Hello! My name is Ariel Spaulding and I live in the Raleigh / Durham / RTP area of North Carolina.
I started my journey into Agile a long while ago, somewhere around 2012, and we were just coming off of Waterfall. The process took more time than the feature work and there wasn’t much collaboration going on. Have you ever heard of 2-days straight of planning poker and an additional (entire) day of sprint planning – at the start of each sprint? Needless to say, it was not quite agile. Since, I have worked at a few other companies and most of them were either using entirely different SDLCs or using what some of us call scrummer-fall. Eventually, I had the pleasure of working for a company that fully embraced Agile.
I once was told, “I don’t believe in UX. It just seems disruptive to the entire Agile process.” and on another occasion, “Agile doesn’t REALLY have a place for UX.” except it was well known that a good user experience was necessary. And then the suggestions for: ‘design entirely behind the epic line’ or ‘just in time’ design. That’s not integrated! That is OUTSIDE of the process!
I have gone through a lot of trial and error (I had more failures than successes!) to integrate UX into the process.
So is there a way?
After a lot of pain, I finally started doing something that worked…
… and it was like magic.
The feature’s experience was fully discussed by the entire team and as a bonus, it took me FAR LESS time putting together wireframes and designs. WCAG 508 compliance and all.
The team (squad) members were integrated almost entirely into the UX process, and do you know what happened? Everybody on the team started to feel empowered by the knowledge gain so that when technical implementation bumps occurred (usually requiring the team to try something else to avoid scope-creep), they were able to make sound UX decisions that still fulfilled the requirements of the business and the users while keeping a solid experience too.
I know what you’re thinking:
“It must have worked because of the team you were working on, Ariel. Something about it was special. The PO and the Scrum master must have done a great job of bringing everybody together in just the right way.”
…and while you are absolutely right, it wasn’t long before I was assigned to another team and do you know what? It worked there too! Eventually, I was working officially with several teams and stepping in for my colleagues when needed and finding success there too!
I would love to find out if this works for not just many teams, but also different agile organizations. I think I’m onto something, but I won’t really know until I have tried it or if others have tried it within different organizations.
Care to hear first-hand what I was doing? Let’s chat!
On a related note:
I am currently looking for new opportunities and would love to hear from you. #Hireme