Cross-functional team collaboration between Agile development and UX design
<ul><li>UX teams </li></ul>Agile teams Can they work together? Prepared by: Dug Falby [email_address] http://twitter.com/dug/
I was recently asked whether a user experience design (UX) function could successfully collaborate with a scrum team running Agile development. I had never formally documented this process but on reflection the answer is "yes" and the quality of the final product is hugely impacted by this successful integration. This presentation is a very brief, top-line overview of how I've managed to bring the two teams together. I may flesh this out in a future version. This is work in progress. I welcome comments, suggestions or shared experiences sent to firstname.lastname@example.org <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
It helps to know why things were invented before you try to merge or combine their functions. Agile Fixes the problem of developers (and their work) disappearing into their super-charged, liquid-cooled gaming laptops. It makes managing rock-star developers a possibility and product shipment a certainty. UX Fixes the problem of information architects, web designers and business analysts specifying experiences that ignore the end user's context of use and fail to properly assess business stakeholder needs in light of the customer experience. <ul><li>Some background </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
Both Agile and UX exist to make the world a nicer place. The difficulty they have in working together is down to point of view. The solution is to bring the two disciplines together by integrating at certain key touchpoints: Story planning / Product backlog Public artefacts User acceptance criteria (for UAT) Standups SVN checkin/checkout and IDE usage Deployment to Staging environment <ul><li>Some background </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
This is by far the most important and impactful integration. The UX has a real opportunity to positively influence the outcome, improving the software and saving the business a fortune in unnecessary features and development expense. As well as its focus on core issues of IA/UI, UX adds some missing context to those disciplines. By including design research into context of use, commercial context and the impact on the end customer of structures across touchpoints this discipline can ensure the story plan and product backlog essentially define the right customer proposition. <ul><li>Story planning / Product backlog </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
While the Scrum-master keeps the burndown chart up-to-date and prominently displayed in view of all the developers, the UX team needs to produce their own graphic artefacts. The two most useful artefacts to keep visible to the whole dev team are the mental model and the persona illustrations . Any other artefacts that are jargon-free and clearly add flesh to the customer's experience will help, but the mental model is by far the most important. <ul><li>Public artefacts </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
Without UX, UAT criteria can be very binary and fail to define the successful quality of an interface or experience. By adding qualitative, UX-specific parameters to the acceptance criteria, UX thinking can be injected into the sprint. Given that design iteration of a story in a sprint is difficult and expensive, influencing the UAT standard is a more cost effective way of getting developers to produce the right work. <ul><li>User acceptance criteria (for UAT) </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
The UX needs to be a pig in the daily standups. I try to be a "pig" who is good at negotiating with the "chickens" and win credibility by making some of the constraints on the coding effort seem 'logical' to all ("why the hell are we doing this” seems to be a phrase one hears in an unhappy scrum) <ul><li>Standups </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
It's important to have HTML/JS/CSS front-end coders who are part of the UX team using the same IDE as everyone else. Equally, by checking in and checking out CSS work, this work is given the same 'code’ status as other stories in the sprint. <ul><li>SVN checkin/checkout and IDE usage </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
The UX integrates at the user testing level. If the budget permits, after UAT and before leaving the staging environment, the user experience team can run goal-oriented user tests to further validate the work. <ul><li>Deployment to Staging environment </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
Some general thoughts on typical challenges faced by UX teams attempting to integrate with a scrum team. UX team members perceived as 'chickens’ Devs and masters tend to drift towards binary quality of UAT testing One coder per story / one UX per many stories this creates a perception of disengagement Other challenges (there are a few!) <ul><li>Challenges we face </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
If I had to pick one outcome of good Agile/UX partnerships it would be better software and better customer propositions. Products that are more likely to sell and create happy users while costing less in wasted effort. <ul><li>General conclusions </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?
[email_address] Title page photographs are credited to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fabrique/4967093885/in/photostream/http://people.debian.org/~jaldhar/ <ul><li>Thanks </li></ul>Agile and UX teams, can they work together?