by Charles Lambdin
At the opening talk of UX Strat15, Paul Bryan (conference chair) asked attendees to please “question agile.”
Often, he said, when project risk is high, rigor should be considered more important than agility. When teams place efficiency on too high a pedestal they can start acting like velocity should trump all else, including user experience (UX) work and UX strategy. This is a costly move, sacrificing important aspects of product management in favor of a strict and inflexible view of project management. Agile, after all, is more about organization. It’s more about project management. UX is more about product management. Status quo product management practices aren’t cutting it in today’s environment, hence the dramatic rise to prominence of UX.
Companies are scrambling to build in and fund UX work (at least, every Fortune 2000) because they’re seeing that product teams—whether agile or waterfall—need the skill sets UX brings to the table. Experience is now the deciding factor. Fail on experience, and you’ve failed, period—agile or no agile. Users have come to insist on this and, well, they get to decide, because they’re the consumers. To paraphrase Alan Cooper, speed to delivery really doesn’t matter: you can be efficient right up until you fail.
And Paul is right: sometimes creating real value is more about rigor than agility. But what if you could have both? This is exactly what Presumptive Design offers: you can be agile and you can reduce project risk with fast, efficient upfront UX strat work.