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Re: [agile-usability] Valuing stories

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  • Ron Jeffries
    Hello, hughrbeyer. On Saturday, September 5, 2009, at 11:32:13 ... Generally speaking, refactoring doesn t count as a user story. I teach teams to keep
    Message 1 of 53 , Sep 5, 2009
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      Hello, hughrbeyer. On Saturday, September 5, 2009, at 11:32:13
      AM, you wrote:

      > 1. A story should deliver working, useful code. This is the
      > traditional XP approach. It's fine, but limiting. Refactoring
      > delivers working code, but that code was already working--why does
      > it count?

      Generally speaking, refactoring doesn't count as a user story. I
      teach teams to keep refactoring in the background because it is so
      difficult to compare it to things that seem like revenue.

      > User research or testing delivers a better understanding
      > of users, which is valuable, and will change the code eventually,
      > but not right away. Why shouldn't it count?

      Some forms of user research, it seems to me, are like market
      research. They are part of the customer's job. The customer can do
      those any way she wants. They are not part of the software
      development team's activities at all ... because they don't result
      in software (just then).

      Some user research is done by creating software for users to use and
      researchers to observe. That's software development: it can be a
      story. Its business value is information. As such the customer can
      schedule it the same way she would any other story.

      > 2. A story should deliver real customer value. This gives us a
      > little more flexibility. Well-structured code is more valuable
      > than poorly structured code. And, I'd claim, understanding users
      > and their needs is also valuable, though again only because it
      > changes what the design team will then do.

      Yes. Again, I don't count refactoring as a story. I would count
      development of a piece of software to do user experience with as a
      story. I would not treat a paper prototype or other non-software UX
      tool as a story.

      > 3. In his keynote, Alistair suggested another way to think about
      > it: A story should reduce the risk of the project. This is nice
      > because thinking about risk gives us more flexibility. Not having
      > working code is clearly a risk--but poorly structured code is also
      > a risk. And, I'd add, not understanding your user, or having
      > untested designs are a risk.

      Sure. There is business value in reduction of risk. This should not
      be news to us.

      > In the end though, I still feel that a "user story" pretty much
      > has to define some part of the user experience. If that experience
      > is delivered through code, fine--if not, also fine. It's still a
      > story. But then how do we account for all these other tasks?

      I believe it is very important for the software development team to
      produce software. I see too many teams who lose the benefits of the
      agile process by accepting almost any damn thing as a story.

      We could imagine, however, running a larger team, with a software
      team inside it, using the planning and execution style of an agile
      process, but this time not focused on software but some other
      carefully chosen set of deliverables. I think of that as a sort of
      containing team. Clearly with a customer and team with their eye
      totally on the ball, one could relax away from my concern about a
      strict focus on software.

      Ron Jeffries
      www.XProgramming.com
      www.xprogramming.com/blog
      Assume that anything you didn't like was the funny stuff.
      -- Jim Shore
    • Adrian Howard
      ... I think that they re probably an orthogonal dimensions myself. I ve met people who make very good decisions about the design of the code/ ux - but are not
      Message 53 of 53 , Sep 11, 2009
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        On 6 Sep 2009, at 21:27, Hassan Schroeder wrote:

        > On Sat, Sep 5, 2009 at 8:31 PM, William Pietri<william@...>
        > wrote:
        >
        >> .... In fact, teams are doing design all the time. The choice
        >> isn't between designing and not designing; it's between designing
        >> well
        >> and designing poorly.
        >
        > Or between designing consciously and designing unconsciously,
        > the latter being fairly close to "not designing" :-)


        I think that they're probably an orthogonal dimensions myself. I've
        met people who make very good decisions about the design of the code/
        ux - but are not really able to articulate the reasoning behind them
        very well.

        This can be problematical since their decisions can sound arbitrary to
        others - even when they're really good decisions.

        Cheers,

        Adrian

        --
        http://quietstars.com - twitter.com/adrianh - delicious.com/adrianh
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