Sustainable Pace, Agile, and The Big Design Refactor
Lean UX NYC, 2013
Jonathan Berger, Pivotal Labs
1. Sustainable Pace
Call to arms
I see many
wasn't agile supposed to be a
instead, designers feel
asked to work at someone else's
this is an
expected to be right
expected to be perfect
call to arms
designers should adopt sustainable pace as a value
- Sclerosis around processes and tools,
- Compulsive (CYA) documentation,
- Endless negotiation about targets and deliverables,
- A fixation on following old plans in a new situations.
- Individuals & interactions over processes & tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
designers coping with Agile
why aren't we asking
"How can Agile serve designers?"
3. Big Design Refactor
In the beginning...
visual design system
the project goes Agile
I.N.V.E.S.T., small pieces
Malleable, never done, holistic
degrades under the weight of a thousand tiny changes
designers have to play catch-up in a race they can't win
Understand and accept
this design-system degradation is an affordance of differently-sized design and development cycles
Agile Designers Prayer
Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Designers need not work at developers tempo
stay in-rhythm with development,
keep an eye on the health of the graphic system
manage your design debt
- Mention that the system is breaking down
- Keep solving the tactical problems
- keep delivering value
the balance shifts
raise the alarm
Do systematic visual Design
What DOES THE BIG DESIGN REFACTOR look like?
- mostly at whiteboards or Adobe Creative Suite
- include product ~4-7x / week
- ping development ~1-2x / week to consult on technical implications
Near the end of Big design refactor
- deliver a set of user stories accompanied by mockups
- It’ll often take an IPM or two to get through all of them
- it’s important that they get implemented soon
Costs of delay
- Nothing feels more like waste than a heavy investment in design
- followed by unacted-upon stories that go stale
- This will kill trust between design product (in both directions)
After the Big Design refactor
- new design is being built
- designers occasionally hop back into Adobe for assets or newly-discovered UX tweaks
- most design time is spent pairing with developers
until the next refactor
- designers pair on stories, work on design problems revealed by user testing
- ~66% development and 33% Adobe apps
- The debt clock is starting to tick again, and once the pain is noticeable, start making noises
“we’re ok for right now, but we’ll need a design refactor in the next 3-5 weeks”
...and the cycle repeats
work with the Big Design Refactor, not against it.
Call to Action
Call to Arms
Designers should recognize the rhythms and tempos of design and development.
Designers should look to agile as a solution, not a problem.
Designers should adopt sustainable pace as a value.
- @jonathanpberger on twitter, github, gmail, pivotallabs.com, everywhere.
- slides at http://jonathanpberger.com/talks
- Thanks to Lane Halley and Giff Constable for feedback on this talk.