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UX & Agile 
Playing nice 
Chris Collingridge (@ccollingridge) 
11 November 2014 
Manchester Metropolitan University 1
1.0 Why on earth listen to me? 
2.0 UX methods are for what? 
3.0 What is Agile? 
4.0 Agile methods are for what? 
5.0 Con...
Sage and me 
What do I know? 
Manchester Metropolitan University 3
Sage – Global 
• 6 million customers 
• 13,300 employees 
• Major offices in UK, Ireland, 
France, Germany, Spain, USA, 
C...
Sage – UK 
• Only software company in the 
FTSE 100 
• 800,000 UK businesses use 
Sage 
• #1 in small business 
accounting...
Sage – Manchester 
• Software for accountants in 
practice 
• On-premise and online 
software 
• 300,000 sets of company 
...
Summary 
We’re big 
Manchester Metropolitan University 7
Me 
– Degree in economics (obviously!) 
–Worked in a shop 
– Decided there must be a career in 
computers 
…and mainly sel...
Day-to-day 
• User research – understanding the 
problem 
• What do people know? 
• What are they trying to do? 
• Where d...
My experience of Agile 
• The Manchester UX team support a 
development team of ~80, all developing 
software using Agile ...
UX methods are for 
what? 
Manchester Metropolitan University 11
User Experience work is trying to… 
@jopas 
Manchester Metropolitan University 12
Focus on meeting human needs 
and desires 
Manchester Metropolitan University 13
Common UX-focussed activities 
• User research – understanding the problem 
• What do people know? 
• What are they trying...
What is Agile? 
Manchester Metropolitan University 15
Agile is… 
A philosophy 
Manchester Metropolitan University 16
Agile manifesto 
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping 
others do it. Through this ...
Agile principles 
Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer* 
through early and continuous delivery of valuable 
sof...
Agile principles 
Welcome changing requirements, even late in 
development. Agile processes harness change for 
the custom...
Agile principles 
Deliver working software frequently, from a 
couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a 
preference t...
Agile principles 
Business people and developers must work 
together daily throughout the project. 
Manchester Metropolita...
Agile principles 
Build projects around motivated individuals. 
Give them the environment and support they 
need, and trus...
Agile principles 
The most efficient and effective method of 
conveying information to and within a development 
team is f...
Agile principles 
Working software is the primary measure of 
progress. 
Manchester Metropolitan University 24
Agile principles 
Agile processes promote sustainable 
development. 
The sponsors, developers, and users should be 
able t...
Agile principles 
Continuous attention to technical excellence 
and good design* enhances agility. 
*this is talking about...
Agile principles 
Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount 
of work not done--is essential. 
Manchester Metropolitan U...
Agile principles 
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how 
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts 
its be...
Agile principles 
The best architectures, requirements, and 
designs* emerge from self-organizing teams. 
*this is talking...
Agile is… 
Not a process 
but a state of mind 
Manchester Metropolitan University 30
Agile principles 
There are lots of processes that can be used in line with an 
Agile state of mind…but the using the proc...
Agile methods are for 
what? 
Manchester Metropolitan University 32
Agile is a reaction against… 
• Long projects before delivery 
• Comprehensive documentation that was never 
comprehensive...
Agile is focussed on delivering… 
• Technically high-quality software 
• Software that is what the customer* wants, by get...
Conflict 
Manchester Metropolitan University 35
Trying to achieve different things 
Manchester Metropolitan University 36
Trying to achieve different things 
How do we serve 
human needs 
with technology? 
How do we make 
software 
development ...
User Experience 
Making all of a really great pie 
Manchester Metropolitan University 38
Agile 
Really delivering a nice piece of pie, now 
Manchester Metropolitan University 39
User Experience 
Design studio mentality 
Manchester Metropolitan University 40
User Experience 
Design studio mentality 
Manchester Metropolitan University 41
Agile 
Internal systems/production mentality 
Manchester Metropolitan University 42
Agile 
Internal systems/production mentality 
Manchester Metropolitan University 43
Some of the potential challenges 
User Experience Agile 
Understand the whole problem Understand only the bit of the probl...
There’s only one way to solve this… 
Manchester Metropolitan University 45
How could the Agile state 
of mind help? 
Manchester Metropolitan University 46
Agile values… 
• Collaboration 
• Positive response to changing requirements 
• Iteration 
• Short feedback cycles 
• Deli...
Agile values… 
Development teams that have a truly Agile culture are less 
resistant to change, more helpful and collabora...
Playing nicely together 
Manchester Metropolitan University 49
What you need to do as a UX 
Designer 
• Respect the knowledge, input, and creativity of everyone 
involved in creating so...
What you need to do as a UX 
Designer 
If you don’t do these things, no amount 
of process, technique, or method is 
going...
What you need to do see in others 
• An absence of Scrumdamentalism – that there is a single 
way to “do Agile”, as writte...
What you need to do see in others 
If you don’t see these things, you are 
likely to need to use your influencing 
skills ...
Practical tips and tricks 
Manchester Metropolitan University 54
Health warning 
Manchester Metropolitan University 55
Agile teams should differ 
There is not an “answer” 
Manchester Metropolitan University 56
Some things that probably will work 
Start first 
Manchester Metropolitan University 57
Some things that probably will work 
Keep ahead 
Manchester Metropolitan University 58
Some things that probably will work 
But stay close 
Manchester Metropolitan University 59
Some things that probably will work 
Be part of the team 
Manchester Metropolitan University 60
Some things that probably will work 
Get the big picture, then the detail 
Manchester Metropolitan University 61
Some things that probably will work 
Break it down 
Manchester Metropolitan University 62
Some things that probably will work 
Involve others 
Manchester Metropolitan University 63
Some things that probably will work 
Get into a rhythm 
Manchester Metropolitan University 64
…and some that probably won’t 
Design very close to implementation (e.g. in 
the same sprint) 
Manchester Metropolitan Uni...
…and some that probably won’t 
Carrying on with big-design-up-front 
Manchester Metropolitan University 66
…and some that probably won’t 
Delivering “deliverables” 
Manchester Metropolitan University 67
…and some that probably won’t 
Separate teams 
Manchester Metropolitan University 68
…and some that probably won’t 
Equating “Agile” with “agile” 
Manchester Metropolitan University 69
And finally… 
Manchester Metropolitan University 70
If you only remember one thing… 
Agile methods are a wonderful opportunity to 
produce amazing software quickly, through 
...
Thanks 
Chris Collingridge 
@ccollingridge 
Manchester Metropolitan University 72
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UX and Agile – Playing Nice

In November 2014, I was invited back to MMU to talk about how UX activities can be integrated with Agile software development approaches.

The talk touched on what Agile is, why it exists, and why there's potential for conflict with UX activities. I then talked about the opportunities for getting along with each other to make better products, and practical tips that students might be able to use when working in Agile projects.

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UX and Agile – Playing Nice

  1. 1. UX & Agile Playing nice Chris Collingridge (@ccollingridge) 11 November 2014 Manchester Metropolitan University 1
  2. 2. 1.0 Why on earth listen to me? 2.0 UX methods are for what? 3.0 What is Agile? 4.0 Agile methods are for what? 5.0 Conflict 6.0 Culture 7.0 Playing nice 8.0 Practical tips for success Manchester Metropolitan University 2
  3. 3. Sage and me What do I know? Manchester Metropolitan University 3
  4. 4. Sage – Global • 6 million customers • 13,300 employees • Major offices in UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, USA, Canada, Australia, & Brazil – Small business accounting – Payroll – Customer relationship management (CRM) – Taxation and accountancy – Electronic payments Manchester Metropolitan University 4
  5. 5. Sage – UK • Only software company in the FTSE 100 • 800,000 UK businesses use Sage • #1 in small business accounting • 1 in 4 people in the UK are paid by Sage Payroll Manchester Metropolitan University 5
  6. 6. Sage – Manchester • Software for accountants in practice • On-premise and online software • 300,000 sets of company accounts filed using Sage each year • 200,000 corporate tax submissions • 520,000 personal tax submissions – Final accounts production – Corporate and personal taxation – Practice management – Time recording and billing – Accountant/client collaboration Manchester Metropolitan University 6
  7. 7. Summary We’re big Manchester Metropolitan University 7
  8. 8. Me – Degree in economics (obviously!) –Worked in a shop – Decided there must be a career in computers …and mainly self-taught 15 years later… – Senior User Experience Specialist, leading a UX team (of 3) Manchester Metropolitan University 8
  9. 9. Day-to-day • User research – understanding the problem • What do people know? • What are they trying to do? • Where do they do things? • What do they value? • What troubles them? • Interaction design – solving the problem • Information architecture • User flows • Patterns • Low-level interaction (controls etc.) • Usability testing – evaluating solutions Manchester Metropolitan University 9
  10. 10. My experience of Agile • The Manchester UX team support a development team of ~80, all developing software using Agile methods • We have tried a variety of approaches, with a variable level of success • Developed an approach to UX in Agile that works for us Manchester Metropolitan University 10
  11. 11. UX methods are for what? Manchester Metropolitan University 11
  12. 12. User Experience work is trying to… @jopas Manchester Metropolitan University 12
  13. 13. Focus on meeting human needs and desires Manchester Metropolitan University 13
  14. 14. Common UX-focussed activities • User research – understanding the problem • What do people know? • What are they trying to do? • Where do they do things? • What do they value? • What troubles them? • Interaction design – solving the problem • How do we group and name things? • What workflows will make sense? • What will people know, recognise, and be able to interact with? • What are consistent patterns we can use in multiple places? • Usability testing – evaluating solutions • Are these ideas any good? • Can we catch problems before we build them into software? Manchester Metropolitan University 14
  15. 15. What is Agile? Manchester Metropolitan University 15
  16. 16. Agile is… A philosophy Manchester Metropolitan University 16
  17. 17. Agile manifesto We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. Manchester Metropolitan University 17
  18. 18. Agile principles Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer* through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. *this is whoever commissioned the software, not the person who ends up buying/using it Manchester Metropolitan University 18
  19. 19. Agile principles Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's* competitive advantage. *this is whoever commissioned the software, not the person who ends up buying/using it Manchester Metropolitan University 19
  20. 20. Agile principles Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Manchester Metropolitan University 20
  21. 21. Agile principles Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Manchester Metropolitan University 21
  22. 22. Agile principles Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. Manchester Metropolitan University 22
  23. 23. Agile principles The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Manchester Metropolitan University 23
  24. 24. Agile principles Working software is the primary measure of progress. Manchester Metropolitan University 24
  25. 25. Agile principles Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Manchester Metropolitan University 25
  26. 26. Agile principles Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design* enhances agility. *this is talking about technical design Manchester Metropolitan University 26
  27. 27. Agile principles Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. Manchester Metropolitan University 27
  28. 28. Agile principles At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly. Manchester Metropolitan University 28
  29. 29. Agile principles The best architectures, requirements, and designs* emerge from self-organizing teams. *this is talking about technical design Manchester Metropolitan University 29
  30. 30. Agile is… Not a process but a state of mind Manchester Metropolitan University 30
  31. 31. Agile principles There are lots of processes that can be used in line with an Agile state of mind…but the using the process does not mean you are “being agile”. You may be “doing agile”. • Scrum • Kanban • DSDM • FDD • Etc. Manchester Metropolitan University 31
  32. 32. Agile methods are for what? Manchester Metropolitan University 32
  33. 33. Agile is a reaction against… • Long projects before delivery • Comprehensive documentation that was never comprehensive enough • Inability to adapt to inevitably changing requirements • Poor, useless, unreliable software, chained to a delivery date that is never met • Demoralised, stressed, and under-appreciated development teams Manchester Metropolitan University 33
  34. 34. Agile is focussed on delivering… • Technically high-quality software • Software that is what the customer* wants, by getting regular feedback • Features that are wanted* when the software is released, not what was wanted 2 years ago • Motivated, high-performing development teams *wanted by whoever commissioned the software, not the person who ends up buying/using it Manchester Metropolitan University 34
  35. 35. Conflict Manchester Metropolitan University 35
  36. 36. Trying to achieve different things Manchester Metropolitan University 36
  37. 37. Trying to achieve different things How do we serve human needs with technology? How do we make software development better? VS Manchester Metropolitan University 37
  38. 38. User Experience Making all of a really great pie Manchester Metropolitan University 38
  39. 39. Agile Really delivering a nice piece of pie, now Manchester Metropolitan University 39
  40. 40. User Experience Design studio mentality Manchester Metropolitan University 40
  41. 41. User Experience Design studio mentality Manchester Metropolitan University 41
  42. 42. Agile Internal systems/production mentality Manchester Metropolitan University 42
  43. 43. Agile Internal systems/production mentality Manchester Metropolitan University 43
  44. 44. Some of the potential challenges User Experience Agile Understand the whole problem Understand only the bit of the problem you need to solve right now Have time to think through a variety of solutions and experiment with them Define a solution quickly to the immediate problem Collaborate with other designers, researchers, before committing Self-sufficient development teams, without “chickens” Schedule in time to research behaviours, attitudes, contexts Work in short blocks (e.g. 2 weeks), on whatever is the top priority at the time Focus on the details and polish Delivering the minimum possible to fulfil a requirement Manchester Metropolitan University 44
  45. 45. There’s only one way to solve this… Manchester Metropolitan University 45
  46. 46. How could the Agile state of mind help? Manchester Metropolitan University 46
  47. 47. Agile values… • Collaboration • Positive response to changing requirements • Iteration • Short feedback cycles • Delivering working software quickly • Simplicity and avoiding feature bloat • Attention to high quality design and reliable software Manchester Metropolitan University 47
  48. 48. Agile values… Development teams that have a truly Agile culture are less resistant to change, more helpful and collaborative, more open to iteration, and happier places to work for a designer. Designers with an Agile state of mind are less resistant to change, more helpful and collaborative, more open to iteration, and more enjoyable to work with for software developers. Manchester Metropolitan University 48
  49. 49. Playing nicely together Manchester Metropolitan University 49
  50. 50. What you need to do as a UX Designer • Respect the knowledge, input, and creativity of everyone involved in creating software products • They do not stand in the way of your idea; they contribute and improve your ideas • Use your empathetic skills to understand what different people in your team get from Agile processes, and why you should respect that • Get your skin in the game – the success of the team is your success; you can only succeed through them • Believe that your only real deliverable is working software that delivers value to human beings Manchester Metropolitan University 50
  51. 51. What you need to do as a UX Designer If you don’t do these things, no amount of process, technique, or method is going to help Manchester Metropolitan University 51
  52. 52. What you need to do see in others • An absence of Scrumdamentalism – that there is a single way to “do Agile”, as written in a book • Most common in people who’ve recently be on a Scrum Master course (or similar) • An understanding that software must at least be usable, and preferably engaging and delightful – not just functional and reliable – for it to be of high quality • An appreciation that there are other tasks that the team need to complete apart from writing and testing code • A willingness to embrace changes and iteration Manchester Metropolitan University 52
  53. 53. What you need to do see in others If you don’t see these things, you are likely to need to use your influencing skills first – this is a people problem to overcome. It will not be solved by wireframes. Manchester Metropolitan University 53
  54. 54. Practical tips and tricks Manchester Metropolitan University 54
  55. 55. Health warning Manchester Metropolitan University 55
  56. 56. Agile teams should differ There is not an “answer” Manchester Metropolitan University 56
  57. 57. Some things that probably will work Start first Manchester Metropolitan University 57
  58. 58. Some things that probably will work Keep ahead Manchester Metropolitan University 58
  59. 59. Some things that probably will work But stay close Manchester Metropolitan University 59
  60. 60. Some things that probably will work Be part of the team Manchester Metropolitan University 60
  61. 61. Some things that probably will work Get the big picture, then the detail Manchester Metropolitan University 61
  62. 62. Some things that probably will work Break it down Manchester Metropolitan University 62
  63. 63. Some things that probably will work Involve others Manchester Metropolitan University 63
  64. 64. Some things that probably will work Get into a rhythm Manchester Metropolitan University 64
  65. 65. …and some that probably won’t Design very close to implementation (e.g. in the same sprint) Manchester Metropolitan University 65
  66. 66. …and some that probably won’t Carrying on with big-design-up-front Manchester Metropolitan University 66
  67. 67. …and some that probably won’t Delivering “deliverables” Manchester Metropolitan University 67
  68. 68. …and some that probably won’t Separate teams Manchester Metropolitan University 68
  69. 69. …and some that probably won’t Equating “Agile” with “agile” Manchester Metropolitan University 69
  70. 70. And finally… Manchester Metropolitan University 70
  71. 71. If you only remember one thing… Agile methods are a wonderful opportunity to produce amazing software quickly, through awesome collaboration with wonderful teams. This is not a process: it is a culture, a philosophy, and an adventure. Manchester Metropolitan University 71
  72. 72. Thanks Chris Collingridge @ccollingridge Manchester Metropolitan University 72

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