Agile 2010

I just returned from a week in hot, sweaty and rainy Orlando, FL where I spent the bulk of my time at the Agile 2010 conference. It was my first time at such a specialized, non-design conference and I was doubly excited since I also presented. I went down with many questions — how are other organizations dealing with transitions into Agile? Is Design and User Experience even a consideration? What challenges and ultimately what solutions are people finding that work well for their teams?

I came down to Florida with those questions. I went home with them too. To be fair, I did get a slew of new tactics to try but the general vibe is that many folks are struggling with Agile — especially when trying to incorporate a design team (of any size, skillset or configuration). I focused my attention on sessions that dealt with the core problems with this integration as I see them — personalities and planning.

I found Lisamarie Babik‘s session on Coaching Introverts interesting and useful as it focused on pulling the quieter members of the team into the process more. I also spent time in Jean Tabaka‘s Visioning session. While it was a bit fluffy for my tastes it did give me some good ideas on how to focus the team on the things they want to achieve and not on the negative perceptions of an Agile design environment.

Jeff Patton and Desiree Sy — both UX/Agile legends at this point — provided strong tactical sessions on how to plan product design activities into the sprint timeframes. I found those sessions valuable and both individuals extremely friendly and forthcoming for conversation and differing opinions (Jeff I’d met once before but this is my first time meeting Desiree in person).

My presentation on integrating UX and Agile is embedded below. I feel like it struck a nerve with the folks who attended as it dealt directly with the failures we experienced at TheLadders as we’ve been integrating UX into Agile. But, more interestingly than that, it showed that even when good ideas fail, you can iterate, tweak and try them again — which is the essence of being agile.

Beyond Staggered Sprints: Integrating User Experience and Agile

View more presentations from Jeff Gothelf.
Ultimately, I enjoyed networking and meeting new people and those familiar to me from the Twitter but first time in meatspace (as my friend Will Evans likes to say). The entire crew from Atomic Object in Grand Rapids, MI made for engaged conversations during meals and after sessions — seems like they’re working on some interesting things.
One final note on the production of the conference — top notch. Amazing production, facilities, equipment, food, parties, vendor space — you name it. Kudos for an event well planned.
I enjoyed my time at Agile 2010 very much and, based on the reactions and connections I’ve made, I think I’ll be back in 2011.
[Jeff]

About Jeff Gothelf

Jeff Gothelf is an agile product designer, teacher, writer and team leader. He is one of the leading voices on the topic of Agile UX and Lean UX. In addition, Jeff is the author of the O'Reilly book (2013), Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience (www.leanuxbook.com). He is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker, workshop leader & trainer. Currently Jeff is a Principal at Neo Innovation in NYC (www.neo.com).
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  • http://quietstars.com adrianh

    Glad you enjoyed yourself :-)

    Thanks again for your presentation – I've heard nothing but good things from the people who attended!