UX { Agile vs Lean }

No one can deny that usability and good design principles is as important as ever to insure successful user adoption of the next web app idea. More importantly is to understand what processes we can put in place to insure optimal use of time, resource and money taking into consideration market dynamics.

One way to achieve this is to use a combination of ‘Agile‘ and ‘Lean‘ techniques at the heart of UX delivery. I have to say that sometimes we use these two terms interchangeably and though to shed some light on the difference!  In particular, my understanding goes along the same lines as Anders Ramsay who proposed a clear and concise framework, below:

Explaining the relationship and differences between Traditional, Agile, and Lean UX. Source AndersRamsay.com

In the Agile universe the ultimate measure of progress is the deliver of high quality working software with high velocity, and in the realm of enterprise world the quality measured is feature-based and not usability-based which contradicts with the UX world. So my first thought is why implement Agile and the answer is ‘collaboration‘.  For UX designers adapting Agile thinking can bring a fundamental paradigm shift on how the teams Interact and communicate.

The next leading question after having the mechanics in place for efficient delivery of apps is how we can insure that we are delivering the right app? This is where ‘Lean” comes in the picture, which is the art of integrating research and analysis into product buildout and not to leave it as a prerequisite step for work to commence. Thus within Lean context Building is Research is Building like in Agile context Building is Designing is Building.

Therefore, the word Lean has a different inclination than Agile. Agile refers to minimising waste and maximising flow which in turn found its routes form Lean manufacturing, while lean within UX context refers to Lean Startup a term coined by Eric Ries and Steve Blank which extends the idea further to encapsulates the market with the ability to frequently turn ideas on or off based on continues feedback during build (Getting Out of the Building).

The combination of Agile and Lean can make traditional UX a more whole practice.






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