Agile or Awkward


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Presentation as part of the CHI 2008 panel discussion: "Agile or Awkward: Surviving and Flourishing in an Agile/Scrum Project". See for more details.

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Agile or Awkward

  1. 1. Agile or Awkward: Surviving and Flourishing in an Agile/Scrum Project Miles Rochford CHI 2008, Florence 8 April 2008 All opinions expressed in this presentation are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the official view of Nokia.
  2. 2. About me • Software/web development background • Last six years: IA and UX practitioner • Now: Design Specialist at Nokia Design • Range of different projects, including both agile methods (scrum, xp) and waterfall • IANAAE!
  3. 3. Project background • Agency-side web application development • Integration with SSO, sync platform, third- party web services • UK launch, then global rollout • Short timeframe, only 4 months • First agile project for UX/creative teams
  4. 4. Agile goes global
  5. 5. Where does UX ‘fit’? • Creating the experience vision • Producing design deliverables • Acting as user advocate to dev team • Being part of the dev team
  6. 6. Creating the vision • ‘Sprint Zero’ – repurposed for UX • Get everything settled in advance, ready to go... but life isn’t like that • Often not long enough to develop effective design vision, depending on customer • Sometimes can be very long (>2 years) • Considerable UX resource required
  7. 7. Producing deliverables • Working ahead of development team, usually one sprint (sometimes two) in advance • Short sprints (two weeks) can be very hard • Handover to visual design before development – not agile people • Constant battle between new work, old work and current work – what wins?
  8. 8. Acting as advocate • Development team often too focused on customer needs, rather than user needs • Sometimes BA can work against UX • Some lack of appreciation for UX role • Front-end developers who grok’d UX and creative (and vice versa) valuable allies
  9. 9. Part of the team • Scrums, telcos, wikis, subversion, IM • Colocate, colocate, colocate! • Same room as front-end team • 5,000 miles from back-end team • Separation from agency-wide UX team • Long-term resourcing for UX an issue
  10. 10. Today’s challenges • Distributed teams, different organisations • Research, concepting, design, specification and development over long timeframes • Limited ability to commit design resource on an ongoing basis (agency and client side) • Integrating hardware, software and services • Involving end-users as stakeholders
  11. 11. Question • Does an agile methodology deliver a better user experience [than other alternatives]? • If it cannot, why should UX practitioners support and participate in the process?