First the fun part — here’s what we do for team building after a product launch ……. a two hour speedboat ride on the Willamette up to the abandoned paper mill in Oregon City….
I’ve been reflecting on the Agile principle: Responding to change over following a plan…
We have revolving-door UX sessions weekly with user surrogates face to face. We have 10 people who are committed to 15 minute sessions on the half hour every Monday. That way, we can divvy up the projects and each of the 3 scrum teams gets at least 3 sessions. We also swap our participants around to avoid fatiguing them with the same project. Generally, we are validating IXD concepts with Balsamiq Mockup click-thrus that represent our “happy path hypothesis” We record those sessions with Silverback. The UX person gives the report out immediately when the sessions are done and archives the recorded sessions so that we can do further analysis later.
Every sprint we strive to do one longer session with Real Users — (customers who have signed up to be “UX Lab Rats”. ) In a nutshell, these are 45 minute sessions — remote testing. I use WebEx and share an application — live code (working behind) or a prototype (working ahead). We record it — but also encourage developers and product managers to dial in (stay mute) and observe real-time.
This program has been the most influential in getting people to understand that what UX and UCD is all about — people using the stuff that we are building to solve their problems.
I believe the UX validation cycle be the single most important contribution we have made in working towards a delightful product experience for our users. Last week I got some feedback from the field that was music to my ears. A customer wrote a note back to the sales rep after upgrading and using the new feature :
“Side note — upgraded our console to 8.1 and am having an absolute blast setting up tag sets (and tagging profiles, to automatically apply tags).
It’s already giving me so much more visibility to the nodes. LOVE IT! :)”
This is the kind of feedback UX lives for! The success the field is seeing is directly related to having UX sitting on those SCRUM teams — designing solutions for developers to execute on – yes, but most importantly, conducting consistent revolving door UX sessions with customers and folding their feedback directly and incrementally into the product — from lo-fidelity conception all the way through to code freeze.
here’s the link to the press release: