The Agile methodology has become very popular in software and digital development over the past few years. And rightly so. It provides increased speeds, improved collaboration and the ability to react quickly to changing market trends. However, it was built mainly for developers, not UX professionals. Thus, UX may suffer during Agile workflows and sprints because they are not given ample time and resources to do their jobs.
This approach can leave large-scale projects without the consistency and integration that are key to the big picture. Thankfully, according to the Nielson Norman Group, all is not lost for UX professionals. They have identified some key areas that will allow UX to flourish within the Agile world.
UX and Development are on the Same Side
Communication between developers and UX professionals is crucial to making Agile work at its best. There must be a common understanding of project goals, not developers just relying on UX to simply push pixels. While it’s critical that developers respect and trust their UX counterparts, it’s UX’s responsibility to provide constructive feedback and design validation while working through the process together.
Leadership from UX Professionals
As a UX professional it’s not ok to sit in the background and let things slide through sprints without speaking up. UX needs to have an authoritative voice. They must exhibit their expertise by showing other members of the team their process and how it contributes to a better product. Allow other team members to sit in on user testing, for example, so they can have a better understanding of the UX point of view.
Management Must Know the Value of UX
Many successful organizations have executives that believe in the power of UX and see how it can provide a competitive edge. They bring in UX at the beginning of the project to help envision how it can be user-designed, not simply at the end when things just need to look pretty. Top-level executives need to understand the rich insights that can be gleaned from UX’s qualitative user-research methods.
Remember: Agile is Flexible
Agile methodology was invented with flexibility in mind. It wasn’t developed to be rigid, repeatedly following the same set of rules. It’s important to remember that the team doesn’t have all the answers at the onset of a project. They must collaborate and work through the process together. Stay nimble my friends!
Moving into an Agile world, it’s clear UX can become a valuable part of the process. It just takes the right team mindset and collaborative communication. Reach out to us when you are ready to integrate UX into your organization’s workflow.
Originally written for Temple University.