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Agile & UX Can Totally Be Friends - And Lean UX is the way

Jeff Gothelf
April 06, 2012

Agile & UX Can Totally Be Friends - And Lean UX is the way

An agile/ux transformation case study and Lean UX introduction as presented at Boston PHP, April 4th, 2012.

Jeff Gothelf

April 06, 2012

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  1. Agile and User Experience Can Totally Be Friends …and Lean

    UX is the way… Boston PHP April 4th, 2012
  2. Who am I? interaction designer. team leader. author. jeff gothelf

    currently: principal at proof author @ o’reilly (lean ux, 2012) previously: theladders, publicis modem, webtrends, aol, tons o’startups blog: www.jeffgothelf.com twitter: @jboogie email: jeff@proof-nyc.com #leanux
  3. Everything was butterflies and rainbows in our waterfall world I

    couldn’t find a pic of a waterfall, a rainbow AND butterflies….sorry. http://www.niagarafallscanadapics.net/Niagara-falls-Canada-rainbow-pdam2.jpg !  3-9 month release cycles !  Thick functional specs !  In-depth wireframe decks !  Long visual design cycles !  Late-stage user validation and testing !  Explicit hand-offs
  4. We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock… In fact, we had

    no idea we were going for a ride. http://www.fieldmuseum.org/museum_info/press/images/nature1_lg.jpg
  5. We were told tales of glamour and victory! Improvements galore!

  6. So we set out on a quest to find the

    unicorn! And this was no ordinary unicorn. http://www.boingboing.net/gimages/patrick.jpg
  7. We had some very thorny issues to tackle. These became

    clear very early. http://www.africandreamadventuresafaris.com/thornbush-arusha-national-park.JPG !  What to do with Big Upfront Design? !  How do you maintain focus on a bigger vision? !  Can we maintain product quality? !  How do you produce creative work faster? !  How do you keep the engineering teams busy each iteration? !  Will lighter product iterations be accepted by the business? !  Will we be blamed if they don’t?
  8. The journey of 1000 miles starts with one step. Our

    first step was research. http://www.africandreamadventuresafaris.com/thornbush-arusha-national-park.JPG Agile and user experience
  9. And more research… This time with humans.

  10. We even sought out The Oracle… He was very oracle-ish.

  11. Our first attempt: Just get it all done in 2

  12. We took our 9-month waterfall process… Which was mighty and

    massive http://www.julia-mathewson.com/photos/usa_2005_photos/8niagara1.jpg
  13. And jammed it into a 2-week timeframe. We kept all

    the pieces and processes the same. http://www6.worldisround.com/photos/29/323/524_o.jpg
  14. We became chairmen of the boards. It got a little

    silly, actually. “The whiteboards do not help organize the UX team’s work at all. Instead, they block out natural light from the windows and create a harsh and uncreative visual environment.” - Internal survey respondent
  15. Functional specs were now banned. The story card had taken

    the spec’s place. And it multiplied.
  16. The boards took on multiple purposes. Functional spec. Project plan.

    Resource allocation. And status indication.
  17. The boards took on multiple purposes. Functional spec. Project plan.

    Resource allocation. And status indication.
  18. But, hey, the UX team got its own board. Which

    is nice.
  19. Wireframes picked up the heavy lifting specs had left behind.

    Annotations galore!
  20. Dreams of a “vision” document never materialized. You can dream

    in one hand and poop in the other. See which one fills first.
  21. None
  22. Learnings from our first attempt: UX morale in the crapper

    Perceived quality of work was much lower No time to design No ownership or pride in the work Summary: FAIL
  23. Through further iterations, we learned: Put everything in-line.

  24. Wait! You forgot usability testing! How else will we know

    how awesome we are? http://stevejencks.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/usability.jpg !  Every other week (2 weeks sprints) !  Mid-way through the sprint !  Enough time to react !  Show whatever you have ready !  No more than 3 participants !  Clear the boulders !  Validate and iterate
  25. Great, the customer likes it. What about the product owner?

    Opinions are like belly buttons. Belly buttons on cats. http://www.flickr.com/photos/janekeeler/4677093058/sizes/l/ !  Design reviews !  2 reviews per iteration !  Initial review mid-way in the sprint, directional alignment !  Second review is final – 95% done !  Ad hoc reviews in between !  Decision at second review is made to move forward or spend another iteration designing
  26. Continued learnings: In-sprint user testing provides continuous user feedback in

    advance of coding Lightweight and cost-effective testing Formal, fixed design reviews provide mileposts for everyone to strive toward (but difficult to enforce) Unified approval processes buy more UX time (when everyone plays along) Summary: (mostly) Win!
  27. Something was still wrong though: Everyone was still on the

    same team
  28. User Experience is a shared service Biz Line Biz Line

    Biz Line Biz Line
  29. Biz Line Biz Line Biz Line Biz Line UX UX

    UX UX
  30. Learnings from team alignment changes: Focusing teams on one workstream

    proves effective Camaraderie, communication benefit from aligned teams Summary: Win!
  31. http://www.freakingnews.com/Bottle-Neck-Pics-36343.asp In fast-paced Agile environments, traditional UX is a bottleneck

    We were getting in our own way #LeanUX | @jboogie
  32. With interactive experiences evolving rapidly The traditional design deliverable is

    an inefficient obstacle #LeanUX | @jboogie
  33. Lean UX Inspired by Lean Startup and Agile development theories,

    it’s the practice of bringing the true nature of design work to light faster, with less emphasis on deliverables and greater focus on the actual experience being designed. #LeanUX | @jboogie
  34. Agile •  Individuals and interactions over processes and tools • 

    Working software over comprehensive documentation •  Customer collaboration over contract negotiation •  Responding to change over following a plan Lean Startup The Lean Startup methodology has as a premise that every startup is a grand experiment that attempts to answer a question. The question is not "Can this product be built?" Instead, the questions are "Should this product be built?" and "Can we build a sustainable business around this set of products and services?" This experiment is more than just theoretical inquiry; it is a first product. #LeanUX | @jboogie
  35. It goes a little something like this… Do this. Quickly.

    Many times. Concept Prototype Validate Internally Test Externally Learn from user behavior Iterate Just the UX process #LeanUX | @jboogie
  36. #LeanUX | @jboogie “Go that way. Really fast. If something

    gets in your way, turn.” -Charles DeMar (Curtis Armstrong) to Lane Myer (John Cusack) in “Better Off Dead”
  37. Designers can’t hide behind their monitor any more! This is

    a designer-led initiative http://www.flickr.com/photos/yamagatacamille/4799648425/sizes/l/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  38. Get design work out there. Fast. In public. (See? That

    UX board worked out after all.) #LeanUX | @jboogie
  39. OK. I’m intrigued. But how does it really work? First

    5 things you need to do… #LeanUX | @jboogie
  40. Solve the problem together As opposed to implementing someone else’s

    solution #LeanUX | @jboogie 1!
  41. Sketching It’s all the rage! #LeanUX | @jboogie 2!

  42. Example of sketching at work V1 of the UI #LeanUX

    | @jboogie 2!
  43. Sketching brings experiences to life faster Launched UI http://www.flickr.com/photos/mims/326748812/sizes/l/ #LeanUX

    | @jboogie 2!
  44. Get the experience out there, not the document Validate your

    hypotheses #LeanUX | @jboogie 3! http://www.macdavidpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/4355664150_68b8aa58a9_o-600x337.jpg
  45. Pair up! But do it, cross-functionally #LeanUX | @jboogie 4!

  46. Pairing saves time Builds a common language #LeanUX | @jboogie

    http://hoveringartdirectors.tumblr.com/page/2 4!
  47. Pairing sets designers free, man …and empowers developers! #LeanUX |

    @jboogie http://www.clydekellerphotos.com/images/AP_Kesey_HippiesDancing_GALLERY_CGW.jpg 4!
  48. Style guides! The cause of, and solution to, all your

    UX problems #LeanUX | @jboogie 5!
  49. They’re good for developers too! Creates a reusable asset library

    and point from which to start #LeanUX | @jboogie 5!
  50. More specifically, Lean UX is… #LeanUX | @jboogie

  51. Critique Early and often on designs that don’t feel “finished”

    #LeanUX | @jboogie
  52. From Design Criticism and the Creative Process by Cassie McDaniel

    on A List Apart, 11 Jan, 2011. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/design-criticism-creative-process/ #LeanUX | @jboogie Designers shouldn’t be expected to get it right the first time Nobody else has to
  53. Control Designers still facilitate the design process #LeanUX | @jboogie

  54. It’s not “The Spec” that gives control Lead with conversation,

    trail with documentation http://talkingtraffic.org/wp-content/images/stack_documents.jpg #LeanUX | @jboogie
  55. Momentum Everyone’s engaged. Everyone’s motivated. #LeanUX | @jboogie

  56. Keep everybody moving forward Developers, stakeholders, product managers and team.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37541410@N03/3901861703/sizes/l/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  57. Quality No compromises #LeanUX | @jboogie

  58. “Speed first. Aesthetics second.” – Jason Fried, 37Signals.com #LeanUX |

  59. “Going for the bronze.” – A Creative Director I used

    to work with #LeanUX | @jboogie
  60. What about the quality of the design? Iterations mean quality

    continually improves. http://stockthemind.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/project-cartoon.jpg #LeanUX | @jboogie
  61. Is it viable? Yes, but does anybody actually want it?

    Minimally viable Minimally desirable
  62. Feasibility Make sure it can be built (and built well)

    #LeanUX | @jboogie
  63. Prototype it! But not all of it. hthttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mQ4dc8irsc0/S_TZkx7B_3I/AAAAAAAAAM0/lwh7NTbtKMo/s1600/PopGlider+assembled+2.jpgtp:// #LeanUX |

  64. Once validated, demo to the team. Presto! Instant documentation. http://www.flickr.com/photos/koolwaaij/152426460/sizes/o/

    No additional deliverables are needed! #LeanUX | @jboogie
  65. Customer validation Your design is a hypothesis #LeanUX | @jboogie

  66. Validate your hypothesis with customers Keep it light and cheap.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/forakerdesign/3657336793/sizes/l/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  67. Use data to settle subjective issues A/B testing can settle

    these “Pepsi challenges” http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__3p5_gzemps/TLpuaIolhlI/AAAAAAAAA-o/smDfmM8xqQM/s1600/Coke-vs-Pepsi.jpg #LeanUX | @jboogie
  68. Fill in the gaps Build a shared understanding #LeanUX |

  69. The more you talk about it The easier it is

    for the team to put the pieces together (and find missing ones) http://www.flickr.com/photos/adysmiles/4822749055/sizes/l/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  70. What about estimates & prioritization? A shared understanding builds that

    into the conversation http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_FfetiF7C9vo/SEeOU0ew8KI/AAAAAAAAILU/CE_tq46wDYM/S600/Washington+DC+auto+mechanic,+1942.JPG
  71. Form factor is ultimately irrelevant There are many ways to

    validate hypotheses
  72. Whether it’s software or hardware, how lean can you go?

    There are many ways to validate hypotheses
  73. Informal and quick is better than…. Delayed feedback loops

  74. Informal and quick is better than…. Delayed feedback loops

  75. Informal and quick is better than…. Delayed feedback loops

  76. What Lean UX is NOT #LeanUX | @jboogie

  77. Lazy. Sorry. You still have to work hard. http://www.steadyburn.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/lazy-cat5.jpg “…the

    best part … is that the team is doing a F@&K-TON of UX. They document a ton of stuff explicitly on the walls and implicitly in shared understanding among team members.” - Austin Govella commenting on Whitney Hess’s “Why I Detest the Term Lean UX” http://whitneyhess.com/blog/2011/02/27/why-i-detest-the-term-lean-ux/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  78. The only thing being removed is waste. Leave the toolbox

    intact. Use the tools as necessary. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mims/326748812/sizes/l/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  79. This is NOT design-by-committee! That never leads to anything pretty.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mims/326748812/sizes/l/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  80. Can I make this happen in my organization? Short answer:

    Yes. Long answer: Yessssssssss! #LeanUX | @jboogie
  81. You’re an in-house designer… Start small and internal. Ask for

    forgiveness. http://sarah.theworkexperiment.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/think-big-start-small1.jpg #LeanUX | @jboogie
  82. You are in the problem-solving business and you don’t solve

    problems with design documentation. You solve them with elegant, efficient and sophisticated software. #LeanUX | @jboogie
  83. Startups This is the only way to work… http://militarytobusiness.blogspot.com/2010/12/start-ups-at-hbs.html #LeanUX

    | @jboogie
  84. #LeanUX | @jboogie The interactive agency and services world. Tougher

    sell. Worth it in the end.
  85. Agencies are in the deliverables business. #LeanUX | @jboogie

  86. Recapping the “internal” Lean UX process…. Remember? Concept Prototype Validate

    Internally Test Externally Learn from user behavior Iterate Just the UX process #LeanUX | @jboogie
  87. For services agencies it looks slightly different Give your clients

    the power. They like that. Concept Prototype Validate w/client Learn from user behavior Iterate Validate w/client #LeanUX | @jboogie
  88. Consultants are specialized mini-agencies Success with Lean UX will be

    determined by attention level #LeanUX | @jboogie
  89. Reducing deliverables efforts reduces revenue In theory… Fewer deliverables Fewer

    billable hours $$$$ Project delivered faster Happier, more empowered client Better outcomes #LeanUX | @jboogie
  90. Invest in your client’s success It shows the confidence you

    have in your work http://www.flickr.com/photos/19638298@N00/143127498/sizes/z/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  91. Distributed teams do it remotely! If they’re a part of

    you, it’s on! If not, it ain’t bloody likely. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2361/2076450897_be1b8ace7c.jpg #LeanUX | @jboogie
  92. Is this good for every project? Use it where it

    makes sense. http://www.krackblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/david_hasselhoff_gary_coleman-e1275077640952.jpg #LeanUX | @jboogie
  93. Functional, task-flow projects work well. There’s a clear end goal.

    #LeanUX | @jboogie
  94. Highly experiential marketing projects will struggle. Time to ideate and

    create options is essential. #LeanUX | @jboogie
  95. What about content heavy experiences? Some up front planning is

    necessary. #LeanUX | @jboogie
  96. Case Study 100 Days of Collaboration #LeanUX | @jboogie

  97. Problem Statement: “You’re like Monster, but I have to pay

    for it.” #LeanUX | @jboogie
  98. 3 days, 3 themes: Acquisition and conversion Resume services A

    human in every interaction #LeanUX | @jboogie
  99. #LeanUX | @jboogie

  100. #LeanUX | @jboogie

  101. #LeanUX | @jboogie

  102. #LeanUX | @jboogie

  103. #LeanUX | @jboogie

  104. Designers are used to being heroes. Lean UX is distinctly,

    anti-hero. http://www.abegoodman.com/Images/greatest-american-hero.jpg #LeanUX | @jboogie
  105. #LeanUX | @jboogie This is Design Thinking brought to a

    broader audience. Which creates empathy for: -  The customer -  The problem space -  The design discipline
  106. This is an evolution. Not a revolution. Designers must evolve

    to stay relevant. http://www.flickr.com/photos/freejay3/2387714157/sizes/l/ #LeanUX | @jboogie
  107. Once you go lean… Apparently it’s good and you can’t

    go back to…err…fat…or something #LeanUX | @jboogie
  108. Thank you jboogie jeffproof-nyc.com www.leanuxbook.com www.jeffgothelf.com slideshare.net/jgothelf I’m writing a

    book! Pre-order here