Design in an Agile environment


#1

Hi there,

I am curious about the managers here and their experience.
In my company we have found it very difficult to make an agile environment work to its fullest, for many reasons. We do run agile projects, but not the whole company works that way, nor does the agile teams always work in an agile way.

But one of the biggest difficulties we’ve had is to integrate the design team in this flow which does not work in an agile way at all.
So far, for many reasons there has been parallels working from both teams, instead of a multi disciplinary team comprising developpers and designers. This has worked so far, but of course, with many set backs.

We still don’t have UX designers per se working here, just the graphic designers doing some of the UX practices on many projects.

This leads me to my question: What is the experience you guys have in integrating graphic and UX designers (which generally work for the whole picture, even though UX asks for continuous iteration) into agile teams? Have you been a designer on one of these teams? How was it structured? How did it work?
Or have you managed these kind of teams? How did you make it work?

Thanks for the feedback.


#2

Hi there, a couple of quick links for you:

I’ve found that agile works best in an “all in” approach. It probably requires a change in the way the design team works. I had success as a UX designer where I also wrote the user stories. This is a good way to put the designer in the middle between the product managers and the developers and give them ownership over not only the design but the delivery. I gave a presentation about this a few years ago. You can see the slides here http://www.slideshare.net/LeonBarnard/leon-barnard-productcamp-sf.

Hope this helps,

  • Leon

#3

@amanda_stockwell may well have interesting insights here.


#4

I’ve both been the UXer on a team and managed cross-functional teams, and I will definitely say that I think it works best to fully embed the UXer on the team and have all team members collaborate on as many aspects as possible. Having developers work with designers to talk about what’s feasible, see direct results of research and learn together, etc. saves time overall and increases trust between team members so that work actually gets implemented.

There are a bunch of great resources around this - check out https://www.nngroup.com/articles/doing-ux-agile-world/ and this series https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/11/how-build-agile-ux-team-integration/


#5

Hi guys, thanks for the answers and link.
@amanda_stockwell, yes, I have definetely seen how the project will benefit from having the designers as part of the agile teams, but that is not the way the company is structured right now and it’s difficult to always have a design availeble with the team for a project.

But I was more curious about how the designers can shif from a “design and invision the whole picture, the whole project” mentality to more of a “lean agile” approach. I think the Incremental UX article @leonbarnard mentioned helped a bit on that regard.

Thanks again, guys.