Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [agile-usability] Origins of user stories

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      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 2 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          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 4 of 23 , Mar 27, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            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
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.