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Re: [agile-usability] Agile vs. Creativity

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  • Jeff Patton
    I m sitting in a restaurant in reykjavik - which I tell you for no other reason than I m surprised to be here, and pleased I ve learned to spell Reykjavik
    Message 1 of 118 , Dec 5, 2009
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      I'm sitting in a restaurant in reykjavik - which I tell you for no other reason than I'm surprised to be here, and pleased I've learned to spell Reykjavik consistently right. 

      Comments below. 

      On Dec 5, 2009, at 8:45 PM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

       

      Hello, mark. On Saturday, December 5, 2009, at 12:42:39 PM, you
      wrote:

      > If you are lucky enough to have an interaction design or information
      > architect on your staff... (statistically, there is one to every
      > hundred or two code writers) they are likely educated from one of a
      > dozen of so schools that specialize in that place between humans and
      > computers. The masters programs these days are pretty damn sgood. They
      > have three things going for them... a closeness to how user behave and
      > expect things to work, an intimacy with the product that few can claim
      > - at least on the product side(or as I think you call them
      > "customers') , and a passion for doing great work. You would think this
      > would provide some respect and regard.

      Actually, I wouldn't think that. Respect is not provided because one
      has gone to a good school and is full of passion. Respect comes when
      one becomes a member of the team and plays well with the team. If a
      designer--or anyone else--comes in expecting respect because of
      where they come from, they've got a surprise coming.

      I think we can all agree that our actions and accomplishments speak louder than any letters after our names.  

      I judge a designer's skill based on the quality of the software when it hits the market.  I've seen lots of ideas look good on paper and in prototype that don't workout well when they're actually in code. For better or worse designers must effectively collaborate with and win the trust of not only developers, but the businesses that employ them.   


      > Unlike a strategy and tactical
      > implementation of C++, everyone has an opinion about design and the
      > interactions of software because we all have a singular experience
      > perspective to draw from. If your domain of expertise was similarly
      > exposed to pedestrian expertise and institutional disregard, I dare
      > say you might work in isolation and expose your supreme solution in a
      > magic show ah ah sort of fashion as well.

      Designers shouldn't feel too sad about their state. They share the same level of scrutiny as football coaches, film directors, and presidents. It sucks. Designers who hate criticism from uneducated people could always change their careers to be programmers. ;-). But, if they do, they'd better avoid agile projects. All that pair programming, collective code ownership, and management looking at your code metrics gets tough. 


      > Is it appropriate of designers to hide
      > the process and act like spoiled babies when there ideas are
      > scrutinized and disregarded? Absolutely not. Designers need to
      > consider the misunderstandings and pseudo expertise that surrounds
      > them as part of the design constraints. They need to spend much more
      > time laying the ground work for their premise, providing evidence for
      > their conclusions and selling the best solution against the provided
      > criteria.

      Wonderful words.  The open criticism and the necessity to help others understand design decisions is part of the job. Good designers do it well. 

      What got me to write today is the growing concern I have with designers and agile developers pitching mudballs at each other when the real person(s) that needs to understand the value of design is business folks that make strategic product decisions. I continue to find that organizations that see strategic value in design that adopt agile still see strategic value in design. Agile doesn't change that. And the designers working in agile contexts prefer it over the way things were. 

      Agile does have the affect of making existing problems more visible. So if the execs of your company didn't value design before agile, they still won't. And now they'll have an easier time of showing it. 

      This strong belief that design is indeed strategic has led me to steer clear of companies that don't also believe that - agile or not.  

      Thanks,

      Jeff  




      Yes, yes, oh god yes.

      > There are lots of designers working on this level, but they
      > likely have reached a point in their careers where they no longer feel
      > compelled to tolerate the hostile environments of those who have yet
      > to embrace their practice and the benefits forthcoming. Or, maybe they
      > are off somewhere conspiring to drive the entire process.

      Most of them, I suggest, have learned to build trust (perhaps by
      clever techniques like not writing cartoons that make their
      customers look like jerks), and thought building trust, built their
      ability to guide and enhance what is done.

      Ron Jeffries
      www.XProgramming. com
      www.xprogramming. com/blog
      I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way. -- Jessica Rabbit

    • mark schraad
      I ve been called pedantic on occasion. I m ok with that ; )
      Message 118 of 118 , Dec 10, 2009
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        I've been called pedantic on occasion. I'm ok with that ; )

        On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 6:56 PM, Jeff Patton <jpatton@...> wrote:
         

        On Dec 6, 2009, at 12:22 AM, mark schraad wrote:

        Jeff,


        I run with a few definitions of design. When Alan Cooper (I can hear the cackles rise) came to talk with us a while back he spoke of differentiating the design of code (structure), from the design of the application, which is of course much different that designing labels and graphics for functionality.

        For me separating different kinds of design starts to get a bit tedious.  When you think about it, it's like night and day - which although you can tell me to the second when sunrise or sunset is, it's a pretty academic discussion when it's still light outside.  OK, bad metaphor - my point is that all design decision run together.  They just do.  Giving precise definitions for one type or another doesn't seem to help people make better decisions in practice. 

        Reading "the oatmeal" has put me in a strange mood.  Yes I am the mother-f**ing pterodactyl: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/ptero



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