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Re: [agile-usability] Today's article on UseIt.com

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  • William Pietri
    ... I wrote Jakob Nielsen a reply. I thought folks here would find some of it relevant, so here s an excerpt: I loved today s UseIt.com post on this topic. I
    Message 1 of 76 , Nov 19, 2008
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      William Pietri wrote:
      http://www.useit.com/alertbox/agile-methods.html
        

      I wrote Jakob Nielsen a reply. I thought folks here would find some of it relevant, so here's an excerpt:

      I loved today's UseIt.com post on this topic. I agree with everything you say, but I worry that you have missed five important benefits of strong Agile approaches to the usability and interaction design worlds. Perhaps they were omitted because of space, but given how widely heard your voice is, I want to be sure that they're given due consideration.

      Most of the teams I coach are on one-week iterations, and release 2-8 times per month. With cycles this short, many designers worry that creating a good user experience is impossible. But in practice, I think it makes it even easier, for three reasons:
      • Instead of trying to envision a perfect integrated user experience up front, which is impossible, short cycles make people comfortable with continuous revision. This allows designers to relentlessly polish the user experience, iteratively making things a bit better all the time.
      • Because there is no room for a special time for testing, evaluation has to happen all the time. Both designers and product managers can be much more driven by data, because there's less lag between realizing the need for data and the getting of it.
      • Very frequent releases mean that investment in any one approach is small. This makes people much more willing to change direction, or to try a variety of approaches.

      In addition, one common feature of all of the Agile methods is the focus on physical collocation and close working relationships. That's the key to the other two benefits, which I think are the largest:
      • By putting designers and developers within arm's reach, designers get much more influence over the end product. Even better, developers learn by osmosis to be junior user experience designers.
      • With all key participants continuously present, the team can find solutions more efficient and effective than any set of pure specialists working in isolation.
      Some people ignore the collocation aspect of Agile methods, but I'm sure you understand the dramatic effect the arrangement of people has on their interactions. There's a reason that first point in the Agile Manifesto is about people and interactions: that's key to making Agile methods work, and a big source of the benefits.



      William
    • Desilets, Alain
      ... that ... one ... http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemcc/archive/2008/03/27/productivit y- ...
      Message 76 of 76 , Jan 9, 2009
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        > > There are other studies (I don't have the exact quote) that show
        that
        > > the difference between a top-notch developer and a run-of-the-mill
        one
        > > is a factor of 10 or so.
        >
        > The back up for that is here :-
        >
        http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemcc/archive/2008/03/27/productivit
        y-
        >
        variations-among-software-developers-and-teams-the-origin-of-quot-10x-qu
        ot.aspx

        Thx James. I always assumed that this was indeed supported by actual
        studies, but still had a small nagging doubt that it might be one of
        those urban legends that start with "studies show that ...." ;-). This
        is a good reference which eliminates that doubt.

        Alain
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