Agile & UXD

3 Nov 2008 - 4:50pm
5 years ago
5 replies
1383 reads
Jessica Petersen
2008

What are your experiences in an agile environment? What has worked for
you and what hasn't?

My organization is considering employing agile, and I tend to be of the
opinion that UXD needs to be at the forefront of the process thinking
about things holistically - then breaking the project into chunks that
will eventually result in a complete user experience. However, I have
received quite a bit of push back in this regard and have found it
difficult to find other experiences which support my thoughts.

Thanks,

Jessica Petersen
Senior UX Designer
jpetersen at omniture.com <mailto:jpetersen at omniture.com>
801.722.7000 x 1483 tel
801.722.7001 fax

550 East Timpanogos Circle
Orem, UT 84097
www.omniture.com <http://www.omniture.com>

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Comments

4 Nov 2008 - 12:26am
Kim McGalliard
2006

My experience is that you as a UX person need to be involved in the product definition or 'backlog' throughout the entire development process and not just the beginning definition phase. Sometimes you will need to be more of a product manager than a UX person, and be willing to limit or streamline the amount of documentation you end up doing (not necessarily a bad thing). Just In Time Design is an Agile mantra.... Be flexible and work directly with developers as a team, not just delivering specs and wireframes then moving on.

It is important, however, to have a good strategic vision to build from, which can often be the most challenging part to fit into an agile process. There is the concept of "sprint 0" - that this is the intial sprint where you work out all of the high-level strategy and IA structure then create your backlog from there. I personally like to have specific UX deliverables or demos in each sprint so that UX and possibly design stay 1 sprint ahead of the development team. The demo for the UX team is wireframes or a clickable prototype that is presented to the group.

Jeff Patton has some interesting ideas and tips about UX and agile http://agileproductdesign.com/blog/

Hope this is helpful.

Kim

----- Original Message ----
From: Jessica Petersen <JPetersen at omniture.com>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Monday, November 3, 2008 4:50:45 PM
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Agile & UXD

What are your experiences in an agile environment? What has worked for
you and what hasn't?

My organization is considering employing agile, and I tend to be of the
opinion that UXD needs to be at the forefront of the process thinking
about things holistically - then breaking the project into chunks that
will eventually result in a complete user experience. However, I have
received quite a bit of push back in this regard and have found it
difficult to find other experiences which support my thoughts.

Thanks,

Jessica Petersen
Senior UX Designer
jpetersen at omniture.com <mailto:jpetersen at omniture.com>
801.722.7000 x 1483 tel
801.722.7001 fax

550 East Timpanogos Circle
Orem, UT 84097
www.omniture.com <http://www.omniture.com>

4 Nov 2008 - 10:35am
ELISABETH HUBERT
2007

I agree with Kim in the sense that as the UX expert you should be
involved throughout the entire project probably heavily up front and
heavily during QA. I also agree that you may tend to be more of a
business representative and I think this stems from the UX individual
understanding best the high level strategy. This is again important to
have and important to keep in mind, and you are usually the only one
doing that.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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4 Nov 2008 - 12:36pm
Anonymous

At my company I observed that

- Agile helped the develpment team's motivation as they worked in smaller
timeblocks, did less each timeblock, and had something to show at the end of
each timeblock. Further, they did implement the idea of "paired
programming" which counter to their ideas before doing it, was actually more
fun and helped people bounce ideas of each other. I think the
reorganization and focus (morning meetings) helps the dev teams cohesion.

- Agile did nothing to help design and make a product closer to the user's
needs. The teams often drove themselves around preexisting designs we had,
and weren't too concerned about making each "sprint" verified/tested by a
user. Basically, the Agile sentiment to "discover the product to build
along the way as you build and iterate it" pretty much did not pan out (no
matter if you think this infeasible, practically it was not viable to have
that much customer interaction). Nobody called users or even had major
concerns about deeply understanding them, and nobody suddenly had epiphanies
with the little user feedback we did get. In fact, a little so-so
feedback can actually be demotivating because as you know users can't
envision the final thing, and may be indifferent to something that is very
close to a major innovation but needs some quirks ironed out.

Design was just as essential, and needed to be more responsive to the way
development chunked and tackled work.

Navid

On Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 4:50 PM, Jessica Petersen <JPetersen at omniture.com>wrote:

> What are your experiences in an agile environment? What has worked for
> you and what hasn't?
>
>
>

6 Nov 2008 - 2:37pm
Josh Seiden
2003

I would encourage you to look at the work that Lynn Miller (and other
members of the Alias/Autodesk team) have done in this area. They have
articulated a good framework for bringing Agile methods and UX methods
together.

My quick google turned up this deck:
wiki.fluidproject.org/download/attachments/1704207/Autodesk_WUD2006_UCDandAgile_lmiller.pdf?version=1

...but Lynn also has papers on this in the ACM Portal/Archive that
you should seek out.

Thanks,
JS

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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6 Nov 2008 - 11:54pm
Elizabeth Bacon
2003

I've been considering the issue of Agile IxD for awhile now, and I
recently had a really great project experience integrating my design
process with an Agile XP team. Some quick takeaways:

* as you suggest, Jessica, defining the interaction design framework
(or overall IA structure or whatever you want to call it) in sprint
0, before release planning happens in full, is essential. Doing so
focuses the entire team on the big picture of the user experience and
lets people agree on the right set of functionality during release
planning. Knowing what product you're aiming towards allows features
to be prioritized and chunked so that the development team can deliver
a working system with real value at the end of each iteration.
* spend the time up-front to document what you know about your target
user(s) so that everyone on the team has a shared understanding;
personas are a great way to humanize users and communicate about them
in natural ways
* even better, of course, is to spend the time up-front to research
your users so that you truly can make user-centered decisions for
their benefit!
* a scenario-based approach to design integrates well with Agile's
use of story cards, keeping the team speaking the language of users'
needs and tying design decisions closely in with the implementation
process
* the IxD (UX, IA, whatever) person represents the "customer"
throughout development; they should participate in release planning,
iteration planning, stand-up meetings, and especially acceptance
testing during the entire project.

These are just a few quick points but I hope they help. :)

Cheers,
Liz

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vice-President, IxDA / www.ixda.org
CDO, Devise / www.devise.com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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