Agile process and interaction design

25 Jun 2005 - 2:22pm
11 years ago
2 replies
1394 reads
Tom V

My company (we build social networking websites) has hired consultants to
migrate us to an agile development process. Our IA group (we are actually an
interaction design group that has been mis-titled) has spent the past six
months developing standards, patterns, and detailed documentation of our
products. I do admit that our modified waterfall process takes way too long,
however, we are scratching our heads about where we will fit into the new
agile process. The training has yet to begin, so our only information has
been from office rumors and the web. I was wondering if anyone on this list
is part of an agile development team and could share their experiences and
any resources that may be helpful. TIA.
- tom v


25 Jun 2005 - 3:45pm

I've observed a great deal of traction on this from the programming
community, but it's hard to see how it can 'work' when there is little or no
prior research for each build engagement. My view of it is that
Developers/Programmers are interested because they don't have to interpret
poor requirements documentation and they get to ask design questions
themselves (well the ones that they see as relevant to the software not
generally the user), but I've seen little or no evidence of practical
user/software behaviour-focussed research used in tandem. It still leaves
the same problems that Cooper details in his books and articles.

A mixture of the (high-level and detailed) design phases that waterfall
offers and the best bits of XP (build expediency) is perhaps a good starting
point? I'm ripe for convincing and will hopefully try this approach in the
near future with my colleagues. The right process fit is largely contextual
to an organisation and it remains prudent to be 'flexible' with
'well-defined' processes anyway. The results of following process for the
sake of process are often costly.

Here's a techy view from 2002 - you may well have read it:

Here's a design blogger's view that's recent:


25 Jun 2005 - 8:08pm
Josh Seiden


There are some good discussions on this topic at

That list, run by Jeff Patton, has some terrific people on it, and plays
host to a lively discussion between agilists and UX-ers. There are a
number of folks there who have been through the transition that you're
facing, and are likely to be of some help.

(By the way, if you're going to UPA, you should check out the sessions
that Jeff is running.)

Based on what folks report on that list, the UX teams that have the most
success seem to be those that take a two- track approach. Track one goes
long, does basic research, and works on application and UI framework
issues. Track two engages with the rapid cycles to provide just-in-time
and/or collaboritive design to feed the next release.

Good luck, and please do report back.


-----Original Message-----

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted

My company (we build social networking websites) has hired consultants
migrate us to an agile development process.

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