An Answer to the Pains of Integrating Agile and UX

I recently attended UXPA 2013 in D.C. Although I was attending as a sponsor/exhibitor for Indigo Studio, I did manage to break away to go to the “There’s more than one way to skin a cat: Integrating UX into an Agile environment” session. It tied in quite nicely with the book I’m reviewing here.As sometime director of Design at Infragistics, I personally have had first hand experience trying to integrate UX into an existing, established Agile engineering process with large-ish teams. So I’m always interested in seeing how others are faring and what ideas they might have to address pain points.Interestingly enough, in that session, all panelists identified a key pain point that resonated with my experience as well. They all attempted some flavor of the now well-known staggered sprints approach, and they all felt the pains that such an approach introduces, namely being torn in too many directions at the same time–trying to do research and initial design for upcoming sprints while supporting the implementation of the current dev sprint. Sadly, none of them really had solutions to that problem. It was kind of a “yeah, it’s painful, and we don’t really know what to do.” The strategies employed were coping strategies rather than success.One of the attendees during the Q&A essentially went on a rant about how “Agile is a developer process,” essentially suggesting that we UX folks know better and shouldn’t even be trying to make Agile work. He used the term “developer” as if it were an epithet, and unsurprisingly, a lot of the audience cheered him on. Clearly, the problems of integrating UX practice into Agile are a common source of pain for UX people.The real challenge with the s …

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