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Propose a Model for Implementation

Through design and testing rounds, you’ve developed a strong prototype on an individual participant level; participants understand the concept, and the concept’s design solves their problem. But, as we launch our designs into a complex world, they not only have to work for the individuals who need them, but they also have to work with the products, services, and systems that will host, lead into, lead out of, support, and wrap around your product, service or system. This complexity is why the authors of this Guide series have encouraged you to always design to the smallest component part that you can. By default, the design will be big, and the impact, positive or negative, will expand beyond the small design itself. In addition, maybe the design still needs to be tested for technical needs like 508 compliance or adherence to union rules. Maybe it needs a professional production designer’s touch for layout help or illustrations. Don’t worry; you’re exactly where you need to be.

Given these needs, it's time to start showing your work to stakeholders. This can seem daunting! Without the deep background on your idea’s development, how can anyone understand your work? Without being an explicit participant themselves, how can you accede to their change requests responsibly?

The answer is: with patience, good documentation, and a willingness to absorb their concerns and work through them, you can bring them on board. Take the time to explain to implementation group(s) your initial concept, testing, and revision rounds. Show them where you’ve landed, but don’t expect them to hail you as a genius and accept your design outright. This is a period of socialization, where implementation teams will need to figure out how this design will work for them, as participants in the implementation process. Maybe the work will need to be linked to internal systems, maybe it will need to include a plan to replicate and scale. All this means that your design will change — a bit.

Don’t worry! As you’ve practiced for a long time now, keep your participants needs at the center of your work to ensure you make responsible, minor changes to aid implementation without touching the conceptual or functional core of your design, since it’s been tested with participants.

You can also leverage this socialization and planning time to bring your design up to final product level: reach out to that professional production designer to make updates, or to work with your 508 compliance person to bring the design to a finish point as you plan for implementation. In the next Guide in the series, Deliver, we will go through the pilot process, including how to test with the people who are not participants in your design but are certainly ancillary or related to it, whether through their work or their interactions with related systems. In order to mitigate the possbility of your design falling flat in this phase, we recommend that now you step back and present a model for that implementation to the stakeholders in the process. This is not explictly testing your design, but it is seeking to understand how your design will live in the world. As you move through the conversations in this phase of the work, remember: the implementation of your work is almost as important as the development of it. This is launch; this is the exciting part where you share your work with the world. Enjoy it!