Lean UX Anti-Patterns
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Lean UX Anti-Patterns



We are going full bore on LeanUX at PayPal. This presentation just captures a lot of cautions for our teams. These anti-patterns call out bad behaviors or situations that can become bad which will ...

We are going full bore on LeanUX at PayPal. This presentation just captures a lot of cautions for our teams. These anti-patterns call out bad behaviors or situations that can become bad which will stifle collaboration.



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  • Great deck, Bill. Sadly reminded me of way to many things I've seen but acceptance is the first step to recovery.
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  • I like the 'Stranger' slide -- as a newcomer to a .NET shop this summer, I appreciated the fact that my coworkers were willing to help. And I love the term 'reset vocabulary' -- a great technique to learn, especially cuz you'll have to end up using it a lot (talking to higher-ups or clients, writing documentation, etc)
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Lean UX Anti-Patterns Lean UX Anti-Patterns Presentation Transcript

  • Lean UX Anti-Patterns Behaviors that can stifle collaboration Bill Scott @billwscott Sr. Director UI Engineering PayPal June 2012Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Background ๏ At PayPal we are up-ending the culture ๏ Moving from a culture of a “long shelf life” and long delivery times for product to a LeanUX way of working ๏ Key project in pilot now puts product, design & UI engineers in the same room doing whiteboard -> code - > usability test in super fast succession (weekly testing) ๏ These anti-patterns are used as a caution to our team. They are the behaviors that might appear that could limit our ability to be lean & mean.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Genius Designer All design emanates from an huber designer. Team doesn’t collaboratively participate in design/ideation. Solution: Keep the inspiration of genius designer but bring in others to brainstorm. Focus on MVP (minimal viable product) to test with customers immediately. Critical to build team success early.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Tribal Groups When a team is very small members are forced to work across disciplines. As soon as team gets bigger, tribes reform around disciplines. Collaboration stops. Solution: You have to keep team reasonably small. And the leaders in each discipline must form a tribe that works across disciplines.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • The Stranger Lean teams will form shared understanding. However, when new team member joins we assume this hard earned understanding will just happen. Solution: The team must immediately stop and initiate the newcomer. Be patient, answer questions, reset vocabulary and enjoy the new voice in the team.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Bad Habits Teams will often make a good start by trying out new behaviors and seemingly leave old behaviors behind. Beware! Old habits will creep back in. Solution: You must do it long enough and be successful with LeanUX to ensure team members internalize the new habits.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • The Naysayer With collaboration so important it is key to believe in the process to create great products. A single naysayer can bring the team down in an instant. Solution: The naysayer must either learn new techniques or leave the team.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • The Visitor Input from outside the team is essential. However, watch out. People cycling in & out of the team can cause the same disruption that the Stranger anti-pattern causes. Customer trumps visitor. Take input. But test early and often with customers. That is the only “visitor” that ultimately matters.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • The Magic Tool Design & prototyping tools can accelerate ideation and design. However, be careful, tools that empower prototyping can enable designers to work in isolation. Solution: Use tools as means to collaborate. Never revert to “delivery” model of design.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Going Dark When a developer, product manager, or designer goes dark for more than a day (or two) the team is losing valuable collaboration. Solution: Working in isolation is necessary from time to time. However, limit to short periods of time. Make work constantly visible.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Change of Cadence Change of cadence is actually a good and normal happening. However, whenever the rhythm changes it can bring productivity down. Solution: Prepare the team for the change and quickly get focus and re-establish cadence.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Too Many Cooks While lots of cooks are great, the work needs to be divided up among different types of cooks (Chef de cuisine, Sous- chef, Chef de partie) Solution: Have clear decision makers in each discipline and have specific roles (you can also rotate these functions).Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Not Enough Pizza When a team suddenly scales up in size the team is in danger of losing cadence, shared understanding and focus Solution: Keep teams to 2- pizza size. Clear lines of responsibilities and laser focus for the team must be maintained.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Tower of Babel Shared understanding is key to LeanUX. However, it is easy to assume too quickly that team members are speaking the same language Solution: Always ask, “what do you mean by x?”. Always ensure other disciplines understand your jargon.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • You Got Mail Email is a necessary form of communication, however it is not collaboration. Teams can revert to email over collaboration. Also, geo- graphically distributed teams can fall into delivery over collaboration. Solution. Utilize high bandwidth communication (face to face, skype, telepresence, magic whiteboards, phone, etc.)Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Inmates are Running the Asylum This is from Alan Cooper’s classic book of the same title. When engineers drive design the inmates are running the asylum. Solution. UI engineers must partner with product/design and get out ahead of backend engineers.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • The Perfectionist Not embracing the challenge of the unknown, the perfectionist will not share their work till it is perfect. Easy for designers to fall into this trap. Solution: Engineers must not judge rough designs, instead they should use as springboard for collaboration. Designers must realize iterative will yield better designs.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • The Weakest Link Working in a lean environment means working in close proximity and transparency. Team members who aren’t up to this challenge or not solid talent can really cause a team to stumble Solution: Talent acquisition must match this style of product delivery. Must have freedom to replace talent.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • The Wall Walls between teams can happen when • We allow Tribes to form • We see the other teams as separate delivery factories • Geo-distributed teams Solution: Always work in small teams, collaborating not delivering and build shared understanding.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Tangled up Technology Unless the technology stack is built to have a clear separation from experience & services the lean team cannot make rapid progress. Watch out when dev teams care too much about the specific version of the UI. Solution: Key patterns are to build services, APIs and CLIs. Keep the services & UI separate.Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • More Info ๏ Jeff Gothelf - The LeanUX Advocate http://www.jeffgothelf.com/blog/ ๏ LeanUX Article http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2011/03/07/ lean-ux-getting-out-of-the-deliverables-business/ ๏ Article I wrote back in 2010 on principle of shared understanding http://52weeksofux.com/post/2403607066/building-a- shared-understandingWednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Picture Credits http://www.flickr.com/photos/wuschl2202/531914709/sizes/o/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_ninjamonkey/3565672226/sizes/z/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/funky64/4367871917/sizes/z/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/emdot/9938521/sizes/o/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregory_bastien/2565132371/sizes/z/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/trvr3307/3703648270/sizes/z/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/legofenris/5426012042/sizes/l/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/cleaneugene/6866436746/sizes/c/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/66309414@N04/6172219058/sizes/l/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/2954167050/sizes/l/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasukaru76/6151366656/sizes/l/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianmitchell/2113553867/sizes/o/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciscel/422253425/sizes/z/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/zebble/6817861/sizes/l/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicasaurusrex/3069602246/sizes/l/in/photostream/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathangibbs/98592171/sizes/z/in/photostream/Wednesday, June 27, 2012
  • Follow Me on twitter @billwscottWednesday, June 27, 2012