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User Research for Agile Teams
One of the biggest challenges facing UX designers working with agile teams is providing user...
At athenahealth we believe healthcare is broken and we
have the ambitious mission to make it work the way it should.
Agile...
OVERVIEW OF A RELEASE
Each release at athena is 16 weeks long from
development kick-off to GA release, but the Planning
ph...
OVERVIEW OF A RELEASE - IDEAL CASE
Numerous types of activities need to be completed by designers throughout the release c...
Our client is creating a new digital product for one of their insurance lines-of-
business. They’re using an enterprise va...
http://www.scaledagileframework.com/
SAFe is an agile
framework that our
corporate clients use.
Balancing
Enterprise Ops
w...
1
2
3
4
http://www.scaledagileframework.com/
Where to Add UX
Research & Design
in SAFe
1
Portfolio & Strategic Themes Exam...
At Veracode, our UX scrum team supports 18 dev teams.
Because our PM and Dev teams create a 12-month product
roadmap, we o...
What are the situations?
I need to test
 A changed workflow in existing software
 A new workflow
 A new UI component
 ...
Types of Agile User Research
 Concept validation
 RITE+Krug testing
 Lobby evaluations
 Baseline testing
Concept validation RITE+Krug testing Lobby evaluations Baseline testing
Changed workflow x x
New
workflow
x x
New UI
compo...
But that’s not all ….
Other methods we use are:
 Surveys
 Analytics
 Interviews
 Card sorts
 Tree testing
 Cognitive...
Our client’s new app is being rapidly designed during a pre-
development design sprint. They wanted to test their designs
...
LEARN & LAUNCH
LEARN & LAUNCH
Quick testing provides
rapid user feedback to
meet the tight deadlines of
weekly design sprints.
QUICK
TESTS
GfK Creates T...
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Make It Fast: Delivering UX Research to Agile Teams

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One of the biggest challenges facing UX designers working with agile teams is providing user research in a quick, effective way. Design sprints take less time than in the past and development makes it difficult to slip user feedback into the mix. Traditional research takes time to design, set up, recruit for, run and analyze. Since that could span several sprints, “traditional” research simply doesn’t work in today’s rapid pace development, and the user experience suffers. Many organizations are tackling this challenge.

We’ve brought together 4 panelists who are using methods to address the issue of rapid UX research. Panelists come from both in-house teams and agencies. We’ll share our approaches and offer practical advice about how to do it, why it works and what could be improved. We’ll cover both unmoderated tests and more traditional moderated tests. You’ll learn some new approaches and get a chance to ask questions or share your own experiences.

Published in: Design
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Make It Fast: Delivering UX Research to Agile Teams

  1. 1. User Research for Agile Teams One of the biggest challenges facing UX designers working with agile teams is providing user research in a quick, effective way. Design sprints take less time than in the past and development makes it difficult to slip user feedback into the mix. Traditional research takes time to design, set up, recruit for, run and analyze. Since that could span several sprints, “traditional” research simply doesn’t work in today’s rapid pace development, and the user experience suffers. Many organizations are tackling this challenge. We’ve brought together 4 panelists who are using methods to address the issue of rapid UX research. Panelists come from both in-house teams and agencies. We’ll share our approaches and offer practical advice about how to do it, why it works and what could be improved. We’ll cover both unmoderated tests and more traditional moderated tests. You’ll learn some new approaches and get a chance to ask questions or share your own experiences. Panel Discussion Moderator: Sarah Bloomer, SVP UX GfK sarah.bloomer@gfk.com Chris Chiusano Senior Manager UX athenahealth cchiusano@athenahealth.com Luis Valencia UX Specialist GfK luis.valencia@gfk.com Jen McGinn Director of User Experience Veracode jmcginn@veracode.com Jennifer Fabrizi Experience Design Consultant Slalom LLC jennifer.fabrizi@slalom.com
  2. 2. At athenahealth we believe healthcare is broken and we have the ambitious mission to make it work the way it should. Agile has become the most efficient path to delivering value and true customer success to our users. But, how canone1 scrum team experience designer possibly fit in research, design and iteration into a 2 week sprint? We can share a couple of things that make it possible. Including, being embedded on a single scrum team, UX review as part of the definition of done for every story, listening to customers constantly, and measuring success early and often. We look forward to sharing some proven tips! Chris Chiusano Senior Manager UX, athenahealth
  3. 3. OVERVIEW OF A RELEASE Each release at athena is 16 weeks long from development kick-off to GA release, but the Planning phase should start about 6 weeks before Sprinting to ensure developers can immediately start working on correct plans. At the end of the cycle, 4 weeks of sandbox & alpha testing occurs between completion of regular build sprints and GA release. CONCEPT DEFINITION From a scrum team designer perspective, there are 3 phases to each release: • Concept definition • Detailed design • Refinement & readiness DETAILED DESIGN REFINEMENT & READINESS
  4. 4. OVERVIEW OF A RELEASE - IDEAL CASE Numerous types of activities need to be completed by designers throughout the release cycle: Business problem framing, alignment and approval Build understanding and empathy through research, analytics and testing Conceptual / architectural system design Roadmapping from high-level backcasts to sprint plans Detailed design in collaboration with PO’s and developers. Supporting developers in execution.
  5. 5. Our client is creating a new digital product for one of their insurance lines-of- business. They’re using an enterprise variation of agile called “SAFe Agile” (Scaled Agile Framework) consisting of a Product Team and 6 scrum teams. They wanted a complete set of tested wireframes before launching the program, which is really evidence of the vestige of waterfall thinking. But what they actually needed was some light-weight user research and a way to jump start concept designs to enable the scrum teams to work on detailed designs collaboratively in the sprint cadence instead of the old Big Design Upfront approach. To meet the real need while still delivering the client “enough design upfront” to reduce angst about the designs, I used a Slalom Design Sprint in the runway leading up to the program launch. The Design Sprint consisted of research, a series of workshops, plus lightening usability tests. As a byproduct, the Design Sprint started the program’s path to transformation by creating a new, common “experience of design” for everyone on the team. Jen Fabrizi Experience Design Consultant, Slalom LLC
  6. 6. http://www.scaledagileframework.com/ SAFe is an agile framework that our corporate clients use. Balancing Enterprise Ops with Agile Principles & Behaviors
  7. 7. 1 2 3 4 http://www.scaledagileframework.com/ Where to Add UX Research & Design in SAFe 1 Portfolio & Strategic Themes Example • Corporate XD Strategist at the Portfolio level to support business strategists by layering in customer/user research • Slalom Design Sprints for new product ideation & visualization • Product validation research Value Stream Example • Portfolio XD Strategist to support/influence Value Stream engineers with outside-in PoVs • Slalom Design Sprints for new product refinement & visualization • Product validation research Program/”Agile Release Train” Example • XD Lead on Product Teams (2-3) to support Product Manager with detailed user research, usability testing, & UX strategy at the product level • Work with Product Owners Increment Planning to schedule sprints for usability testing XD Information Architects/Interaction Designers/Visual Designers/Front-end Developers • XD Delivery Resources on Scrum Teams for detailed design & team support 2 3 4
  8. 8. At Veracode, our UX scrum team supports 18 dev teams. Because our PM and Dev teams create a 12-month product roadmap, we often have the ability to design a quarter ahead of development. In that case, we conduct lightweight research during design “discovery” and then lightweight validation of the designs prior to implementation. When we need to pivot quickly, we conduct rapid Design Studios that get our stakeholders involved and sketching, but bring us to results in 4 hours, flat. Jen McGinn Director of User Experience, Veracode (CA Technologies)
  9. 9. What are the situations? I need to test  A changed workflow in existing software  A new workflow  A new UI component  Inside of a sprint cycle  Outside of a sprint cycle That has to make sense to  New users  Existing users
  10. 10. Types of Agile User Research  Concept validation  RITE+Krug testing  Lobby evaluations  Baseline testing
  11. 11. Concept validation RITE+Krug testing Lobby evaluations Baseline testing Changed workflow x x New workflow x x New UI component x Inside a sprint cycle x x x Outside a sprint cycle x x x x New users x x x x Existing users x x x x
  12. 12. But that’s not all …. Other methods we use are:  Surveys  Analytics  Interviews  Card sorts  Tree testing  Cognitive walkthroughs  User and task analysis  Competitive analysis
  13. 13. Our client’s new app is being rapidly designed during a pre- development design sprint. They wanted to test their designs as it evolved. We test every week to get enough people overall, yet we don’t want to miss the deeper insights. To meet this demand we combined both unmoderated and moderated research, introduced “Quick Tests” in combination with monthly in-person tests. An unmoderated Quick Test is ideally completed in 5 business days. We then hold monthly, moderated in-person tests to dig into the larger issues identified during the quick tests. Unmoderated tests have their own challenges, as well as ongoing tests over a long period of time on the same products. And then there’s working remotely with the design team. Luis Valencia UX Specialist, GfK
  14. 14. LEARN & LAUNCH
  15. 15. LEARN & LAUNCH
  16. 16. Quick testing provides rapid user feedback to meet the tight deadlines of weekly design sprints. QUICK TESTS GfK Creates Test Plans Pilot Un-moderated test, then LAUNCHDesign Teams’ Proposals Present Findings Summarize & Begin AgainAnalyze Tests

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