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The Role of Vision

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  • Jared M. Spool
    ... I guess I m wondering what the role of a vision for the project is in the Agile world. As we study the differences between those organizations that
    Message 1 of 83 , May 8, 2008
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      On May 8, 2008, at 1:02 PM, aacockburn wrote:

      I'm been following this question about usage and usability design 
      VERSUS incremental development for quite a while - since Jeff started 
      up this group, and talking with him, and comparing how he describes 
      visual designers' work v programmers work, and how I also do and see 
      them. 

      I confess that I can't yet see a way out of the conundrum. 

      I guess I'm wondering what the role of a 'vision' for the project is in the Agile world.

      As we study the differences between those organizations that produced great user experiences from the ones that are struggling to do so, we see that one key differentiator between the two groups is whether they have a clear vision.

      Members of successful teams can quickly elaborate what the experience of using the design will be like years in the future. And everyone on the team gives basically the same story. So, it's clear they know what the ideal is. (Keep in mind, this is a vision of the experience, not of the technical solution that will drive that experience.)

      Struggling team members are very reactive and focused in the next deliverable. They can't describe what it the user's experience will be ten, five, or even three years in the future. (Many have trouble describing what it will be when the project is complete in 10 weeks.)

      If you don't have a unified vision, it's much harder to make sure everyone understands where you're going.

      So, where in an Agile world, does vision come in to play?

      Jared

      Jared M. Spool
      User Interface Engineering
      510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
      e: jspool@... p: +1 978 327 5561

    • carl myhill
      I m a bit new to Agile but don t really see the problem with this vision thing. I use the Cooper Goal-Directed Design Method. We interview users to learn their
      Message 83 of 83 , Jun 2, 2008
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        I'm a bit new to Agile but don't really see the problem with this
        vision thing. I use the Cooper Goal-Directed Design Method.

        We interview users to learn their goals and understand their tasks and
        we do that up front, perhaps as a sprint rather than anything
        iterative.

        We produce personas, from the interview data, and goals. And we
        produce high level context scenarios, which start making basic
        references to concepts that will exist in the design.

        From the context scenarios we can almost underline the parts which
        indicate user needs.

        Then we take out a whiteboard pen and write a storyboard wireframe
        (which Cooper used to call the Design Vision and now call in
        Interaction Framework). We elaborate a bit on the design hinted at in
        the context scenario and produce a key path scenario, which describes
        in more detail how the user will interact with the design. This whole
        exercise lets us outline the anatomy of the design and to understand
        how to play it.

        When we are happy with that Design Vision, we can jump into iterations
        and do a bit of 'just in time' detailed design.

        The Vision, is the Design Vision. It is justified through
        understanding the users typical day and their typical needs. It
        probably won't change much since it is quite high level.

        I'm not sure where the problem is with a vision like this. perhaps,
        the only drawback is that you have to do a bit of work in front of the
        iterative cycles to get a good understanding of the users and what
        they do to enable you to get this vision pinned down.

        i'd be interested in comments on this.

        Carl
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