UX and Agile: How to Make UX Work While Transitioning to Agile

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Visualization can be employed in any software development method but naturally pairs with an Agile approach, where the product is visible from the beginning. While complementary, prototyping in a newly Agile environment can face challenges — namely, pushback from the technical team. While business readily adopts this approach, IT feels burdened with additional effort. The solution to managing these dissonant attitudes is to facilitate communication and promote transparency between stakeholders and the prototype.

Get Team Buy-In

Different stakeholders react differently to the use of visualizations in a newly Agile environment. For example, updates to a prototype can be made rapidly and iteratively. This mutability and speed reveals potential functionality gaps and allows for immediate stakeholder feedback. In the Agile framework, this feedback drives changes to the requirements and model. As responding to change is prioritized over following a plan, the customer is satisfied through early and continuous delivery of valuable software (Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide). For a team member without exposure to prototyping or Agile, these changes are seen as a moving target with new requirements being constantly added. To address this concern, educate stakeholder on the process and expectations of prototyping in an Agile environment. Beyond that, there are helpful guidelines to ensure that the visualization is accepted.

Communication is Key

Clear communication and transparency will support the stakeholder’s effort and address their concerns. One such concern is not being able to track the changes made to the visualization. Therefore, it is necessary to communicate these changes by maintaining transparency. Practically, send out weekly status reports and create a change log. Clarify that when pages are under review, they are subject to change does this. Additionally, when pages are sprint-ready, refrain from making alterations unless directed by business. If alterations are necessary, include all team members in discussions. To reflect these changes in the requirements, avoid creating new requirements. Rather, decompose existing requirements by creating traceability between parent requirements and child requirements.

Recap

These guidelines advocate communication and transparency. They overcome the challenges that stakeholders often associate with prototyping and the Agile approach. Once the barriers are removed, the team is able to fully utilize the visualization, especially in the Agile framework. This acceptance will ensure that the business’s vision is more effectively reflected once the model goes to code and will accomplish the ultimate goal — the success of the project.

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