Product design

How to reduce development time and costs with design thinking


Pika Žvan

Product designer

Contact the article author via emailVisit the author's LinkedIn profile


April 17, 2023

Design thinking methods can help us reduce development time and costs by identifying potential issues early on, testing and refining ideas before investing significant resources, and promoting cross-functional collaboration within your organisation.

Product design thinking methods (©Google DeepMind on Unsplash)

Product design thinking methods (©Google DeepMind on Unsplash)

Design thinking is an approach to problem-solving that emphasizes empathy, collaboration, and iteration. At its core, design thinking is about putting people at the center of the design process. 

This means that designers seek to understand the needs, wants, and behaviors of the people who will use their products or services. By developing empathy for users, designers can create solutions that are more intuitive, effective, and enjoyable.

Design thinking is also an effective way to reduce development time and costs by helping to identify and address potential issues early on in the process of developing digital products. This is true for any type of businesses, industries, non-profits, and even governments. In our digital product development, we employ this design thinking methods:

User research

Conducting thorough user research can help to identify potential problems and areas for improvement before development begins. This can help us reduce the likelihood of costly redesigns or feature changes later in the process.


Building quick and inexpensive prototypes can help us test and refine ideas before investing significant resources into development. By testing ideas early and often, teams can identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments before moving on to more expensive stages of development.

Iterative design

Design thinking emphasizes an iterative approach, where designs are refined and improved based on user feedback. By continually iterating and refining designs, teams can avoid costly mistakes or delays caused by a lack of user input.

Cross-functional collaboration

By involving individuals from different departments or areas of expertise in the design process, teams can avoid siloed thinking and identify potential issues from a variety of perspectives. This can help us ensure that all aspects of the product are considered and that potential issues are identified early on.

How we use design thinking methods?

Each project at 3fs starts with pre-study that includes user research, kickoff workshop and prototyping and testing. This helps us understand the business case, user needs, team and establishes very important cross functional collaboration early on.

We invest more time in pre-study and in turn this helps us avoid spending time developing products that don’t work, are not user friendly, or don’t meet business requirements and regulations.

After the pre-study is finished we have a clear plan and an already tested and iterated prototype that we can without worry start investing in development. 

We continue with developing a minimum viable product. Idea of a minimum viable product is to quickly have a solution that meets basic requirements of our product. This allows us to test the product with some friendly customers fast and often. Furthermore this insight allows us to know in which functionalities and features we need to invest for a market ready product. 

A never ending iterative process of testing and iterating helps us to have a backward loop that feeds the product management, design and development team with insights and clear requirements of what to do next. 

Iteration, rigorous testing and cross-functional collaboration has on many occasions prevented us from investing time and money on dead-end solutions, numerous features that users don’t need and resources we do not really require. On some occasions it also triggered new business opportunities based on real user needs.

Overall, using design thinking methods helps us reduce development time and costs by identifying potential issues early on, testing and refining ideas before investing significant resources, and promoting cross-functional collaboration within your organiation.

More from our blog

Step with us into the brave new world of cloud

Get in touch

1 hour with our expert • Free of charge • No strings attached