Over the last several years, I’ve noticed a shift in the adoption of User Experience within organizations. This is encouraging, but might also require UX professionals to consider the skills and the roles that we bring to product teams. There are two key factors that are now impacting the way UX professionals work with product teams.
First is the adoption of new project-management methods, as well as the integration of UX deliverables into those methods. Early in my career, most software and Web projects followed a waterfall methodology, which is still common in manufacturing industries. The difficulty I frequently encountered with this approach was that it rarely allowed sufficient time for the integration of new knowledge. UX research often got squeezed out because it didn’t directly add business value. Often, from the beginning of a project, a product team essentially had to know exactly what they would deliver at the end of the project. The team’s inability to deviate from the original plan undermined the iterative nature of most UX design approaches. Read More
Product development is complex, so it’s important to have a plan. Your product roadmap serves that purpose and lets you plot the journey ahead and ensure your entire team is aligned.
While it’s crucial to have a well-defined product roadmap at the outset of development, many companies do not have a good system in place for proper project planning. In fact, last year’s Pulse of the Profession report showed that 58% of survey respondents failed to grasp the full value of project management.
A product roadmap can help clear up any confusion and outline a project’s trajectory. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” If only more of us in software development had that same mindset. Read More
Lean methods are tempting to large organizations. The concept that product owners should shorten iteration cycles to optimize learning and minimize waste is certainly a valuable one. But when Steve Blank and Eric Ries put forth the now world-renowned build-measure-learn model, they did not frame it for the context of enterprise product management. Unfortunately, this has caused unforeseen problems for the otherwise prescient practitioners of this approach.
The primary goal of creating a minimum viable product is not to build something, but instead to learn something. For Ries, who was working at a startup consisting almost entirely of engineers, the easiest way to get their product in front of prospective customers was to build and launch an initial version of it. Hence, the minimum viable product, or MVP. Read More