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Design coordination process – creating a solid foundation

So, you are an (IT- architecture, services or application) designer looking at ITIL and wondering to yourself: “What’s in it for me?” (Other than that one part of the lifecycle designated to service design… and the many processes inside it…) Actually, there are a lot of useful things to read and use.


As service develops throughout the lifecycle, the importance of good service design shows up as one of the moments in a service’s lifecycle that could save a lot of effort (read: money) if done well. Why? Simple, as the later the failure is discovered – the more costly it becomes to fix it, i.e., make it right. Service Design is a stage in the service lifecycle that creates the healthy body of a service. Mistakes made here will be complex and expensive to correct. Therefore, all processes in Service Design must be considered very carefully. Here we get to another issue – how to ensure that Service Design and its processes perform as well as possible. Design coordination is the answer.

What does it do?

Design coordination spans across all activities and processes of service design and ensures their effectiveness and efficiency. Activities of the design coordination process start early – by determining business requirements, and ensuring that they are clear. Later, design coordination ensures the design, review of design and production of the Service Design Package (SDP – a document or set of documents that defines all aspects of IT service and its requirements throughout its lifecycle). SDP is the delivery of service design into the service transition stage of service lifecycle. Quality of that document(s) is crucial, because all further activities build on that document.

I saw many organizations with excellent service operation as well as service design. But – nothing in between. That means that know-how gathered in real life is not implemented in the design of new or changed serviced – in other words, it gets lost. The design coordination process can fill the gap. I think it’s realistic to imagine an organization, with all that experience, to transfuse it into a newly developed service.

Two aspects of design coordination

Design coordination covers two types of activities:

  1. Activities that relate to the overall service design lifecycle stage – such activities include overall service design practices as well as design activities across projects. Companies try to standardize design activities to minimize risks, improve their own capabilities and stay on “safe ground.”
  2. Activities relating to each individual design – such activities consider individual design efforts and encompass planning, coordination, monitoring and review of individual designs.

Design coordination involves coordination and communication with various (usually) highly skilled groups and individuals. Therefore, the role of a design coordinator requires high organizational and managerial skills.

While developing common design practice, it is important to implement just enough regulation and control mechanisms. Otherwise, processes will get bureaucratized. But, on the other side, what happens more often is that organizations implement too little control, which results in poor results of design activities. It is quite common practice that organizations usually assign design coordination activities to project managers.


To imagine how to apply design coordination, imagine an orchestra and bandmaster. A lot of perfect individuals form an orchestra, but without coordination… their performance doesn’t make sense. It makes noise. With a good bandmaster (design coordination, in our case)… we have completely different music. It’s the same with service design activities. Many excellent processes, carried out by very competent people, but, as people used to say, “If the left hand does not know what the right is doing,” the result is a concert of a questionable quality.

Advisera Branimir Valentic
Branimir Valentic
Branimir is an expert in IT service management (consultancy, training and tools), IT governance (training and consulting), project management and consultancy in IT and telecommunication. He holds the following certificates: ITIL Expert, ISO 20000, ISMS Lead Auditor and PRINCE2.