Agile development has recently captured the imagination of many software development teams—and with good reason: its focus on producing working software quickly is well suited to today’s fast-paced markets. But how do you go about combining agile with user-centered design (UCD) so you can enjoy the benefits of both approaches? On the face of it, they should work well together because both philosophies are iterative, incorporating testing with users and refinement. But in practice, they often conflict with one another.
An agile approach such as Scrum tries to minimize up-front planning in favor of producing working code quickly. Plus, agile generally prefers in-situ workshops for gathering requirements, while UCD largely favors up-front user research. Agile also uses working software as its primary measure of progress, while UCD focuses on whether users can easily achieve their goals—with or without software. To add to these discrepancies, because agile is typically led by developers, while UX professionals usually drive UCD, the differences between these two approaches can result in political conflicts in many companies. Read More
Pitching is one of the most important skills for any UX designer to have. Your ability to pitch clients well naturally permeates your UX design outcomes. Knowing what makes a perfect pitch is something that undoubtedly comes with practice, but your pitches can be effective if you prepare them meticulously. Whether you’re working for a multinational design agency or are an independent UX designer, your design solutions are only as good as they appear to your clients. Therefore, a good design that you pitch poorly has very little impact.
Throughout all my years pitching designs to clients, there have been highlights and lowlights. Over the years, I’ve isolated what has worked well from what hasn’t. I’ve picked up the best ideas from how others pitch and formulated and refined my own approach to pitching. You can do the same. In this column, I’ll share my specific approach to pitching, including five strategies that have helped me impress my clients. Whether you’re a rookie UX designer or seasoned veteran, incorporating some or all of these pitching strategies can elevate your pitching skills to the next level. Read More
If you use—or want to start using—an agile-development process, you probably already know its benefits, but you might not be as aware of one of its main drawbacks. Even though 46% of US organizations and 85% internationally report that they’ve used an agile approach within the past year, communicating your agile process to clients remains a challenge.
Specifically, the problem is bridging the gap between clients’ expectations of the process and the way agile really works. But overcoming this difficulty is well worth the effort if you wind up with a first-rate product and a fully satisfied client.
Of course, some clients are already quite familiar with how agile works. However, for those who aren’t—and whose previous experience was with waterfall product-development approaches—explaining the process and merits of agile can be tough. Sure, your clients might know some agile buzzwords, be familiar with some of the tools, or know the importance of meetings to the agile process. However, it’s unlikely that they understand how agile actually works in practice. Read More