What is Agile Design and How to Apply it
About 20 years ago, Agile was merely a set of management practices aimed at developers. In 2020, however, it’s much more than just that. Agile has permeated a multitude of different types of organizations, teams, and crafts. An important field that has been influenced by this methodology is design. Today, companies all around the world use it as a framework for establishing how their products should look and feel. It’s called Agile design. In this article, we’ll take a look at how your team can incorporate Agile principles in design and user experience work. Here goes! So what is Agile? Agile is a people-oriented management system, designed to make teams much more adaptable to changes. It appeared as a response to the then-popular Waterfall methodology, which has its fair share of shortcomings. It’s considered to be clunky and unforgiving, among other things. Agile intended to change the focus from rigid processes and orient it towards “authentic human interactions.” The methodology revolves around four essential values: Individuals and interactions processes and tools; Good software detailed documentation; Collaborating with customers negotiating contracts; Adapting to change following rigid plans; Why is Agile so popular? Probably the most critical aspect of this methodology is that it’s iterative and evolutionary. It allows teams to improve the product with each iteration. More importantly, teams can decide what improvements need to be made on each short iteration. As a result, the development process is both quick and rational — it addresses the most pressing issues immediately. Plus, regular communication is a crucial aspect of the process too. Agile enables stakeholders and clients to provide teams with regular feedback. This is what sets this methodology apart from other approaches. According to a study published by PwC, projects executed within an Agile methodology are nearly 30% more successful. Applying Agile principles to design work For a very long time, design has not been perceived as an iterative process. Often, designers would be pushed to start working on high-fidelity prototypes straight away. This often resulted in poorly thought out products that didn’t really address users’ needs adequately. The Agile design process, on the other hand, is an iterative approach. Here’s a basic layout of the process: Understand, Research, Sketch, Design, Prototype, Test, Refine This approach allows designers to go beyond “just creating a product.” Instead, they’re able to improve a product’s design with each iteration and solve important problems. This will, as a result, lead to better user experience and customer satisfaction. Also, Agile is comfortable with uncertainty. It’s important that teams embrace the so-called “unknown.” They need to accept that there are many questions that they don’t have answers to at this point. These answers will emerge as the design process continues in short iterations. This way, teams can continuously make small but very rational decisions. Read more about Lean UX. Interestingly, a principle that makes Agile product design efficient is called “Just Barely Good Enough.” The designs that teams deliver at the end of an iteration need to be somewhere between ideal and realistic. This reflects the very nature of this methodology. You’re not trying to deliver a perfect product straight away. » Read More
Like to keep reading?
This article first appeared on adamfard.com. If you'd like to keep reading, follow the white rabbit.