Agile and User Experience; how to integrate them?

Agile and User Experience; how to integrate them?

Software development methods like Scrum are widely used. Developers work in iterative sprints towards a working product. By making small steps and checking during the process with your client, the chances that your customer is happy in the end becomes bigger.

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User Experience

But how do you integrate the design phase in the iterative way of working? When do you define the structure, design, flows for your product? Most of the time this happens before the actual building of the product. Lean UX focusses more on the actual experience being designed (by testing and adjusting during the building phase) and has less emphasis on deliverables (before the building phase).
The basic idea of Lean UX is to create many (low fidelity) prototypes and check them directly with your client. Similar like Scrum, to give the client the opportunity to validate. By validating early, and adjusting still in the prototyping phase, you are more likely to deliver faster (and cheaper and have a happier customer.

Principles of Lean UX

Lean UX put less emphasis on design deliverables and favors early prototypes to test with end-users. The most important Lean UX principles are:

  • Early customer validation over releasing products with unknown end-user value
  • Collaborative design over designing on an island
  • Solving user problems over designing the next “cool” feature
  • Measuring KPIs over undefined success metrics
  • Applying appropriate tools over following a rigid plan
  • Nimble design over heavy wireframes, comps or specs

How can I implement Lean UX?

Step 1: Declare assumptions

First step in Lean UX is to declare assumptions. This allows the team to have common starting point of the project and gives everybody the opportunity to voice his or her opinion on how to solve the problem.

Step 2: Create an Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and Experiment

The second step is to think how you could check your assumptions and what you want to learn from it. So is there a need for my solution, is there value in the solution and is it usable? This can be checked by creating a prototype and run an experiment with the prototype you created.

Step 3: Feedback and research

Test and research are done with everyone from the team: designers, developers and researchers. One person can do the test with the end-user, but this should be watched by the whole team. In this way you don`t need to create research reports and you can collectively think about the insights you gathered and how to adjust the solution.

Within a sprint, the steps mentioned above could be implemented in a strict schedule of development and testing.

Author Jill Roelofs is a senior consultant in KPMG's Technology Advisory practice

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