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RE: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

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  • William Hudson
    A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the inter-role
    Message 1 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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      A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of
      the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
      inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
      and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
      roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
      one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
      same role in a different context.

      Regards,

      William


      -----Original Message-----
      From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adrian Howard
      Sent: 27 March 2013 11:39
      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

      Hey William,

      On 27 March 2013 11:34, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
      > I'd be really interested to see some of the original user stories if
      > possible. From a UCD perspective the shift to roles is not really a
      > benefit to users so it would be good to plot that development.

      That's an interesting statement to me. Could you expand upon it?

      Adrian
      --
      http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
      t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh


      ------------------------------------

      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Adrian Howard
      I d question whether the role slot in user stories often gets used in that way. The use-case role and the user story role tend to be used fairly
      Message 2 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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        I'd question whether the role slot in user stories often gets used in
        that way. The use-case "role" and the user story "role" tend to be
        used fairly differently in my experience.

        We hit the same name - different usage problem again.

        They're normally much closer to customer archetypes / persona in my
        experience (indeed most agile ux folk I know who adopt the story
        format slot persona into the role hole).

        Cheers,

        Adrian

        On 27 March 2013 12:03, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
        > A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of
        > the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
        > inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
        > and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
        > roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
        > one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
        > same role in a different context.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > William
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adrian Howard
        > Sent: 27 March 2013 11:39
        > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories
        >
        > Hey William,
        >
        > On 27 March 2013 11:34, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
        >> I'd be really interested to see some of the original user stories if
        >> possible. From a UCD perspective the shift to roles is not really a
        >> benefit to users so it would be good to plot that development.
        >
        > That's an interesting statement to me. Could you expand upon it?
        >
        > Adrian
        > --
        > http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
        > t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >



        --
        http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
        t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
      • William Hudson
        Agilists who know little or nothing about usability/UCD do try to take roles literally. I was talking with a client just a couple of weeks ago who pointed this
        Message 3 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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          Agilists who know little or nothing about usability/UCD do try to take roles
          literally. I was talking with a client just a couple of weeks ago who
          pointed this out as a problem with their introduction of UX design.

          Regards,

          William


          -----Original Message-----
          From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adrian Howard
          Sent: 27 March 2013 12:11
          To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

          I'd question whether the role slot in user stories often gets used in that
          way. The use-case "role" and the user story "role" tend to be used fairly
          differently in my experience.

          We hit the same name - different usage problem again.

          They're normally much closer to customer archetypes / persona in my
          experience (indeed most agile ux folk I know who adopt the story format slot
          persona into the role hole).

          Cheers,

          Adrian

          [snipped]
        • Adrian Howard
          ... My experiences differ. It does happen - of course - but my experiences of teams, even those without UX input, is that the roles are more often treated as
          Message 4 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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            On 27 March 2013 12:22, William Hudson <william.hudson@...> wrote:
            > Agilists who know little or nothing about usability/UCD do try to take roles
            > literally. I was talking with a client just a couple of weeks ago who
            > pointed this out as a problem with their introduction of UX design.

            My experiences differ.

            It does happen - of course - but my experiences of teams, even those
            without UX input, is that the roles are more often treated as market
            segments / archetypes / etc.

            They're certainly seem to treated much more generally than use-case type roles.

            Possibly you're seeing teams who are primarily transferring from
            use-cases to stories? In those situations it's certainly a common
            problem.

            Cheers,

            Adrian
            --
            http://quietstars.com adrianh@... twitter.com/adrianh
            t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward pinboard.in/u:adrianh
          • Larry Constantine
            ... the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict and so on.
            Message 5 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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              William said:

              > A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs of
              the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
              inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
              and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
              roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
              one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
              same role in a different context. <

              The user role concept traces back to contributions from Rebecca Wirfs-Brock
              and was developed and elaborated in usage-centered design and later
              model-driven activity-centered design (Constantine and Lockwood). A role is
              a relationship between users and a system or service and is defined (ala
              Wirfs-Brock) by a characteristic set of needs, expectations, interests, and
              responsibilities in relation to the system/service and in the context of the
              activity in which the user is participating. As such, a user role focuses
              precisely on those issues most salient to effective interaction design (see
              my chapter in The Persona Lifecycle for persuasive support). That it blurs
              or compresses "individual differences" is precisely why it is a more compact
              and efficient model, particularly for agile design and development.
              Individual incumbents in a role vary immensely; the role itself is are far
              less variable. Individuals are extremely complicated; roles are far simpler.
              A well-formulated role absolutely does make allowance for the needs of the
              individual, but not as an individual, not as a person, but rather as an
              individual in a particular activity and in a particular relationship to a
              designed artifact.

              The critical issue in modeling for agile IxD/UxD is to model only what is
              most important to model, compactly and concisely, to focus on what is likely
              to yield the biggest payoff in guidance toward an effective design in the
              least amount of time. The templated user role profiles employed in
              usage-centered design and human activity modeling do just that,
              concentrating the modeler/designer's attention on those things that are most
              likely to directly impact and shape the design.

              The issues you mention-role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role
              conflict-are interesting from an intellectual standpoint and often play some
              part in a complete analysis of human activity (we incorporate them in our
              application of activity-theory to educational research, for instance), but
              the relationship of the actor in role to the designed artifact is far more
              relevant to designing that system or service. Inter-role issues that may be
              important in organizational dynamics or social psychology are typically far
              less central to getting the design right.

              In the most recent incarnation of the user role profile that we use in
              model-driven agile design (not yet written up), we have reduced the template
              further to include just 3 categories (ORB): Orientation, Responsibilities,
              and Background. Orientation and attitude of the actor in role to focal
              activities and to the designed artifact; Responsibilities of the actor in
              role within focal activities and with the designed artifact; Background
              characteristics expected in relation to use of the designed artifact within
              focal activities. This is a vast simplification from the concept of role in
              activity theory and role theory, but it zeroes in on the stuff that is most
              likely to make a difference, covering the bases on a single index card.

              Modeling efficiency and design leverage are behind most of my work and the
              usage/activity-centered design community. It is why we favor concise role
              profiles over the decorative embellishments of personas, why essential use
              cases win out over traditional concrete use cases and scenarios.

              Psychologists and humanists can plead for attention to the individual, but,
              as Don Norman and I pointed out some years ago, that is precisely the
              problem. It is the focus on humans, on individuals, that diverts our
              attention from the more important focus on what people are doing and trying
              to do, that is, on activity as mediated by designed artifacts. This badly
              needed shift in focus was behind my development of human activity modeling
              (with Don's encouragement and contributions) and then its adaptation to
              agile design and development. We drive AD&D by activity models not to
              capture a complete analysis embodied in those models but to move as quickly
              and efficiently as possible toward good designs. That means concentrating on
              roles and activities and glossing over stuff that is less critical to speedy
              solutions.

              Prof. Larry Constantine, IDSA, ACM Fellow
              Universidade da Madeira | Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute
            • William Hudson
              Thanks, Larry. Very interesting. Do you know when Rebecca first started talking about roles? I have a paper here from Jacobson dated 1987 that describes their
              Message 6 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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                Thanks, Larry. Very interesting. Do you know when Rebecca first started
                talking about roles? I have a paper here from Jacobson dated 1987 that
                describes their use in OO development.

                BTW, I wasn't suggesting that designers of information systems should
                thoroughly research roles and their interrelationships. My point is more
                that roles are not a very useful focus of attention in many systems.

                Regards,

                William


                -----Original Message-----
                From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Larry Constantine
                Sent: 27 March 2013 13:06
                To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

                William said:

                > A role is a systemizing concept so really makes no allowance for needs
                > of
                the individual. Using it to represent users glosses over many of the
                inter-role issues like role ambiguity, role incompatibility, role conflict
                and so on. Of course, we have Ivar Jacobson and use cases to thank for
                roles, and they're not entirely without merit, but someone filling role A in
                one context of use may have quite different needs to someone filling the
                same role in a different context. <

                The user role concept traces back to contributions from Rebecca Wirfs-Brock
                and was developed and elaborated in usage-centered design and later
                model-driven activity-centered design (Constantine and Lockwood). A role is
                a relationship between users and a system or service and is defined (ala
                Wirfs-Brock) by a characteristic set of needs, expectations, interests, and
                responsibilities in relation to the system/service and in the context of the
                activity in which the user is participating. As such, a user role focuses
                precisely on those issues most salient to effective interaction design (see
                my chapter in The Persona Lifecycle for persuasive support). That it blurs
                or compresses "individual differences" is precisely why it is a more compact
                and efficient model, particularly for agile design and development.
                Individual incumbents in a role vary immensely; the role itself is are far
                less variable. Individuals are extremely complicated; roles are far simpler.
                A well-formulated role absolutely does make allowance for the needs of the
                individual, but not as an individual, not as a person, but rather as an
                individual in a particular activity and in a particular relationship to a
                designed artifact.

                [snipped]
              • Gerard Meszaros
                ... Yes, they used cards for all sorts of purposes including organizing presentations by putting each thing they wanted to talk about onto a card. Easy to
                Message 7 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
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                  On 3/26/2013 10:03 PM, Adam Sroka wrote:
                  > I can't remember who said it or the exact context, but I remember hearing that
                  > Ward and Kent really liked using cards for a variety of different things and
                  > that when stories came along it was just a natural fit.
                  >
                  >

                  Yes, they used cards for all sorts of purposes including organizing
                  presentations by putting each thing they wanted to talk about onto a card. Easy
                  to reorganize the content simply by moving the card. Other agilist/OO people
                  have adopted this style of presentation "notes" most notably (Uncle) Bob Martin
                  (who rarely uses visuals in presentation) and Ron Jeffries (another CCC team
                  member.)

                  Gerard

                  --
                  Gerard Meszaros
                  Lean/Agile Coach/Mentor/Trainer
                  http://www.gerardmeszaros.com
                  1-403-827-2967

                  Author of the Jolt Productivity Award winning book "xUnit Test Patterns -
                  Refactoring Test Code" and winner of the "Programming with the Stars"
                  competition at Agile 2009. Learn more at http://xunitpatterns.com/index.html
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