Save 37% off PRO during our Black Friday Sale! »

Embracing the Inevitable: Experience Design in an Agile World

1b299d1955ef4beb03a018f8aa91630d?s=47 TWG
April 20, 2013

Embracing the Inevitable: Experience Design in an Agile World

How can designers harness the awesome power of Agile to improve their workflow and work more effectively to build digital products as part of a team? Whether your exposure to Agile methodology is just beginning or you’re already an Agile evangelist, this presentation will arm you with killer tips for developing digital projects right alongside Agile-loving developers and project managers. Grab insights into using tools such as InVision App and custom-built software, like TWG’s AlmostScrum, to improve cross-disciplinary collaboration, and find out why experience design in an agile world really is inevitable.



April 20, 2013


  1. Experience Design in an Agile World Chris Eben, TWG EMBRACING

  2. CHRIS EBEN @ceben @twg Partner at TWG

  3. YOUR BURNING QUESTIONS ANSWERED... • What is experience design in

    an agile world? • Why should designers embrace agile? • What tools and techniques can I use?
  4. So how about that Agile Methodology, eh? - Based on

    iterative & incremental development. Solutions evolve through collaboration - It’s about keeping code simple, testing often, and delivering working pieces of an application fast - Working in ‘sprints’, the goal is to build upon small client-approved parts as the project moves forward
  5. AGILE IS FAST Agile is like this cheetah

  6. AGILE IS TRANSPARENT Agile is like this glass bottomed boat

  7. AGILE IS COST EFFECTIVE Agile is like this smart car

    - At the heart of what makes Agile attractive is the possibility of quicker return on investment for development effort, because software can be released earlier. - It’s a more cost effective, transparent way of working
  8. • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools • Working

    software over comprehensive documentation • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation • Responding to change over following a plan 4 VALUES OF AGILE

    Wireframes Hi-Fi Mockups (UX Design, Information Architecture, Visual Design) TEST BUILD Traditional design process is like a waterfall, flowing from brief to project completion in a linear fashion with little opportunity for deviation from the original plan. In an agile environment, where design is simply a “phase” of the process, this can lead to a bottleneck that delays the entire project.
  10. So what happens when you try and fit traditional practices

    into an agile workflow? - Agile was not conceived with experience design in mind - An evolving approach to software development has forced these disciplines together - Trying to force traditional design practices to fit with these newer philosophies and methodologies has led to disastrous consequences

  12. DISASTER • PSDs are not the final product the users

    see • The project is delayed for weeks waiting for design to finish their concepts • Client ends up dissatisfied and over budget
  13. None
  14. DESIGN CAN BE AGILE IN ISOLATION - Experience design can

    be agile in isolation - You might use agile techniques as an individual working in the design phase, but that’s not the same as operating as a fully integrated part of an agile team - You’re still approaching the project like a relay race, racing to cover your piece of the track before passing on the baton (the project) to someone else
  15. THINGS WHICH ARE INEVITABLE • Death • Taxes • Agile

    Experience Design? - Clearly, problems can arise when using traditional design techniques when working with an agile team. For agile to work effectively, experience designers can no longer working in isolation at the beginning of a project - There is a shift happening amongst teams who are working to build digital products - Business success through software is absolutely dependent on the integration of designers, developers and project managers, and designers are required to change their thinking to embrace this new way of working
  16. “ - Jeff Gothelf Agile was not conceived with user

    experience or design in mind. ” - Jeff Gothelth, Author of Lean UX Book - Experience designers in an agile world are faced with two challenges - The first is that agile was conceived as a development methodology with little consideration to the role that experience designers can play in the process - The second is that your established way of working and thinking is incompatible with this approach
  17. - Albert Einstein “ ” A SHIFT IN THINKING The

    world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. - Many designers are agency trained - this doesn’t give them the skills that they need to operate in a lean environment - Designers don’t just need to change the way that they work, they need to change the way they think to embrace this inevitable industry shift - Get ready to open up your design process to non-designers for collaboration
  18. So what does it all mean?



    Guides Front-End (UX Design, Architecture, Visual Design, Interaction Design, UI/UX QA, TEST BUILD - The point of this is to have a smoother transition to the next stage (Build) of the process - No traditional roles, designer/dev/pm are all working together throughout the process - Testing includes UI and UX QA
  21. • No more upfront design • Experience design begins at

    the start of a project • Designers work alongside the project team • Constant feedback and iteration WHAT IS EXPERIENCE DESIGN IN AN AGILE WORLD Throughout it all, there’s an emphasis on face-to-face conversations, transparency and an open office environment. This allows you to effectively communicate with your whole team.
  22. Objection! Three common concerns raised by experience designers about their

    role in an agile project.
  23. I don’t have enough time to think about the solution!

    - Traditionally, projects have a distinct “Design Phase” where the designer can think at length about their solution to the problem posed - Designers will typically spend time exploring every element of a project before handing off a complete design solution to the development team - Designers new to Agile will protest that they are not given enough time to think about the solution and that in no way can they turn around a design in the given timeframe
  24. I don’t know how to work with non- designers! -

    Designers are comfortable collaborating and discussing their work, as long as it is with other designers - Non-designers don’t understand the language of design or how to feedback in a valuable way - Agency-trained designers are not used to receiving feedback at such an early stage, this can make them feel defensive
  25. Minimum Viable What? - Designers outside of an agile/lean environment

    may not be aware of this tactic - Sharing rough concepts feels counter-intuitive to the experience designer who is used to presenting polished work
  26. Rebuttal!

  27. AGILE IS YOUR FRIEND • Agile reduces your workload by

    focussing on sprints • Research is already in your skillset • Collaboration is key - With agile you focus on only a sprint’s worth of design work. This allows you to tackle ‘writers block’ by breaking down the task into manageable chunks while still thinking about the core objectives of the project and gives you more time to focus on distinct pieces - Treat the MVP as just another tool in your research kit - One of the benefits of agile is the critical learning that comes from both sides. By leaving your comfort zone and opening yourself up to feedback, you will become a better designer and your feedback will help the developers improve too. Use the opportunity to build a common language and a shared understanding of the project.
  28. TOOLS & TRICKS Experience Design in an Agile World: 5

    Tips to take home
  29. TIP # 1: EMBRACE AGILE RITUALS - Every agile team

    has rituals, regardless of how rigidly they stick to the agile playbook - Integrating yourself into these rituals is crucial for understanding the project and your role in the process - A standup, where everyone quickly discusses their progress, is an example of an agile ritual you should embrace
  30. www.invisionapp .com TIP # 2: TRY INVISION APP InVision

    is a favorite tool at TWG for designing in an agile way. It’s a free prototyping and collaboration tool created specifically for design teams.
  31. TIP # 3: BE A SCOUT - Experience design in

    an agile world means adding some more tools to your arsenal - Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and see what tools are available to you from other disciplines. What do your developers use, and can you use it to collaborate with them more effectively? - TWG’s internally-built developer tool AlmostScrum is now being used by our interactive designer

    buddy system where you pair up with a developer for a specific project will give you insight into their process. - Sit alongside each other and take regular opportunities to discuss ideas and share knowledge - This will give you a better understanding of technical constraints, meaning you can make more efficient design choice
  33. TIP # 5: TEACH, COMMUNICATE, BOND - Be a teacher,

    and take an active role in illuminating the design process to your colleagues working in other disciplines - The more open you are about your work, your tools and the challenges you face the better equipped your team will be to understand the choices that you make - One of the biggest changes in moving from a “design up front” model to an agile one is that you will constantly be giving and receiving feedback to move the project forward - the better you know your team and the more you can build trust with each other and the client, the more successful you will be

    this shift is inevitable.... - .... but we’re still figuring out exactly what that looks like for our team - We want to hear about your experiences with experience design in an agile world
  35. Chris Eben @ceben @twg THANK YOU

  36. agile-development/ and-how- overcome-them Further

    Reading RESOURCES