Articles on agile

The November issue of  InformationWeek contained an interesting Dr. Dobb’s article on Lean User Experience (UX) design. If you’re new to the concept Lean UX is all about finding a way to systematically integrate UX design – both information architecture (IA)  and visual design – into an agile development methodology. Traditional UX design (is there such a thing?) front loads the creative and IA work before development begins. Lean UX addresses the importance of using a collaborative, iterative approach to integrate the two disciplines and processes.

This article lays out an effective sample lean UX end-to-end workflow. Having the major UI design phase in the middle of the project workflow can be a great approach.

  • Get the team to find a solution;
  • Pair a designer and a developer;
  • Draw a low-fidelity wireframe;
  • Validate it quickly;
  • Build a low-fidelity prototype;
  • Do usability testing;
  • Make corrections and validate them;
  • Design the UI;
  • Code it;
  • Have users test it;
  • Demo it to the product owner;
  • Deploy it;
  • Collect metrics;
  • Validate it (is it producing the expected result?);
  • Move to the next story until the project is done.

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This article discusses Sapient’s approach of using intense, full-day workshops to bring together stakeholders and project teams to discuss and define system requirements. This type of approach is very useful on large projects with numerous stakeholders, designers, developers, and managers. Having developers attend, and take an active role, in this early phase offers numerous benefits.  It often takes weeks, or even months – especially on Federal Government projects – to line up enough meetings to thoroughly define requirements.  This approach allows much of it to happen in one day. Not to mention the intangible positives, like stakeholder buy-in and team building, that these workshops offer.

Improving Communication between Customers and Developers