My Notes on Lane Halley’s Agile & UX Presentation

From Agile & UX: Two great tastes that taste great together, a presentation by Lane Halley at Adaptive Path’s UX Week 13. Watch the video here and download the slides here.

Takeaway: The challenge for UX designers is to integrate our processes with Agile development cycles by asking ourselves, How can I make this quick, visual, collaborative and continuous?

Agile Expectations

  • Speed
  • Visibility
  • Course Correction

Agile Values

  • The value for the user leads to the value for the business
  • Collaborative, self-organizing teams
  • Test-driven development
  • Reflection and improvement

TIps for Agile/UX Happiness

  1. Be part of the team: attend standups, iterations planning sessions, dev/design user story sessions
  2. Integrate UX design requirements into the user stories
  3. Lead with conversations: visual radiators and wireframe walkthroughs can educate and empower the dev team
  4. Trail with documentation: don’t start creating artifacts until they are recording an agreement with someone else on the team
  5. Run experiments: who is this for and when will they use it? How will we measure success? Think, make, check. How do we know it’s done? needs to become How do we know it’s good?
  6. Eliminate waste: Keep artifacts at the lowest fidelity possible to support the current conversation to save time
  7. Find your cadence: pair with product owners and developers to refine the details, rather than creating pixel-perfect artifacts
  8. Design refactor: integrating rough design from the outset creates a design debt, so the team must agree they may need a design refactor cycle in the middle of the process to improve everything across the product
  9. Expand your toolbox: learn basic coding, attend tech meetups/hackathons, teach what you know

Agile Strengths

  • Earlier collaboration and feedback leads to better builds
  • Sketching, paper prototypes, hallway usability testing leads to better builds
  • Freedom to fail: there’s space to learn and correct (unlike waterfall)

Agile Weaknesses

  • Resistance to revisiting work (“it’s delivered, let’s move on”)
  • UX can get truncated and only code gets revisited
  • Resistance to research, planning and strategy activities
  • UX early-cycle events (research etc) create bottlenecks
  • Feedback loop can be undefined: who gets the feedback and what’s done with it? When are we “done”?
  • Too much focus on individual user stories and not enough holistic strategy

The Agile Manifesto (2001)

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan
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