UX as Continuity Managers

by Kevin Makice

In reflecting on a 3-year-old best practices article by Agile expert Jeff Patton, Jared Spool recalled one way to think of the UX role in the Agile process:

Jeff mentioned that user experience designers on the Agile team end up adopting a similar role to the person who gets the credit of “Continuity” in a film. It becomes their job to make sure the final experience makes sense, even though the order of construction was not linear. This is a huge challenge and one that has come to the forefront as more teams move to an Agile development method.

I found that description compelling. At Indiana, we’re taught a framework (PRInCiPleS) that values non-linear exploration to build a strong argument following a presentation order. In other words, we are encouraged to work simultaneously and continually at any stage in the development of a design argument, with an eye toward selecting the most compelling of that work to support linear logic. Agile teams working “out of order” can benefit from someone(s) reviewing those parts in the context of the big picture view, suggesting new directions and activities to fill the remaining holes in the design logic.

Jeff Patton is giving a virtual seminar on the subject of UX and Agile communication through story maps. Register today to also get access to his UX Agile overview.

User Interface Engineering (August 17, 2011, by Jared Spool)