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UX and Agile: Best Practices


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Presented at the SoCal UX Camp 2013 Unconference. Target audience: UX designers and other team members working in an Agile environment.

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UX and Agile: Best Practices

  1. 1. Best PracticesSally AbolrousUX Strategist, Researcher, and Designersally@salouli.comwww.salouli.comUX and Agile
  2. 2. What I love about Agile·  Teaming·  It’s collaborative and cross-functional·  Incremental·  You don’t have to answer everything now·  Rapid·  Frequent releases to test your designs·  Flexible and Adaptable·  The team’s goal is to keep improving
  3. 3. What I don’t love about Agile·  Velocity is everything·  Quality is an after-thought
  4. 4. A great user experience must be rooted in an understanding of business needs anduser needs; Good user interface design is not enough.User Experience
  5. 5. User ExperienceBeyond the 30%...·  We immerse ourselves in the business·  We listen to stakeholders and users·  We identify problems·  We propose and test solutions·  We create and share a vision·  We drive decision making
  6. 6. A great user experience must be rooted in an understanding of business needs anduser needs; Good user interface design is not enough.User ExperienceHow do we fitthis into theprocess?
  7. 7. Experiments that work·  7 Best Practices based on successful experiments ·  Resulted in high velocity·  Resulted in high quality
  8. 8. 1. Ad-hoc “Discovery” SprintsBest practices for Agile UX
  9. 9. Why?Ad hoc “Discovery” Sprints·  “Sprint 0” is short. We can’t plan for everything·  We need time to answer big questions ·  We need time to reach a decision·  We need to take a step back and look at the bigpictureSprint 0Sprint 1Sprint 2Sprint 3Sprint 4Sprint 6
  10. 10. How does it fit in Agile?Ad hoc “Discovery” Sprints·  Design (UX, BA, Arch) is 2sprints ahead·  “Discovery” sprints asneeded ·  Prioritize non-UX stories/tasks for the team whiledoing discoveryDesign Sprint 0Design Sprint 1Design Sprint 2Design Sprint 3Design Sprint 4DiscoveryDesign Sprint 6Sprint 0Sprint 1Sprint 2Dev Sprint 3Dev Sprint 4Dev Sprint 5Dev Sprint 6
  11. 11. What do you do?Ad hoc “Discovery” Sprints·  Talk to the users, the business, andthe stakeholders·  Create and evaluate concepts·  Research the industry and thecompetition·  Conduct surveys, participatory designsessions, usability testing·  Etc…
  12. 12. What are some deliverables?Ad hoc “Discovery” Sprints·  Process Flows·  Stories·  Scenarios·  Wireframes·  Design guidelines
  13. 13. 2. Assign a UX OwnerBest practices for Agile UX
  14. 14. Assign a UX OwnerWhy?·  Team is focused on the details of thecurrent and next sprint, not on thebig picture ·  Multiple designers on different teamscan lead to inconsistency·  Need someone to ensure the vision iscarried through and the designdoesn’t lose its integrityMake itmy way!80/20RuleZerotrainingLess isMore!!!
  15. 15. How?Assign a UX Owner·  Embed UX members in the agile teams·  Increased collaboration·  Increased understanding of UXprocess·  Common vision·  UX owner may/may not be on a team·  UX owner ensures consistency ·  UX owner maintains the vision anddesign goals·  UX owner passes/approves deliverablesTeam AUXVDPOBADevArchQASM
  16. 16. 3. Don’t lose sight of the Big PictureBest practices for Agile UX
  17. 17. Why?Don’t lose sight of the big picture·  In Agile, stories are small andfocused on one feature·  It’s easy to forget about thebig picture·  The navigation andinteraction of the wholesystem is UX’s responsibilitySprint 1Team ASprint 2Team BSprint 3Team ASprint 3Team BSprint 4Team CSprint 3Team C
  18. 18. Don’t lose sight of the big picture·  Everywhere…·  Process Flows·  Personas·  Design Mantras·  Wireframes/Sketches/Ideas·  Design team…·  Cross-team design sessionsto ensure pieces fit together·  Maintain and use the UXframework·  Think ahead
  19. 19. Don’t lose sight of the big pictureAnticipatewhat’s comingnext based onprocess flows.Is there anext step oris this finalstep?What if theuser getsinterrupted?Out of scopeOut of scope
  20. 20. 4. Get Buy-In from the TeamBest practices for Agile UX
  21. 21. Why?Get Buy-In from the Team·  Everyone should be invested in the design·  Development, Business, QA insight is crucialSolid DesignTechnologyContextBusinessGoalsCustomerNeeds
  22. 22. How?Get Buy-In from the Team·  Talk! Often! ·  Whiteboard sessions with Arch/Dev/BA·  Make Informed decisions·  Understand the technology: ·  Limitations, Customizations, Effort required…·  Understand the business: ·  Goals, Motivations, Priorities…·  Share early design sketches/ideas·  Are there better solutions?·  Are there technical concerns?·  Are there testing concerns?
  23. 23. 5. Put the user in the user storyBest practices for Agile UX
  24. 24. A great user experience must be rooted in an understanding ofbusiness needs and user needs.Put the User in the User Story
  25. 25. Why?Put the User in the User Story·  Business objectives and goals drive design decisions ·  and users’ objectives and goals drive business decisions·  Bring the user’s voice to requirements gathering sessions with the business·  Bridge the gap between the business and the users
  26. 26. We think beyond the requirementsPut the User in the User Story·  Question how things work today·  We ask “why?”·  Think beyond a user story·  What’s happening before this? After this?·  Channel the user·  Will users understand this term? Add tooltips·  Do users have enough information to make a decision? Add info·  Do users know where they are? Add breadcrumbs·  Do users know who to contact in case they get stuck? Add content·  Are we missing key requirements needed to complete a task?
  27. 27. We look for ways to delight users, make their lives easier, andform an emotional connection with our product or service.Put the User in the User Story
  28. 28. 6. Form a User CommitteeBest practices for Agile UX
  29. 29. Why?Form a User Committee·  Feedback is needed quickly·  No time for formal user research
  30. 30. Made up of key personasForm a User Committee·  Available for the entire team to:·  Gather additional requirements·  Understand and create process flows·  Review wireframes·  Review visual designs·  Review prototypes or implementations·  Complete surveys·  Help expedite decision making·  Ensure that nothing is overlooked or missed
  31. 31. 7. Have your UX Laundry List ReadyBest practices for Agile UX
  32. 32. Why?Have your UX Laundry List Ready·  There’s always room for improvement and refinement·  Inconsistencies get deprioritized during sprints·  Visual design often gets deprioritized·  Iterations are important in both UX and Agile·  There’s always some unexpected down time – be prepared!
  33. 33. How?Have your UX Laundry List Ready·  Evaluate and test the release frequently and keep a log of desired enhancements·  Discuss your list with the team and get their buy-in ·  Keep your list prioritized at all times
  34. 34. Thank you!Questions or comments? Contact me at