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Re: [agile-usability] where do your UX team-members sit?

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  • Adrian Howard
    Hi Yaniv, Thanks for posting. ... My personal experience is that it is better to have UX folk with the rest of the team during the product development process.
    Message 1 of 52 , Dec 5, 2010
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      Hi Yaniv,

      Thanks for posting.

      On 3 Dec 2010, at 19:22, yaniv_nord wrote:

      > I manage a team of 4 UX folks at a medium sized software company that has recently transitioned to Scrum.
      >
      > We have 3 scrum teams each staffed with Developers, UX, QA, Scrum-master and product owner. So the UX people sit with their team.
      >
      > For the most part this is ok for me, but I worry that we're missing out on that really important UX process that comes when you get a few smart designers in a room bouncing ideas off one another.
      >
      > My instinct is to huddle the UX team together.
      >
      > What are your experiences with this issue?

      My personal experience is that it is better to have UX folk with the rest of the team during the product development process. I've generally found that design groups/departments, as separate entities from the rest of product development, cause more problems that they solve (see an old rant on the topic on uxexchange at http://is.gd/ickb9 :-)

      That's not to say getting folk with similar skill sets together to sharpen the saw in their particular area isn't an excellent idea - as Ron and William suggest. Hopefully the environment should be setup so that people in different teams are still allowed to go talk to each other!

      It seems to be a common experience that embedding UX folk in the team give better results, see Jeff Gothelf's description of the evolution of agile/ux at theladders.com for example - http://is.gd/iclDZ

      Managing the transition can be hard though. Two common issues that I've come across, and heard others encountering, are:

      * Lack of resources. You have 2 UX folk trying to support 6 scrum teams... Often agile is surfacing a long term under-resourcing of the UX side of the organisation that was hidden by having the UX folk in one area.

      * No actual team work. The UX person doesn't involve the developers in the UX work, or the developers don't want to get involved with the UX work, or both...

      Do any of the above ring bells for you? Have you encountered any particular problems with your new setup?

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Adrian
      --
      http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
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    • Kristen Ryan
      I work at a medium sized company. We have three designers and five developers, all who sit in close confines. From reading the posts lately I wonder if we
      Message 52 of 52 , Feb 9, 2011
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        I work at a medium sized company. We have three designers and five developers, all who sit in close confines. From reading the posts lately I wonder if we handle design and development differently.

        It seems (and I may be horribly wrong) that the arguments are mainly against big, up front design. I absolutely agree. However, I don't think that having designers do designs prior to development is a bad thing, if done well and there's plenty of communication.

        We have one month release cycles, which means we're getting real, working software into our clients hands very quickly, and get feedback quickly as well. We do paired design, so two designers will sit down and shake out most of the design. This can take anywhere from a day to a week and a half depending on the size of the story. During this time we meet with developers several times so they know where the design is going, point out technical road blocks, and yes, give design input. Then we hand it over to get coded, and during this time the designers work closely with the developer who's handling the story to answer questions and work out real time design questions.

        So the designers do a bulk of the design (I'd say 95%), but there's no huge outlay of up front design. We do it all 'just in time'. Designs get input from developers, product owners, and other stakeholders. The mock up's may go through three or four iterations before they reach development, all within a few days time.

        I'm not saying that developers cannot design, I think many can to varying degrees. We've just found that paired design done just prior to development, and working in close proximity to each other has allowed us to create great designs quickly.



        On 12/4/10 4:33 PM, Tref Gare wrote:
         

        Our environment is the opposite – we huddle our ux folk together which does give us the cross pollination thing, but means we miss out on the embedded engagement with the developers.  I’d love to find some form of middle ground where I get to regularly mind meld with my design colleagues, but also am in there with the devs when the design hits the metal.

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