re: Agile process and interaction design

26 Jun 2005 - 3:04pm
9 years ago
2 replies
500 reads
Desiree Sy
2005

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

I'm going to be presenting a case study of a complex feature designed
with
user-centred methods within an Agile framework at UPA next week. It's
specific to software design, but I think there's material relevant to
web
design as well.

If you can get to UPA, Jeff Patton and Thyra Rauch's workshop looks
good.

I apologize for the brevity of this reply, as I'm very tight for
time, but
I do have one piece of advice: make certain all of your IA team
attends the
training, and actively participates. In that way, you'll be able to
stress
that (for example) usability criteria should be part of the acceptance
criteria, etc. Although it's changing, I've found that agile
consultants
do not seem to know what Usability/Ix does, and it is incumbent on you,
unfortunately, to let them know.

However, if your company understands what you do, they'll see how
your team
can add value to the agile process. Believe me, agile UCD not only
exists,
it can work very well.

-Desiree

Comments

27 Jun 2005 - 3:20am
Narey, Kevin
2004

Desiree wrote:

>I'm going to be presenting a case study of a complex feature....

I'm very interested in your case study, but am unable to make the UPA
conference. Will you be publishing your findings elsewhere? I'm sure I'm not
the only one who would find this a potentially useful addition to our
armoury - especially if as you say we need to convince others of the value
of good design practices in this area.

Kevin

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28 Jun 2005 - 3:23am
Andy Watson
2004

>Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 15:22:02 -0400
>From: Tom V <tvollaro at gmail.com>
>Subject: [ID Discuss] Agile process and interaction design
>To: ixd-discussion <discuss at ixdg.org>
>Message-ID: <55e92b8205062512224cb52ed2 at mail.gmail.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

>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

To me it sounds like you have been spun a line by someone who has a vested
interest.

First of all there are couple of pieces of information that need to be taken
into account. Neither the so called Waterfall (there is no such method or
process) nor Agile have an IA process. IA itself is a complete but adaptive
solution to a business requirement that may or may not be related to
developing software.

If I was to put this in the context of having a house built, your job is
that of the landscape gardener. You come in, perform your process, then go
away - there is no bearing on the method used to build the house and the two
processes don't interact with each other. However, it does have an impact
on the sale of the house when it's finished. This technique is also
sometimes known as Unit construction. The house is constructed as a unit
(using its own method) and the garden is landscaped as a separate unit
(using its own method) - at the end the two are put together.

Now the important thing to remember is that right at the beginning before
any of those two units are constructed - someone (the architect) will make a
decision on how those two units will act together (what the garden should
take into account based on what the house will look like, and what the house
should take into account based on what the garden will look like) so that
you have a symmetric harmony.

So what I was saying in my initial paragraph is that Waterfall, Agile and IA
are all separate Unit construction methods - Waterfall is being removed and
replaced with Agile. There still needs to be a process involved in making
the two new unit and the existing one (agile and IA respectively) work
together.

So when you look at agile and IA working together you need to look at it as
a business lifecycle as a complete entity in the same way that the architect
above looks at the architecture of both the house and garden as a whole.

I'm willing to bet that the reason the business is moving to agile is simply
because they failed to refine the so called 'waterfall' method or whatever
method that was actually being used and that the so called 'agile' method
being implemented is a stop gap solution for that initial failure.

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