement) and system success. The analysis of the proposed solutions from the method papers revealed a wide variety of user participation and involvement practices for most activities within software development.
This paper seeks to redefine ‘user participation in design’ and to articulate new roles for designers in order to transform design processes. The term ‘Design Participation’ was introduced in the 1971 Design Research Society conference. The main focus of this paper is to suggest ways to tackle three areas that have been neglected over 30 years of Design Participation development, namely: the aesthetic quality of design practice, the collaborative relationship of design research and participatory design thinking. The paper is a reflection by a professional designer developed through the experience of working with different groups in action research projects and these concrete case studies are used to illustrate the developing theory. Three areas of challenges were identified and the overall aim was to facilitate innovative collaboration and create platforms for social inclusion in design practice. Addressing these challenges, it is essential to reconsider the roles of designers (design developer, facilitator and generator) in order to achieve user participation in design. However, in order to avoid tokenism, the most important thing is to practice these roles as tactics of Design Participation.