Integrating UX into the Agile Development Cycle - A case study over 3 projects

User Experience design is a product design discipline which sits throughout a product's lifecycle, from inception to development to maintenance and all the way to retirement. Waterfall enabled the discipline to have ample time and produce extensive design, in a "big design upfront" approach which rarely involved technical capabilities, and resulted in difficulties in build. The adoption of agile by product development team has offered UX a unique opportunity to work in a much more joined-up manner, and expend the design into the development, enabling the entire team to react to change.

As a UX designer, I have over the last 7 years developped a solid appreciation of working embedded in an agile development team, and would like to share my experiences through 3 specific projects, sharing my learnings to help development team on-board the UX practitioner, their tools, practices and skills.

This session will be a case study over 3 projects, highlighting the learnings and steps of the integration of UX into the development cycle. I'm taking Alistair Cockburn's sequence of SHU-HA-RI to detail the progress of my practice and will pay great attention to sharing sufficient context that my experiences and outcomes can be translated to your own projects and team setups.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Project 1: SHU - Where this UX designer discovered Agile

The Orange UK test team. 
How Orange UK decided to put together a small team and understand how this could help overcome some of the bottlenecks in the development of the orange Uk online shop. A visual designer and myself were seconded by AKQA to Orange, and  over 3 months, we developed working practices and, with the support of a coach, learned about working together as a team, over 3 main stages:
  • set-up, using an existing site modification project’s design specs.
  • warm-up: re-creating an existing site modification, improving very slightly the UX and design
  • cruising speed: improving a section of the site, and designing a new UX and visuals.
This project was my first Agile project and a great learning curve. I will highlight the successes we scored and issues we faced, amongst other the design (UX and visual) team’s inexperience with Agile, and the Testing team’s refusal to come and join the process.
 
Project 2: HA-  Where this UX designer refined her Agile skills without a development team
 
The Orange UK Business As Usual workstream.
In this creative agency-based workstream which comprised exclusively UX, Visual Design and Copywriting, I applied Agile methodologies to manage the workflow. This stage has been critical in my Agile education, and although it didn’t involve working with a development team, I’d like to share the experience to highlight the usefulness of UX to operate in an agile fashion and master practices.
  • implementing kanban
  • finding the right cadence for prioritization
  • the outcome of efficiency: failure
 
Project 3: RI - Refining Agile skills with a development team
 
Luxury fashion e-commerce site.
Working within a creative agency team which included front and back end developers, this project saw us use Agile to manage a very demanding client, and 2-weekly sprints to progressively reveal elements and build their confidence in the process.
  • not “big design”, it’s “just enough design upfront” - how to manage the high-altitude view necessary to design experiences by leveraging project set-up details management in a sprint 0 phase
  • creating an experience of Agile: delivering visible elements first to buy time to build the invisible, critical ones.
  • Calling up a UX debt and building the experience iteratively: where I leveraged Agile practices to gain the time and support I needed to deliver a best-in-class experience.
 
Conclusion: Summary of recommended practices and how to end up at RI
 
Taking the angle of integrating UX design into Agile teams from the point of view of the UX designer, this session will highlight the multiple ways into which the collaboration can be smooth and fruitful.
 
Important note: following the organisers' request, this is a different proposal to the original one (a talk on integrating UX in the development process) and earlier reviews may not apply to the current descriptive.

Learning Outcome

I am designing this session so that you will, beyond bringing back stories that put it all into context, walk away with:

  • An understanding of the challenges that UX presents when entering the dev cycle
  • A view into some solutions to specific problems and concerns at the time of that integration
  • My advice to manage stakeholders and teams smoothly and successfully
  • Inisghts to improve your own process and balance empathy across the UX designer/team and the development team

The Q&A section will be critical in the discussion, enabling you to make sure your concerns are answered, I look forward to a lively discussion.

 

Target Audience

Scrum Master, Product Owner, Agile Coach, UX designer, Developers, Stakeholders,

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Sophie,

    The conference is looking for a solid case study on integrating UX with Agile development. Looks like you have a lot of experience in this space. Would you consider turning this proposal into a 45 mins case-study focusing on key challenges and how you went about fully integrating UX?

    Thanks for your consideration.

    • Sophie Freiermuth
      By Sophie Freiermuth  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Updated! Looking forward to your reviews and comments.

      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Excellent! Thank you. Will get back to you shortly.

    • Sophie Freiermuth
      By Sophie Freiermuth  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh

      Thank you for this suggestion. I certainly can also propose a case study of my experiences and delve more into details. Should I transform this or create a new proposal?

      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hi Sophie, we are fine either ways. May be updating this proposal would be easier.

  • Prasad
    By Prasad  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Sophie,

    Also from a fitment prespective this will be a good fit in Agile life cycle theme.

    ~PP

  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Sophie - are you integrating the entire UCD/HCD cycle into an agile (or, scrum) manner. For example, starting from the UX research as a starting hypothesis? If yes, would you compare that with other models like Miller-Sy method in terms of integrating with an iterative method of development? Also, can you talk about real-world case study that helps practitoners learn how was the actual implementation?

    -TV

  • Jerry Rajamoney
    By Jerry Rajamoney  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks for this topic. Since you have selected 60 minutes talk, can you please provide some more details like:

    - Is this presentation is just theory? Or will you be sharing some concrete techniques / tools to use?

    - If YES can you please update the Outline with those?

    - Have you applied this already in your work and seen results? I would love to hear those as part of the talk.

    Thanks,

    • Sophie Freiermuth
      By Sophie Freiermuth  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks Jerry for this, I have updated the proposal to reflect your feedback.


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