InfoQ: Agile Usability – perceptions of “us vs them” need to change to “us PLUS them”

Do you have an “us VS them” thing going on in your Agile Development processes?

Often this gets talked about when Usability Testing or Agile UX processes get into the discussion.

The “us” is often perceived as the Developers & the “them” is the UX practitioners who are working at some point in the process. If they are joined at the hip with the Developers & engaged in the whole development process, performing usability testing elements & doing just-in-time design & research, then they are contributing positive interactions & value to the team.

But, as this article references the writings about how this discussion comes up & the fact that resolutions are not often discussed, we at Social Usability attempt to offer services to help with the solving of the issues underlying the problems often skirted over.

While the Best Practices mentioned in this article are important to understand & apply if you have the focus & time to do that, the REAL need is to get effective Usability Testing into your processes.

Jakob Nielsen, usability guru and author of Usability Engineering, raises the concern that Agile methods are a threat to traditional approaches to designing usability. He says that Agile’s greatest threat to usability is that “it’s a method proposed by programmers and mainly addresses the implementation side of system development”. Alistair Cockburn counters that this claim just isn’t true:

It doesn’t matter who proposed a good idea, only whether the idea is good.

This sets up an “us versus them” split in the community instead of an “us plus them” coming together.

Unlike the other threats Nielsen names, he doesn’t offer a solution, so he leaves us with his “us versus them” unsolvable problem, which is unacceptable.

Proposed solution: Just use good ideas – don’t worry about where they come from. As Kurt Morris posted on the agile usability list, “It’s amazing what can get accomplished once you get past the artificial “us v them” mentality.”

via InfoQ: Agile Usability.

So the “good ideas” that you can take away from this article might just be to evaluate how to best implement Usability Testing into your processes.

This entry was posted in Agile, Agile Development, Agile Usability, Agile UX, Designers, Developers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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