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The Agile & Lean UX News #116

Welcome to issue #116 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

The sun is out — so we’re not sure why you’re here reading this. Hopefully we have something interesting enough to make it worth your while. Enjoy!

Articles of Note


How to Stop Playing “Target Market Roulette”: A New Addition to the Lean Toolset

by Steve Blank (@sgblank)

“The Market Opportunity Navigator … provides a wide-lens perspective to find different potential market domains for your innovation, before you zoom in and design the business model or test your minimal viable products. This new framework can act as the front-end of Customer Development. It helps figure out the most promising starting position – market domain – for your customer development process. And it helps identify promising Plan B’s and new growth options if you have already embarked on your innovation journey.”

Design Partnership With Users

by Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick)

“A huge part of working with Sponsor Users is doing evaluative research to get their feedback on concepts and early design ideas. After understanding their high-level pain points and user roles during initial on-boarding, our researchers have a better idea of which Sponsor Users to engage for different parts of the product experience. New designs are evaluated by several different Sponsor Users to avoid focusing on the perspective of just one user.”

How Asking Works: A Crash Course in Customer Discovery Questions

by Tristan Kromer (@TriKro)

“Asking the wrong types of questions can unintentionally influence the answers. Humans are psychologically geared to please others in a conversation, particularly when it is with someone we don’t know … A single, forced-choice question followed by a series of yes/no questions that confirm our preconceived biases can derail the entire interview, and worse, lead to false conclusions about our customer that takes our discovery in the wrong direction.”

Starting a ResearchOps Practice

Kate Towsey (@katetowsey) interviewed by Carrie Boyd

“Research ops is still growing as a field and as a conversation. The more teams that establish research ops as a branch of its own, the more case studies we’ll have and the better we can understand how research ops looks in practice. In the end, research ops exists to facilitate the research team’s efforts. Research is hard work, but a research ops team can help researchers do more effective and efficient research.”

Reflections on Business, Design, and Value

by Andrea Mignolo (@pnts)

“What’s been important about the emergence of design thinking aside from the capacities it creates is that it points to the activities of design as a source of value, instead of focusing solely on the products of design. To me this is an important distinction and increases the relevance of design to business exponentially. It also means that design activities, when made visible as a source of value, have the potential to be learned and used across the entire organization.”

Worth Another Read


Adding Game Mechanics to Agile Processes Part 1: Card Aging

by Jeff Gothelf (@jboogie)

“When properly harnessed, adding game mechanics to certain processes can make them more fun, engage the team performing them and increase the productivity and quality of output from that team. As we continue to evolve our Agile practices, we’ve experimented with some game mechanics to see what, if anything, is effective in increasing our velocity as well as the quality of our work. … I’d like to show you how aging your feature cards can help your team focus and unblock itself.”

Something for You To Watch


The Power of Thoughtful Research

(Prakriti Parijat, 26 mins)

“Many product managers will say their foremost challenge is “being able to conduct proper research to validate whether the market truly needs what they’re building”. But while we look to research as the solution, Prakriti says that research not done right won’t help to answer this question either. She walks through four insights that product teams commonly look for, and gives advice on the right way to get the answers desired.”

NUX7 Redux

Last October’s NUX7 was, as always, excellent. All the sessions are worth a watch — but we think you’ll find these of special interest:

If you liked these, you should check out the other sessions.

Upcoming Events

The Lead Developer, 11-12 June, London

No (Lab) Jacket Required: Designing Experiments For Learning, 12 June, Brighton

UX Scotland, 12-14 June, Edinburgh

Conflict Resolution for Agile Teammates Who Hate Conflict, 18 June, New York

RebelCon, 19-20 June, Cork

UXPA International Conference, 25-27 June, Scottsdale

User Research London, 27-28 June, London

Agile on the Beach, 11-12 July, Falmouth

UX Bristol, 12 July, Bristol

Mind the Product San Francisco, 15-16 July, San Francisco

Design & Content, 17-19 July, Vancouver

Agile2019, 5-9 August, Washington

UX Australia, 27-30 August, Sydney

re:develop, 20 September, Bournemouth

Industry: The Product Conference, 23-25 September, Cleveland

EuroIA, 26-28 September, Riga

UXDX, 7-8 October, Dublin

Mind the Product, 17-18 October, London

DesignOps Summit, 23-25 October, New York

Want to say hello in person? We’re attending Lead Developer London next week, running our popular one day User Story Mapping workshop at Mind the Product London in October, and looking forward to listening to the always entertaining talks at re:develop in September.

If you’d like us to run one of our workshops or talks at your company get in touch.

Quietstars help teams improve with tactical workshops, team coaching and personal coaching. Think we can help your product development teams? Have a question? Not sure where to begin? Visit to find out.

Have something that you think should be in this newsletter? Want to tell us what sucked or rocked about this issue? Drop us a line at

Until next time. Be excellent to each other.

Kathryn (too busy for twitter) & Adrian (@adrianh)

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