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AgileUX: Prototyping, Design Studio and Sketching

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2012/05/26

Here are the slides of the presentation I gave at Agile France 2012 (Paris)

User Story Checklist… Be Ready, be EFFECTIVE!

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2012/03/01

The art of the specification in a agile context is above all collaborative. It’s also a matter of behavior.

As you know I like user stories. The format is a good way to express a requirement and to initiate the conversation between a Product Owner (supported or not by UX specialist, Business Analyst…) and the Team.

But of course, this short description, usually in one or two lines, is not sufficient to enable a Team to develop the functionality described… (see agile PROTOTYPING)

A generic template that must be adjusted to your own conditions of readiness

A generic template that must be adjusted to your own conditions of readiness

In short, the idea behind this precious checklist (inspired by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory’s book) is to facilitate the job of the Product Owner.

With this checklist, the Product Owner identifies the key elements that must come (in his context) with a specific User story. For example, these important test cases must be envisioned or a link to UX stuff, wireframe of the screen, UI library or a prototype must be provided.

This is also the place where you can start describing required business rules (the business rules paragraph was crucial for financial and supply chain projects I was involved in and we linked it to an ATDD approach).

The Product Backlog Refinement (the” forgotten” 5th Scrum ceremonial for grooming activities :) ) or other dedicated collaborative workshops are good opportunities to work on the checklist and to make sure that a specific user story will be ready to be taken and developed during the next sprint.

Product Backlog Refinement Agenda

Product Backlog Refinement Agenda

Then, several days later, first day of the new sprint, the sprint planning part I (scope definition) will be used to confirm the various elements, especially the conditions of satisfaction, and the engagement of the Team to develop, by the end of the sprint, the user stories discussed.

Remember: feedback and collaboration!

Remember the future… not only to mitigate cognitive biases

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/11/27

“Remember the Future” is one of the 13 games offered and popularized by Luke Hohmann.

I’ve already talked about the Product Vision Box and Speed ​​Boat which I use regularly … it is now time to introduce you with another game…

Remember the future … not only to mitigate cognitive biase

your customers and users are not good to speculate on the use of a future product. The user is not a designer, and this kind of questions: “What should our product do?” is mostly useless.

Too vague, too open,… As a designer or user researcher you, you need to be cautious with the comments users make about a future usage…

Users tend to generalize, simplify or idealize ...

Remember the future is a little technique to minimize these biases by immersing the user in a past that will be more concrete for him.

It’s a simple game, really appropriate to frame the content of a release, or to agree on the success criteria of a specific project or mission. *

And this is exactly how I have used it for the first time 4 years ago: the objectives of the mission were unclear, the context was complex, we had a large number of “high level” participants at our workshop…. Remember the future allowed us to move smoothly and to complete the impressive series of workshops requested …

Remember the future help you to establish a reference point for comparison; it gives context and enables both better understanding and exploration. As Luke Hohman says, it works:

“Because it is easier to understand and describe a future event from the past tense over a possible future event ”

An example of scenario:

“We are in September 2012 it is now six months that you use this new product, you’re happy with it and people can see it. (Step 1) This morning you meet your boss asking you what do you like so much in this new product, and what the product has done for you the last three months” (Step 2)

There are many variations on the implementation of the game (various scenarios or levels of detail) but the most important element remains the questioning:

BEFORE (and classically without the game): “What the product should do?”

AFTER (as part of the game): Context + “What will the product have done?”

The idea behind the game, as any UX technique, is to play the game with many users… Don’t hesitate to alternate “one on one” formats or small group dynamics …
Another benefit of Remember the future is that it can be used in multiple situations. Recently, I used the game to fit the expectations of my clients for my agile coaching activities.

They were two … we first exchanged on the issue, I gave them the scenario and asked them to work individually for 5 minutes generating notes. Then, they did grouping on the poster.

Results: we had a clear idea of ​​4 or 5 areas to focus on!

“Involve me and I’ll understand!”

Collaborative workshop and The letter to Santa Claus: Act4

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/11/20

Or gaming & agile mindset at Home :)

Christmas is coming and for the fourth year we’ve prepared during a great collaborative workshop with kids, our letter to Santa Claus (or technically speaking, our prioritized Backlog for Santa Claus)

Final Version Eva
Final Version Eva -

A prioritized and customized backlog !

Some constraints…

  • Santa Claus is very busy
  • His sledge is not expandable
  • The deadlines are tight
  • The delivery date cannot be moved
  • And unfortunately a additional one this year, two sites for the delivery… that’s life… :(

The workshop

We didn’t have to make a long opening: the kids are already familiar with the process, they’re ready and impatient to start…

They know they cannot have everything (lessons learned from the past…)  and that being good (or not) has an impact on Santa Claus’s motivation to deliver what they wish…So they’re aware of the necessity to set priorities for their Christmas backlog !

Step 1: Needs analysis, Brainstorming and data collection
Passionate reading for weeks, intensive research from several sources… confrontation with friends at school were a fantastic preparation for our “collaborative workshop” at Home

Catalogs

Catalogs

Items selection: cutting

Items selection

Step 2: Backlog Initialization

  • Images are cut
  • One image is placed by sticky note(pink ones for my daughter; orange notes for my son). The main backlogs are initiated
Brainstorming and selection

Time to cut

One image by Sticky note

One image by Sticky note

Backlog item example... Buzz l'Eclair

Backlog item example... Buzz l'Eclair - The 2C rule: Card and Conversation :)

Step 3: Backlog Prioritization
Notes are laid either on the ground or on the table (their preference this year). Kids make their prioritization effort and rank them in order of preference. They place on the top toys they want most, the most important to them…

Prioritization effort: Here are the Top priorities

Prioritization effort: Here are the Top priorities

Starting by the top priorities

Starting by the top priorities

Priorities checking: compare and use triangulation ! this PO skill is acquired

Priorities checking: compare and use triangulation ! this PO skill is acquired

Move to the wall

Move to the wall

Move to the wall for a better visualization...They really enjoyed it!

Move to the wall for a better visualization...They really enjoyed it!

Step 4: Backlog Customization
Since last year, the backlog customization has become a crucial step…

Backlog customization: essential!

Backlog customization: essential!

Customization...

Customization...

More customization for my daughter

More customization for my daughter

Step 5 : Backlog display and printed version
Go to the room for an optimal visibility & accessibility.

Final Version Eva

Final Version Eva

Final Version Solal (actually not yet finished...)

Final Version Solal (actually not yet finished...)

Print a version in a Letter format and send it to Santa Claud…

Results

Once again, we really had a great time… :)

A Speed Boat or nothing…

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/10/17

Speed ​​Boat is one of the “Innovation games“, one of those games that, like Product Vision Box , Remember the future or Buy a feature, is very useful during our Agile and UX workshops.

Speedboat is an interactive, collective and funny way to identify constraints, obstacles, problems with our product or our project, then to prioritize actions in order to remove them!

Speed boat, a boat with many facets…

The advantage of the Speed ​​Boat metaphor is that the game can be very useful in a lot of contexts. Indeed, our boat is appropriate to represent our development project (which does not advance for some reason…), our product, subject to criticisms and comments of its users or the team in charge to bring agility to the organization.

Result of our Speedboat WorkShop ...The goal is the Agile Enterprise

Result of our Speedboat WorkShop ...The goal is the Agile Enterprise

The rules of the game

  • Draw a speed boat on a whiteboard or poster
  • The boat is our system, our product, our project or our team, so name it (Here, the boat is our Agile transition team)
  • Of course, the objective of the Speed ​​boat (our product…) is to go fast (for best performance). So I first ask the participants to describe us precisely what characterizes the optimal performance, the desirable conditions (yellow notes attached to the port or on the island that the boat needs to reach)
  • The boat position represents today and the distance between the boat and the island can be seen as an indicator (not in our case)
  • The anchors represent the obstacles slowing the movement of our boat: impediments or things that our customers or users do not like about our product and affect its optimal functioning. The more they are low under the water, the more they are strong (well, up to you to follow this rule!)
  • The green arrows represent positive elements that push our boat

Facilitation

Several variations exist. Here is mine

  • Steps 1 & 2 After the opening and introduction of the game, I usually ask participants to work individually or in pairs (depending on group size) on the goal (desirable conditions) and the positive factors then to present their work to others.
  • Step 3: Then, individually or in small groups it is time to characterize the anchors (obstacles, constraints, things we don’t like)
  • Step 4: The work done, I ask the participants to post their anchors on the wall.
  • Step 5:  Collective consolidation and anchors prioritization
  • Step 6: I usually close the game with an action plan to set up to remove the major anchors!

In short, we generally have a good time playing that game: enjoyable, useful but also very effective!