Larry s original post about the magic of both/and vs. either/or , as well as some of the comments that followed reminded me of one of my own perspectives onMessage 1 of 37 , Jul 13, 2009View SourceLarry's original post about the magic of "both/and" vs. "either/or", as well as some of the comments that followed reminded me of one of my own perspectives on user research ('though I believe Jared may have said it first in one of his presentations from years past). Good research is a mix of science and art.There are established practices to ensure that you set yourself up to witness the 'best' or 'most insightful' events, and what is observed is a fact, indisputable. One could argue how much 'truth' is contained in that observation, but that is a discussion I'm not going to get into here. This is the science of research.However, what you do with that information is art. The difference between what an expert will do with that information and what a novice will do with that information can vary greatly. I imagine most will agree with the assessment at the extremes. Like Larry said, few of us work on the far ends of any spectrum. So, is a novice with some data better than an expert with no data? Can an expert really have no data?When we write, it is easiest to write in large, sweeping, platitudes as nuance is much harder to communicate and most readers are not satisfied with a long ramble that starts and ends with 'it depends'. However, what makes a successful practitioner of any discipline is the ability to go beyond that and adapt to the idiosycrasies of the specific situation. While I have seen a few agencies who are so established and respected as to be able to dictate their process in almost it's entirety to their clients, most of us do not have that luxury. So, I assume that all involved in this discussion are quite adept at adapting.Jeremy 'overuser of quotes' Kriegel"Be well, do good work & keep in touch."
- Garrison Keillor
On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 5:18 AM, Larry Constantine <lconstantine@...> wrote:
I don't know where to begin. No one here in this forum, and certainly not
me, has ever implied (as far as I can recall) that user research provides
little if any value. The fact that you keep reading into and exaggerating
what is in fact a nuanced position that I have tried to express with some
precision (leavened with some humor, too) is exactly the problem that my
peppering of flippancy addresses. The perspective you attribute to the agile
community is, I would agree, deeply flawed, but it is not one I hear from
the agilistas.In the interest of ongoing civility in this forum I will only repeat that
> The self-stated fact that Larry cannot imagine user research contributing
to making the cited projects any better shows that his perspective is flawed
from the outset. <
you completely and repeatedly misrepresent my perspective. On the assumption
that you misrepresent it because you don't understand it rather than as a
matter of choice, let me say it one more time in simple statements: (1) user
research is generally a good idea; (2) it is not infinitely good; (3) it has
a downside as well as an upside; (4) there always tradeoffs and choices, and
sometimes the best way to spend scarce resources is on something other than
Going back to your earlier prod:My exact response, again, was:
> imagine how astronomically successful it would
have been if it had been informed by some good design research <
The operant clauses there are: "have no reason to believe" not "can't
> I have no reason to believe that so much as ten
minutes or ten weeks more of user research would have resulted in a
dramatically better product in the cases I know within the constraints of
imagine"; "resulted in a dramatically better" not "contributing to"; andIndeed, if you go back and read my original post, you'll see that in both
"within the constraints of time."
cases we did do some "user experience research," but not too much. (It was
of course, "good" user research; I wouldn't have it any other way. :-) You
do not have to sell me on face-to-face interaction with real people who
might be or become users, which I always do.
If you truly want to help the agile community appreciate UX and the UX
community benefit from agile thinking, then I would suggest you address what
members of these communities are actually saying rather than exaggerated
attributions that are easily dismissed but also not representative.
As for me, I am not really a member of either community, although I work and
teach and write in both spheres. The fact that I am an equal opportunity
detractor and have found fault with some of the assumptions and practices on
both sides may explain why no one will claim me. ;-)
Yours in nuanced distinctions,
--Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
Director, Lab:USE Laboratory for Usage-centered Software Engineering
Professor, Department of Mathematics & Engineering
University of Madeira | Funchal, PortugalChief Scientist, Constantine & Lockwood Ltd
One of Jeff s points resonated strongly with me. To put it flippantly, no one cares how we build products, just how much they get from using them. Ideally, theMessage 37 of 37 , Jul 27, 2009View SourceOne of Jeff's points resonated strongly with me. To put it flippantly, no one cares how we build products, just how much they get from using them. Ideally, the way we work makes us happy, makes our customers happy, and makes our bosses happy. (note: money is often a significant component of said happiness)Adherence to the process can be almost comical. At a prior company, when talking to someone about why they missed their release deadline (yeah, I know. Agile and deadlines are not the best of friends) he explained that a certain activity had to be done 2 sprints prior to release, but that its associated story got cut from the sprint it needed to happen in. Clearly, there is a lot at work here that I'm not going to bother to dissect, but this team was more focused on the agile process than the success of the product and the perceptions of the company leadership. It was not pretty.-jer"Be well, do good work & keep in touch."
- Garrison Keillor
On Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 11:00 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:Hello, John. On Sunday, July 26, 2009, at 10:53:07 PM, you wrote:I often recommend exercise and eating sensibly ...
> Heh. It would never occur to me to recommend something that I wasn't
> doing myself.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith