Uncomplicated Agile into UX and developers teams

UX Design | 25th October 2018
While on the first day of Next Step OutSystems Amsterdam the speakers focus on the importance of UX in the digital product development. On the second day, the presentations were about teamwork and software development.

Still, UX references were present in most of the sessions because on nowadays designing and delivering enhanced digital experiences has become a competitive differentiator in technological products. Accordingly, with one of the presentations, digital projects’ team leaders need to make sure design is fron  and center with the UI. But to a team work well, UX and Front-end developers need to be in aligned.

To understand that balance, we are going to discuss the challenges of having UX elements on agile development teams.

First thing first, Agile has taken over the digital products development and Agile strategies are focused on developers. Why? Because of Agile benefits in the digital development process:

- A stepped approach;

- The power to change direction based on customer and stakeholder feedback;
 
- Help manage short time edges that keep the teams concentrated on certain features;

- Help solving common pain points experienced during the digital products development.
 
UX team members as well as the time, the resources and the research they need to create better and greater designs were left out of the loop when the cultural shift toward Agile was taken by the developers’ practices in the past.

Now, UX is important for digital products to succeed. They are the user's voice! So UX members and their needs must be incorporated into the development teams. And that can be a challenge!


Initiatives, Outputs, Outcomes and Impact.
 

How to integrate UX designers in Agile workflows?


To avoid “sprints” pressure in the UX designers it’s crucial to provide them a clear understanding of the end goal of the digital product and take into account key factors in the development teams’ organization:
 

1. Avoid tunnel vision

If the designers stay focused on a particular feature or part of the user story they may ignore the large-scale product and design implications, such as integration, omnichannel consistency, brand coherence, or user interface architecture.
 

2. Understand the UX value

If decision makers, like managers or team leaders, see UX design as a key for digital product success and not just someone that only create beautiful designs, they won’t set up features and user workflows decided upon by the rest of the agile team, on which designers are going to work on. Instead, those managers will bring UX designers outputs at the beginning of the digital development process, so they can give their careful and user-centered insights to product strategy, features, structure, interactions, content, and aesthetics.
 

3. Embrace UX assumptions’ uncertainty

For UX designers a “lean” approach means always a certain degree of uncertainty because they work mainly with user behavior qualitative information. This can often cause biases in the agile process and requires testing and re-testing to observe users interactions with digital product ideas, and redoing it to build greater empathy with the user. Hence, UX designers need to get time to do the user research and to redesign the digital product, and that can push back the Agile development process.

4. Recognize UX changes as constant in the Agile process

Taking change into account in the Agile process will stop the restraints felt by the digital product development teams concerning changes across the project development, especially the ones pointed out by the UX designers. If the Agile process starts to be seen by all the team members as flexible, a UX unexpected input despite the development phase it is displayed will no longer be seen as a threat to the process. Also, showing and admitting that no one knows everything at the beginning of a digital project will make everyone on the team to see that Agile process can’t be strict.

5. UX designers are part of the Agile team

Communicating and having a sense of the digital project goals and the tasks of each member is important to all understand how they are key pieces of the Agile puzzle team. Transparency and close proximity working will improve the team members’ relationship. Therefore, UX designers will feel the same level of ownership for the project and will develop trust and common ground with the front-end developers.


Know more about the UX importance in the digital product building as well as the need of UX designers and developers coexistence in Agile workflows to provide better and greater user-centered digital products watching our video of experts opinions carried out at Next Step OutSystems second day.

 

Gonçalo Gaiolas, VP of Digital @ OutSystems, gave some opinions to us.

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