The Agile methodology has become very popular in software and digital development over the past few years. And rightly so. It provides increased speeds, increased collaboration and the ability to react 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 job.
This approach can leave large-scale projects without consistency and integration that are key to the overall big picture. 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 key to making Agile work. They must have a common understanding of project goals, not just having UX pushing pixels. It’s critical that developers respect and trust their UX counterparts. It’s UX ‘s responsibility to provide constructive feedback and design validation as they work 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 a leadership voice that is authoritative. They must exhibit their expertise by showing other members of the team their process and why that produces a better product. Allow other team members to sit in on user testing, for example, so they can have a better understanding.
Management Must Know the Value of UX
Many successful organizations have executives that believe in the power of UX and how it can provide a competitive edge. They bring in UX at the beginning of the project to help discover how it can be user-designed, not 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 to have agility. It wasn’t developed to be rigid and follow a series of rules over and over. 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!
As you have read, UX can become a part of an agile process. It just takes the right team and communication.