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Who should we talk to for advice?

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  • Nick Gassman
    Hello all. I ve been lurking for a while, and got good value, but haven t had anything useful to contribute. I am the Usability and Standards Manager for
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 24, 2008
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      Hello all. I've been lurking for a while, and got good value, but
      haven't had anything useful to contribute. I am the Usability and
      Standards Manager for ba.com (British Airways).

      We're looking hard at adopting Agile methodologies. We've talked to
      various people so far, and paid consultancies for their advice. Most
      of this activity has been led by the IT department (not a complaint
      per se, we work closely with them). However, I think that to balance
      the picture we would benefit from some face to face chats with some
      people who know their UCD/Agile stuff.

      A key question I'd like to explore is one which has been discussed
      here - how much interaction design do you do up front, and how much
      during development, and how this might vary for different types of
      projects. Other topics would include organisation, and
      roles/responsibilities/skills, and appropriate customer research
      methods to use for different projects/stages of projects.

      We already integrate UCD into our waterfall developments, so we know
      the subject area - we're not looking for a primer 101.

      My idea is that I and an IT/IA colleague have a number of
      conversations lasting about 2-3 hours (or so) around a flipchart.
      We're based near Heathrow if anyone is passing through and would like
      to visit our HQ, otherwise we would consider travelling to meet
      people. Most of you will know that the airline industry isn't in
      great shape at the moment, and so we'll need to keep tight control of
      any costs.

      If you have suggestions as to who we should talk to, please let me
      know, either replying to the group, or if you want to contact me
      directly please use my work email, which is nick.gassman@... (I
      use my personal email for the group as work doesn't do threaded
      conversations).

      thanks
      Nick
    • William Pietri
      ... For solo consulting, I d recommend the person who started this group, Jeff Patton: http://agileproductdesign.com/ I can t think of anybody who s delved
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 24, 2008
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        Nick Gassman wrote:
        > We're looking hard at adopting Agile methodologies. We've talked to
        > various people so far, and paid consultancies for their advice.[...]
        > I think that to balance
        > the picture we would benefit from some face to face chats with some
        > people who know their UCD/Agile stuff.

        For solo consulting, I'd recommend the person who started this group,
        Jeff Patton:

        http://agileproductdesign.com/

        I can't think of anybody who's delved deeper and thought longer about
        this topic; I remember talking with him about it at the first US Agile
        conference in 2001.

        For maximum face-time-for-money value, I'd suggest you go to
        conferences. Look especially for ones that are partly or totally
        open-space events. Then you can convene sessions around the precise
        topics that interest you and build relationships with peers.

        The Agile Alliance has a list of some upcoming events:

        http://agilealliance.org/events

        And there may be more out there.


        You should also consider just convening an unconference[1] around this
        topic in specific. You're in a hub city, you can probably get the needed
        physical space somewhere in your organization, and event costs
        (including hiring an open-space facilitator) may be a bargain compared
        with a consultancy. And given who you work for, you might be able to
        lure high-value attendees in with bargain flights. :-)


        Hoping that helps,

        William

        [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference
      • Clifton Kussmaul
        HI Nick, Last week, I was at the Usability Professional Association meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, and there were a couple of sessions (and lively discussion)
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 25, 2008
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          HI Nick,

          Last week, I was at the Usability Professional Association meeting

          in Baltimore , Maryland , and there were a couple of sessions

          (and lively discussion) about Agile/UCD – including references to this group.

           

          My impression is that most groups are using one of two approaches:

          1) within each iteration or sprint, do UCD on features for that sprint,

          so the UCD people are working very closely with the rest of the team

          2) while developers are doing iteration N, UCD is exploring options for N+1,

          and testing or otherwise evaluating N-1 – sort of a pipeline approach.

           

          My own preference is for 2), particularly if your iterations are very short

          and you need or want more lead time.

           

          Several weeks ago I was at a business analyst conference,

          and that community is having similar discussions about agile….

           

          Clif

           


          From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Nick Gassman
          Sent: Tue, Jun 24, 2008 4:14 pm
          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [agile-usability] Who should we talk to for advice?

           

          Hello all. I've been lurking for a while, and got good value, but
          haven't had anything useful to contribute. I am the Usability and
          Standards Manager for ba.com (British Airways).

          We're looking hard at adopting Agile methodologies. We've talked to
          various people so far, and paid consultancies for their advice. Most
          of this activity has been led by the IT department (not a complaint
          per se, we work closely with them). However, I think that to balance
          the picture we would benefit from some face to face chats with some
          people who know their UCD/Agile stuff.

          A key question I'd like to explore is one which has been discussed
          here - how much interaction design do you do up front, and how much
          during development, and how this might vary for different types of
          projects. Other topics would include organisation, and
          roles/responsibilit ies/skills, and appropriate customer research
          methods to use for different projects/stages of projects.

          We already integrate UCD into our waterfall developments, so we know
          the subject area - we're not looking for a primer 101.

          My idea is that I and an IT/IA colleague have a number of
          conversations lasting about 2-3 hours (or so) around a flipchart.
          We're based near Heathrow if anyone is passing through and would like
          to visit our HQ, otherwise we would consider travelling to meet
          people. Most of you will know that the airline industry isn't in
          great shape at the moment, and so we'll need to keep tight control of
          any costs.

          If you have suggestions as to who we should talk to, please let me
          know, either replying to the group, or if you want to contact me
          directly please use my work email, which is nick.gassman@ ba.com (I
          use my personal email for the group as work doesn't do threaded
          conversations) .

          thanks
          Nick

        • William Pietri
          Hi, Clifton! Welcome! ... My impressions are similar. But the best teams I see do both. Until a story is part of an iteration, investment in detailed design
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 25, 2008
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            Hi, Clifton! Welcome!

            Clifton Kussmaul wrote:

            My impression is that most groups are using one of two approaches:

            1) within each iteration or sprint, do UCD on features for that sprint,

            so the UCD people are working very closely with the rest of the team

            2) while developers are doing iteration N, UCD is exploring options for N+1,

            and testing or otherwise evaluating N-1 – sort of a pipeline approach.

             

            My own preference is for 2), particularly if your iterations are very short

            and you need or want more lead time.


            My impressions are similar. But the best teams I see do both.

            Until a story is part of an iteration, investment in detailed design risks going unused. On the other hand, without some design work up front, it can be hard to properly estimate or value a story. And as you say, when your iterations are frequent, trying to do all the design in-iteration can squeeze things too much.

            One solution is longer iterations, and I've seen some teams to fine work with 4-week cycles. But the top performers I've seen are on 1-2 week cycles. They like the clarity, discipline, and focus of the short cycles, and limiting planning changes for a week rather a month is an easier bargain to sustain.

            William

          • Nick Gassman
            ... Thanks for the suggestions here, and the direct contacts, there s some useful stuff. Also, the agile conference in Toronto looks good - there s a stream
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 25, 2008
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              --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Nick Gassman" <nick@...> wrote:
              >

              > If you have suggestions as to who we should talk to, please let me
              > know, either replying to the group, or if you want to contact me
              > directly please use my work email, which is nick.gassman@... (I
              > use my personal email for the group as work doesn't do threaded
              > conversations).
              >
              Thanks for the suggestions here, and the direct contacts, there's some
              useful stuff. Also, the agile conference in Toronto looks good -
              there's a stream dedicated to user experience.
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