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UX Meets Agile

UX MEETS AGILE : SPEEDING UP THE DELIVERY LIFECYCLE

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CAN A USER-CENTERED DESIGN APPROACH BE INTEGRATED INTO AN AGILE METHODOLOGY? WORKING COLLABORATIVELY WITH END USERS THROUGH FACILITATED WORK SESSIONS, WIREFRAMING & RAPID PROTOTYPING MAKES IT FEASIBLE TO ELIMINATE MUCH OF THE TRADITIONAL, PROJECT-HEAVY APPROACH.

THERE ARE MANY ‘AGILE’ DEVELOPMENT METHODS THAT HAVE BEEN LEVERAGED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. IT IS A WAY TO LIMIT THE TRADITIONAL ‘WATERFALL’ APPROACH TO PROJECTS AND WORK IN AN ITERATIVE APPROACH TO DELIVERY. TO PUT IT SIMPLY IT IS A WAY TO FIT THE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT LIFE-CYCLE INTO A BOX WHILE PROMOTING TEAMWORK, COLLABORATION, AND PROCESS ADAPTABILITY.

AGILE METHODS BREAK TASKS INTO SMALL INCREMENTS WITH MINIMAL TRADITIONAL PLANNING. ITERATIONS ARE SHORT TIME FRAMES (TIME-BOXES) THAT TYPICALLY LAST FROM TWO TO FOUR WEEKS. EACH ITERATION INVOLVES A TEAM WORKING THROUGH A FULL SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT CYCLE INCLUDING PLANNING, REQUIREMENTS ANALYSIS, DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION AND TESTING.

THE CONCEPT IS THAT IT MINIMIZES OVERALL RISK AND ALLOWS THE PROJECT TO ADAPT TO CHANGES QUICKLY. THAT BEING SAID, A USER-CENTERED DESIGN APPROACH IS INHERENTLY AN ITERATIVE DEVELOPMENT LIFE-CYCLE. THE DIFFERENCE IS IT FOCUSES ON THE NEEDS OF A USER TO ACHIEVE THEIR OBJECTIVE IN THE MOST-STRAIGHTFORWARD PATH POSSIBLE. THIS FOCUS ELIMINATES MANY OF THE TYPICAL REQUIREMENTS THAT TEAM SPONSORS DREAM UP. BY LIMITING THE LIFE-CYCLE TO THE USER’S NEEDS IT ENABLES A SHORTER TIMEFRAME FOR STAGES OF THE PROJECT. WORKING COLLABORATIVELY WITH THE END USER THROUGH FACILITATED WORK SESSIONS, WIREFRAMING AND RAPID PROTOTYPING IT IS FEASIBLE TO ELIMINATE MUCH OF THE TRADITIONAL PROJECT-HEAVY DOCUMENTATION AND DELIVER A STREAMLINED PRODUCT. THE DIFFICULTY ISN’T IN DEFINING HOW TO DELIVER WITHIN AN AGILE FRAMEWORK, BUT RATHER MAKING THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND MENTAL CHANGES REQUIRED TO BREAK OLD HABITS AND PATTERNS.

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