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Re: [agile-usability] help wanted

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  • Patricia
    Wow this sounds wonderful! I like the job description... shux on the East Coast! ;-)! Good luck to you all. Cindy Lu wrote:Hi!
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 8, 2005
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      Wow this sounds wonderful! I like the job description... shux on the East Coast! ;-)!  Good luck to you all.

      Cindy Lu <hfe_consulting@...> wrote:
      Hi! Jeff,
      Are you still looking for people?  If yes, in what location?  I am located in New Jersey.  I am interesting in positions in NYC.
      - Cindy

      Jeff Patton <jpatton@...> wrote:
      Hi everyone.

      I hate people advertising things - unless it's useful and targeted to
      the list. Hopefully this one is.

      As a few might know, I work for a company called ThoughtWorks. Those
      familiar with the Agile landscape might have heard of ThoughtWorks
      before. But for others, ThoughtWorks is a consultancy that
      specializes in delivering projects using agile approaches. Please
      look at the website for more information: http://www.thoughtworks.com

      Happily for me, I've been somewhat successful raising the importance
      of using User Centered Design approaches along with traditional
      analysis and requirements elicitation approaches. Unhapplily for me,
      there are only a couple of folks in ThoughtWorks US that can do this
      sort of work, and now demand exceeds our capacity. We need more
      people. We're looking for strong generalists - folks proficient in
      working with software requirements using User Centered approaches.
      You'd need to be confident working with clients from project
      inception - needs identification through user interface prototyping,
      then help to guide the day to day development in an agle customer

      If you're interested, please contact me off-list at



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    • Jeff Patton
      ... Yes & no... mostly no. Quite a few people responded to my original post, and I have resumes for a few very qualified people. When I originally dropped the
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 8, 2005
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        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Cindy Lu
        <hfe_consulting@y...> wrote:
        > Hi! Jeff,
        > Are you still looking for people?

        Yes & no... mostly no.

        Quite a few people responded to my original post, and I have resumes
        for a few very qualified people. When I originally dropped the
        message in, we needed people desparately, and I wanted to funnel the
        right kind of people into our recruiting engine. Quckly things
        changed to having a bit of a surplus of people, so we're in a hiring
        holding pattern - likely through the end of the year.

        One of the things I quickly had to warn everyone that responded to
        the message, and something I should have put into my original post,
        was that ThoughtWorks is a consultancy dedicated to Agile
        development. One of the tenets of Agile development is face to face
        customer collaboration. In short strokes that means all of our work
        is on-site with customers. That means plan on working everywhere and
        nowhere - plan on travel nearly 100%. [Saturday I'm headed from Salt
        Lake City where I live to spend a few weeks in Sydney for a client

        I'm responding to this post verbosely because bringing up the role of
        a UCD person at ThoughtWorks actually has a lot to do with the role
        of a UCD person in any agile context.

        In most agile contexts while there's the idea that there's one team,
        there's a bifurcation around requirements and planning. Those that
        determine what requirements are and what to build first fall on one
        side - that side is referred to as the customer team, or simply
        the "customer" - customer being a role - not necessarily a guy with
        wads of cash in his pocket itching to buy some software. On the
        other side are the people who take those requirements and build the
        software in short development increments.

        UCD people generally fit on the customer side since they help decide
        what to build and how it should work.

        For those of you doing UCD type of work, you likely know by now that
        it's not agile processes that neglect this sort of design work,
        it's /all/ software development processes. As a result, many of the
        clients we deal with don't usually know what a UCD person is or
        does. If the app needs a GUI and they'd like it to look good, often
        a UI-person is pulled in late to "make it pretty." So, at
        ThoughtWorks, and in many organizations, people who work with
        requirements are called "analysts." ThoughtWorks hires business
        analysts. Those business analysts work on "customer teams" working
        directly with our client's business people and end users to
        understand the business process and the software to be built and then
        communicate that into development as user stories - little bits of
        development work.

        The work I do within ThoughtWorks is to raise the level of awareness
        about the extreme amount of overlap between user centered design work
        and requirements gathering. I have hopes that our business analysts
        would use a blend of UCD techniques and traditional analysis
        techniques. What analyst couldn't benefit from contextual design
        style interview and observation skills? - usage-centered design role
        and task modeling skills? - or goal directed design's persona
        building techniques?

        I remembere being at the Agile 2005 conference this year and talking
        with Lynn Miller from Alias [who's experience report you /must/ read:
        http://www.agile2005.org/XR19.pdf%5d. She mentioned that there were
        all these poeple talking about the customer, and that it wasn't till
        well into the conference that she figured out that /she/ was the
        customer - in her words "they're talking about me!"

        So to summarize:
        * UCD people, you're "agile customers." Did you know that?
        * I believe most people in software development don't know what UCD
        people really do, so to them you're "business analysts." Did you
        know that?

        ThoughtWorks always benefits from having good people that can help
        that agile customer role. We call them business analysts - cuz
        that's what our clients understand. The best people in that role
        have user centered design skills - along with a lots of others.


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