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[agile-usability] Splitting UCD (was UED and Agile)

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  • Marc Robichaud
    ... So I am new, this may have already been discussed and don t have experience so forgive my terminology. Here s my view.... Everything that I ve
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 14, 2004
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      > Does anbody have any great tips, resources, stories to share on the
      > best ways to integrate User Experience Design into the Agile process?
      > How do you integrate user research in 4 week cycles?

      So I am new, this may have already been discussed and don't have
      "experience" so forgive my terminology. Here's my view....

      Everything that I've discussed/learned about Agile so far focuses on the 4
      week design/development cycle. But before that even starts there is the
      definition of the work groups. That is, setting up the hopper of features
      that will be built.

      The user-centered design needs to be split at the same point. User
      definition, field research, surveys, interviews, end-user testing of the
      existing solution should occur prior to the 4 week cycle. This information
      is used to prioritize the features along with the marketing/business
      drivers.

      Getting user input during the design/development cycle would be tough and I
      don't have any experience/knowledge to speak to. I would think that it would
      be more of interaction design, apply the user data to the interface. Agile
      is a very Technology/Project Management focused process (no worse than UML)
      and puts responsibility into the hands of programmers. I haven't heard a
      solution of how to effectively interject Interaction Design as a role or
      practice into the 4 week cycle when Agile assumes that coding starts right
      away. My experience has been that good interaction design heavily effects
      workflow and coding. Doing some tweaks after a usability test is relatively
      simple in comparison. I'm sure some early whiteboarding/wireframes could be
      done over a day or two and would make a big difference. These are rather
      small set of features after all. I would think that end-user testing could
      easily be completed during the design/development cycle, if a fast and dirty
      approach was taken.

      Marc Robichaud
      Information Architect
      Critical Mass

      marcr[at]criticalmass.com
    • Stephanie Chamberlain
      Methods such as Scrum allow for an upfront period of design where this kind of work can take place. Here at the BBC we ve tried to use an integrated approach
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 14, 2004
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        Methods such as Scrum allow for an upfront period of design where this kind of work can take place.  Here at the BBC we've tried to use an integrated approach where designers and developers work iteratively together (using paper prototypes and user testing for example).  Designers typically have a period of weeks in which to research the users and in some cases the whole project team has been involved in putting together personas etc.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  It does require a change in mind-set for both the development and design team.  The design team needs to become used to working alongside the development team and "feeding" them with assets and prototypes, while the project managers need to be aware of the different time-scales each discipline works to.  It's often not recognised that the use of Agile methods is a change for production teams and therefore needs to be managed as such.  There is little point in throwing people together who know nothing about the method chosen and expecting them to change the way they do things to make it work.
         
        Extreme programming seems less able to integrate we UCD in our experience though I'd love to hear from anyone who has found this not to be the case.
         
        Stephanie Chamberlain
         
         
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Marc Robichaud [mailto:marcr@...]
        Sent: 14 December 2004 15:48
        To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: rachelpowers@...
        Subject: [agile-usability] Splitting UCD (was UED and Agile)

        > Does anbody have any great tips, resources, stories to share on the
        > best ways to integrate User Experience Design into the Agile process?
        > How do you integrate user research in 4 week cycles?

        So I am new, this may have already been discussed and don't have
        "experience" so forgive my terminology. Here's my view....

        Everything that I've discussed/learned about Agile so far focuses on the 4
        week design/development cycle. But before that even starts there is the
        definition of the work groups. That is, setting up the hopper of features
        that will be built.

        The user-centered design needs to be split at the same point. User
        definition, field research, surveys, interviews, end-user testing of the
        existing solution should occur prior to the 4 week cycle. This information
        is used to prioritize the features along with the marketing/business
        drivers.

        Getting user input during the design/development cycle would be tough and I
        don't have any experience/knowledge to speak to. I would think that it would
        be more of interaction design, apply the user data to the interface. Agile
        is a very Technology/Project Management focused process (no worse than UML)
        and puts responsibility into the hands of programmers. I haven't heard a
        solution of how to effectively interject Interaction Design as a role or
        practice into the 4 week cycle when Agile assumes that coding starts right
        away. My experience has been that good interaction design heavily effects
        workflow and coding. Doing some tweaks after a usability test is relatively
        simple in comparison. I'm sure some early whiteboarding/wireframes could be
        done over a day or two and would make a big difference. These are rather
        small set of features after all. I would think that end-user testing could
        easily be completed during the design/development cycle, if a fast and dirty
        approach was taken.

        Marc Robichaud
        Information Architect
        Critical Mass

        marcr[at]criticalmass.com












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      • William Pietri
        ... Hi, Stephanie. Could you tell us more about the specific problems you ve had? I recently did a nine-month XP project where the product manager (in XP
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 14, 2004
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          On Tue, 2004-12-14 at 16:22 +0000, Stephanie Chamberlain wrote:
          >
          > Extreme programming seems less able to integrate we UCD in our
          > experience though I'd love to hear from anyone who has found this not
          > to be the case.

          Hi, Stephanie. Could you tell us more about the specific problems you've
          had?

          I recently did a nine-month XP project where the product manager (in XP
          terms, the Customer) was also the UI designer and a passionate believer
          in user-centered design. We all thought it went quite well.

          Perhaps if you describe some of your issues I could describe the parts
          of what we did.

          Thanks,

          William


          --
          William Pietri <william@...>
        • Jeff Patton
          ... If I have a thing this is it... but, information I have on the subject is still pretty incomplete. There s a section in Cockburn s Crystal Clear on the
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 14, 2004
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            --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Rachel Powers"
            <rachelpowers@c...> wrote:
            > Does anbody have any great tips, resources, stories to share on the
            > best ways to integrate User Experience Design into the Agile
            > process?

            If I have a "thing" this is it... but, information I have on the
            subject is still pretty incomplete. There's a section in Cockburn's
            Crystal Clear on the subject
            [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201699478/qid=1103090953/sr=2
            -1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/002-3899669-1706466] This paper, now a little
            dated and containing a few typos describes combining usage centered
            design and agile approaches:
            http://www.abstractics.com/papers/AddingU-CDToAgileDevelopment.pdf
            This presentation: http://ebe.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/ebe/attach?
            page=Root.CASCON2004WS%2FJeff.ppt gives slides I use for a standard
            presentation on this subject. The slides suffer without the dialogue
            behind them. But, the basic gist is I've overlaid Jesse James
            Garrett's very useful Elements of User Experience model on my agile
            development lifecycle model. The result is some guideance on the
            type of UCD stuff to be doing at particular points of the agile
            development lifecycle.
            I'm currently working on more in print. Watch this list for somee
            self serving announcements when it's available. At that time I'll be
            looking for the opinions of the very smart people subscribing to this
            list.

            Please post any specific questions you have as you come across them.
            Thanks for posting!

            -Jeff

            > I work for a large company that is considering switching
            > from a waterfall method to Agile/SCRUM. Are there any particular
            > books or Websites that you recommend to look at. The UED group
            > consists of user researchers, interaction designers, visual
            > designers and developers. Questions that I'd like to find input on
            > include:
            >
            > How do you integrate user research in 4 week cycles? (market
            > research, user research, interviews, ethnography, longitudinal
            > studies, usability testing)
            > When should UED be included in the overall plan? (currently UED is
            > brought in at conception)
            > What is the best way for a user-cetered development process to
            > thrive while being "whole."
            > What are the pros and cons of Agile for UED?
            >
            > I'm sure that there are other people on this list that have gone
            > from a waterfall development cycle to Agile. Does anybody have any
            > stories or best practices to share?
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            > Rachel Powers
            > UED lead
            > San Francisco, CA
          • daveb
            Rachel, Lisa Baker and I have been working to integrate many aspects of UCD with an XP process for the last couple of years at our company. We make a
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 15, 2004
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              Rachel,

              Lisa Baker and I have been working to integrate many aspects of UCD with
              an XP process for the last couple of years at our company. We make a
              shrink-wrapped product, and have a fairly short release cycle.

              We have found the personae concept to resonate fairly well with our
              developers. We do a fair amount of research (somewhat asynchronously)
              with our users to find out what they have in common. We use contextual
              inquiry to get the data and to make sure we have a firm grasp of what
              our user truly needs.
              Once we have the data in place, we can refer to it as the personae are
              created. We work diligently to make sure we present information that we
              have data concerning. The personae are then presented to the
              programmers at the start of the project, focusing on the aspects that
              help them understand.

              This has also helped our marketing team understand their role a bit
              better as customer representative and helped the contribute in a more
              meaningful way as well. Since at times we can't always get one of real
              customers to supply answers, we can always come back to our data set
              from the CI and refer to that.

              david broschinsky
              sr. interaction designer
              landesk software, inc.

              daveb at startide dot net, david dot broschinsky at landesk dot com

              Rachel Powers wrote:

              >
              >Does anbody have any great tips, resources, stories to share on the
              >best ways to integrate User Experience Design into the Agile
              >process?
              >
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