It's been a turbulent relationship but there's still a lot of love left to give. Practical tips, pitfalls and stories of integrating user experience design into iterative delivery.
Text of Agile/UX: Making the Marriage Work
UX MAKING THE MARRIAGE WORK AGILE Brent Snook @brentsnook http://www.slideshare.net/fuglylogic/agileux-making-the- marriage-work
@brentsnook #LASTconf MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN JUST STAYING TOGETHER FOR THE KIDS + - why? started with a theatrical debate about this at Aconex (with this exact name) things had worked ok for the teams I had worked in, I didnt understand the frustrations hearing more UX peoples experiences made me realise that things werent so smooth for everyone objections: can hurt holistic vision, could make people feel like theyre rushed XP (extreme programming) about developer driven, extreme practises radical change for many organisations jarring when used to up-front approach I can see how the rift formed when we do agile, sometimes it fails often because we learn the practises but we fail to grok the principles we fail to invent and adapt where practises are inadequate or even missing take the same principles and reapply them to benefit everyone it can work, closer to the end of the marriage made in heaven side of the scale
@brentsnook #LASTconf THE REALITY NOBODY IS GOING TO SWEEP YOU AWAY TO LIVE IN A FAIRY CASTLE YOU WILL GIVE EACH OTHER THE SHITS YOU HAVE TO WORK AT IT ! BUT ! IT IS WORTH IT. like marriage, there is a simple reality nothing is perfect you will give each other the shits, no matter how much you like each other personally men are from mars and women are from venus development and UX are often looking at things from different level of details stick it out and you will make beautiful things together in the spirit of relationship tips, this is a loose collection of vague advice ignore it, remember it some day and maybe it will make sense
@brentsnook #LASTconf DONT LAY TRACKS S T E E R the old way: laying the perfect track - intricate designs, awless photoshop les pave the perfect path for the development team train just has to come along and everything should go like clockwork fraught with danger and waste survey the land precisely or you can be screwed by a giant rock in your path illusion of the ability to predict we all know that this doesnt work agile and lean are a reaction to this we need feedback! will it work? how much does it cost? is it right? iterative software delivery is rally driving, not laying a train track there is a route but it is mainly about adaptation and communication a rally car without a navigator will quickly end up driving into a ditch too much is flying past for the driver to process a great agile UX person has brilliant reaction and navigation skills know how to generate learning and respond to it
@brentsnook #LASTconf MAP ok, so dont use BDUF to steer. how do you maintain vision? to navigate you need to map dont lose your holistic view this is a common complaint of adaptible or iterative delivery methods slice everything up into stories and jam it in a backlog and you lose your holistic view have stories but lack narrative to the bigger tale need to map at the ground level to help you plan what to do next need to map at the sky level to maintain narrative and holistic view sky: personas, design flows, problems for the next few months maps are no good in your head - externalise use them to re-align the team with their goals navigate by being the story teller use big, visual props as you see fit use an appropriate delity for mapping, things will change do you need intricate filigree and ornate pictures of sea serpents?
@brentsnook #LASTconf IN BE TWEEN ? part of maintaining that view is to evolve the design you have plans for what you want the product to be (skyscraper) you have a starting state, where your product is (house) these are like two key frames that you need to animate trying to jump between them will be jarring and risky can you wait the 6 months it will take to get there in one big bang? how do you even know you want a skyscraper without feedback? the destination frame is not a very helpful tool at the ground level hard to relate it to what is there now your current state is a hard constraint that you have to work with confusion, noise and scope creeping into stories photoshop-driven acceptance testing :( you need to inbetween prodiving mockups, sketching - pick a point that is closer to the start adapt solutions to adding a smaller change
@brentsnook #LASTconf AVOID BRANCH + MERGE BLOCKAGES another common problem, bottlenecks or blockages in the pipeline it is as painful as it sounds we deliver software through a pipeline were waiting on designs from." how much does it suck to be that person holding everyone up? as a ux person you're probably shared across several teams, right? more pressure - less chance to explore ideas and find the best solution always tossing meat to the ravenous wolves at your door create a linear pipeline and you will create a greater opportunity for blockages try not to do it, branch instead pick a lo-fi option that solves 80% of the problem, start on it generate and test more options in parallel merge your findings back in as new stories add more stories to work what you find back into the product also works with ui design
@brentsnook #LASTconf CREATE OPTIONS this is all about creating options for yourself recognise your artificial, implied or self-imposed constraints eliminate them we can't start that because.why? the more you explore the better the final result will be design studios (lean ux) are great for this! everyone is briefed on a simple problem sketch, critique, adapt, pick options user test or spike options generate new stories and prioritise them with the rest the UX person needs to be a facilitator in the meantime, you already have something working important: we come up with these designs together
@brentsnook #LASTconf THERE IS ONLY US in great, functional teams there is only us carrying on about how UX is holding you up is counterproductive carrying on about how development is hounding you for work is counterproductive us and them blame sucks, its a crap game and we all lose in the end us and them happens when teams are divided most orgs are set up with horizontal departments, need to cut across that up to people on the ground level to remove the us and them bring people in to the team invite the ux person to come and sit with your team, make them feel at home, even clear a spot for their Pantone colour mug feel like theyre parachuted in enemy territory? ask if you can go and sit with them seek opportunities to collaborate, get used to talking to each other eat lunch together, get coffee together you will find it very hard to complain about someone you eat lunch with every day part of being us is sharing responsibility
@brentsnook #LASTconf buy this book, read this book practical advice for what I have just talked about solid principles for working together
@brentsnook #LASTconf DONT LAY TRACKS, STEER MAP INBETWEEN BRANCH AND MERGE CREATE OPTIONS THERE IS ONLY US