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RE: [agile-usability] Implementing the agile customer, was: Custo mer vs user

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  • Desilets, Alain
    Usability/UCD people recommend specific functionality based their research - so are they part of the customer team? Usability/UCD people might precisely design
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2004
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      Usability/UCD people recommend specific functionality based their
      research - so are they part of the customer team?

      Usability/UCD people might precisely design the user interface and
      user interactions. UI designers often act a bit like programmers and
      find themselves on the developer team. Are they developers?

      Usability/UCD often do user centric testing. Are they testers?

      Usability/UCD work often supports or validates marketing work. Are
      they deep in the business side of the customer team?

      In an ideal world, how would a usability person help to implement a
      customer role? Would they help implement other roles? What's an
      example of an agile process involving UCD people in a healthy way.
      [I can elaborate on way I think is healthy, but I'd like to hear
      responses from those who are doing it, and suggestions from those
      with thoughts on the subject - including Ron ;-) ]

      [Alain]
      In the software development world, there used to be a lot of separate roles
      and phases.

      There were requirements people who did their thing at the start of the
      project. Then there were design people who did their stuff based on the
      requirements. Then there were programming people who did their stuff based
      on the design. Then there were testing people who did their stuff on the
      implemented system.

      One of the great insights of XP is that this kind of separation is
      counterproductive. It's much more efficient to blend different
      people/roles/phases into one big soup with tight feedback loops between all
      of the components.

      As a developper on an XP team, I do requirement gathering when I engage the
      customer or customer team in a face-to-face conversation to clarify the
      meaning of a User Story. I design all the time by refactoring the code so
      that it hangs together well given what it has to do today. I test all the
      time by following test-first development religiously.

      Of course, I have my own areas of expertise. I'm very good at writing unit
      testing so people often come to me when they have a class that they don't
      know how to test (ex: a GUI). But I don't think of myself as a tester and I
      certainly don't just work on the testing part.

      I think UCD people working with an agile team will need to adopt a similar
      stance. If you do, I bet you'll find stakeholders (and developpers in
      particular) to be much more sympathetic about "the cause".

      Actually, I just realised that a lot of what the UCD people experience right
      now is similar to what testing people used to experience before XP. Testers
      used to be in a separate quality control department and developpers tended
      to view them very poorly because their job was essentially to tell
      developpers that their baby was ugly (sounds familiar?) Also, testing was
      often treated as an afterthought (first we'll get the damn thing running and
      we'll test if we have time).

      By making testing an integral part of the development process and having
      testers being actively involved in the creation of the product (as opposed
      to just criticizing it), XP has turned things on its head. Nowadays, lots of
      developpers just love the comfort of working on a system that has an
      extensive set of unit tests. They also tend to think as a tester more and
      think about limit conditions upfront instead of waiting to be told by the QA
      department.
      [/Alain]



      We've touched on this subject before. In this message Lynn @ alias
      talks a bit about how they do things:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-usability/message/298 I have
      every indication that alias is a shining example of how to involve
      usability in an agile process in a very healthy way.

      thanks,

      -Jeff








      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Ron Jeffries
      Kent Beck once said that he considered the division between Customer and Programmer in XP to be a flaw, but that he couldn t see how to get rid of it. With
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 2004
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        Kent Beck once said that he considered the division between Customer and
        Programmer in XP to be a flaw, but that he couldn't see how to get rid of
        it. With that in mind ...

        On Wednesday, December 1, 2004, at 10:08:41 AM, Desilets, Alain wrote:

        > Usability/UCD people recommend specific functionality based their
        > research - so are they part of the customer team?

        They are members of the team. They are acting in the Customer role.

        > Usability/UCD people might precisely design the user interface and
        > user interactions. UI designers often act a bit like programmers and
        > find themselves on the developer team. Are they developers?

        They are members of the team. They are acting in the Programmer role.

        > Usability/UCD often do user centric testing. Are they testers?

        I'd need to know more about what they're doing. Sometimes testers act in
        Customer Role, sometimes (rarely) in Programmer role.

        > Usability/UCD work often supports or validates marketing work. Are
        > they deep in the business side of the customer team?

        Sounds like they are members of the team working in Customer role.

        > In an ideal world, how would a usability person help to implement a
        > customer role? Would they help implement other roles? What's an
        > example of an agile process involving UCD people in a healthy way.
        > [I can elaborate on way I think is healthy, but I'd like to hear
        > responses from those who are doing it, and suggestions from those
        > with thoughts on the subject - including Ron ;-) ]

        I've not worked with a team using UCD experts. Jeff Patton and others have,
        and they know more about that than I would.

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Accroche toi a ton reve. --ELO
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