This is an idea for a presentation and workshop that I submitted to the Agile 2013 Conference. My key motivation for wanting to give this talk is out of frustration from working on projects where UX is treated as a production resource, rather than the product owner.
Organizations at any stage of growth, from global companies to early-stage startups all aim to create a fantastic product experience. Yet at the end of the day, teams big and small struggle with project processes and strategy. They look to agile methodologies as a way to create a better product, yet can’t seem to integrate design into their process well enough to end up with a killer user experience.
I believe that there is a fundamental flaw with how teams view user experience design, and how agile product teams are structured. Design is treated as a production resource, rather than a strategic discipline. Product ownership and management isn’t treated with a user-centric mindset. Agile methodologies can help teams work more efficiently, but will only improve product quality when there is more tight collaboration between designers and developers.
Over the past year I’ve worked as the lead UX designer for several different startups. Throughout these engagements I’ve culled together some lessons learned from success and failures that I believe all product teams can benefit from. We’ll explore these lessons through stories, anecdotes, and a group design exercise.
A few of these stories include:
- The win/win of hand-sketching with developers (everyone should draw out screens and flows during sprints)
- The power of looking through competitive products for design patterns together
- Why Developers should always explain the “How” of implementation (design decisions are fueled by platform knowledge, and human/behavioral understandings)
Information for Review Team:
Talk will be divided into five parts:
- Overview (25 minutes) – Why UX leadership is fundamental to successful startups and product design (some org strategy, ux thinking, and anecdotes of personal successes and mistakes)
- UX design exercise (15 minutes) – break out into teams (Teams of 2/3 people will take 10 minutes discussing a basic product idea against a shared “brief” — they’ll then spend the remaining 5 minutes articulating a very basic vision and roadmap of how they’d build that product)
- Group Sharing (15 minutes) – 3-4 groups invited to come up and share their work
- Review Takeaways (10 minutes) – how this applies to big orgs, small orgs, and individual efforts
- Open Q&A (10 minutes)
Some recent related blog posts:
Why Every Startup Needs A UX Design Advisor
The Design Process And Artifact Fidelity
http://rosspw.com/Lets Build Experiences Not Documentation/
- Basic product design and development experience using Scrum or Agile methods. This talk is perfect for attendees who are:
- Designers or Developers at startups, looking to improve their product development process
- Entrepreneurs and founders eager to learn about product strategy
- Tech leaders at larger organizations, looking to apply startup thinking to their projects and teams.
- Why: Now more than ever, design matters most in building great products
- What: The strategic skill set of UX design: from product vision to user research
- How: UX design can play well with early stage startups, mid-stage startups and large organizations
- Putting it To Work: A UX-led approach to building a long-term vision and product plan
Unfortunately, Agile 2013 rejected my submission — in the words of Arrested Development’s Lucille Austero: “unless you’re planning some grand romantic gesture, my feelings are just the teensiest bit hurt.”