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The Agile & Lean UX News #134

Welcome to issue #134 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

Adrian wrote a A Brief Story About Pizza (and Agile) last week — for those of us facing those conversations where people confuse Scrum & Agile.

He has some slots on his calendar for free 30 mins chat. If you would like to talk over any work problems, or just fancy having a virtual coffee break with Adrian, feel free to book a slot.

Articles of Note


Journey-Mapping Approaches: 2 Critical Decisions To Make Before You Begin

by Kate Kaplan (@katewkaplan)

“Before jumping into your next journey map… do your due diligence to ensure that the mapping process will be productive. First and foremost, know and use the 5-step process for journey mapping and complete the premapping activities recommended. Before you even pick up a sticky note, establish a cross disciplinary team of allies that will help socialize and create buy-in for your effort and that will determine and commit to the scope of the map upfront.”

Building a Research Database

by Praiz UX (@PraizUx)

“You suddenly want to test with users or quickly validate something and you start thinking who do I talk to? You’re lucky, you reach out to a few connections and they fit your user persona, so you quickly test with them again. The same thing happens again, a quick validation, and you’re stranded again. Since there’s no research database it becomes a cycle … Solution! Build a research database. Simple! This is my advice, build a database for each product. If your products are similar, you can use a single database.”

Persistent Models vs. Point-In-Time Goals

by John Cutler (@johncutlefish)

“Without persistent models, teams are always chasing their tails. Quarterly OKRs should not feel like a "big deal". But they are exactly that when either 1) teams have to dream up their OKRs from complete scratch without a persistent model to guide them, or 2) OKRs are a cascaded down and teams lack context.So in my coaching, I have started to spend a lot more time with teams on exploring persistent models, and a lot less time on initiative goal setting.”

Running a Design Systems Drop-In Clinic

by Geri Reid (@gerireid)

“One learning from running remotely has been how unintentionally London-centric our previous efforts were. We focused on supporting London teams we could meet face-to-face and the dial-in was a bit of an afterthought. Running remotely has meant we have engaged with product teams from all over the country. We need to maintain these relationships when we move back to an office setup and make the dial-in the focus.”

Task Modeling User Needs for Ecommerce Design

by Jesmond Allen (@jesmond)

“Task models are a technique for recording user needs. In this article, I’ll demonstrate how task modeling has helped me convert user research insights into compelling ecommerce designs. I’ll describe what a task model is, with practical examples from the world of ecommerce. Then, I’ll look at the psychology behind task models and show why they matter so much when designing effective ecommerce sites. Finally, I’ll walk through the process of creating a task model.”

Worth Another Read


All-Hands-On-Deck …for Rapid User Insights

by Nick Bowmast (@bowmast)

“This year I’ve surprised myself by recommending some super short approaches to user research. When there’s no time, money or buy-in for a ‘full noise’ project I’ve been running a 2 day process where I put my clients in the research seat as they work together to make their own observations, draw their own conclusions and insights. It felt risky and compromised at first, but it’s working out well so far.”

Something for You To Watch


How to Connect Your Product Work to Your Top Business Metrics

(Pratima Arora, 72 mins)

“The three key drivers of business are getting new users, retaining old users or increasing revenue per user. Each initiative a product team undertakes should fit into one of these buckets to have an impact on the overall business. If it doesn’t, then that means that the initiative should be revisited as it probably won’t have the desired impact. The key takeaway from this talk is that once you know which top-line metrics you want to impact then you can decide what is most important to your company and define how you can measure success with OKRs.”

Here Be Dragons — Product and Discovery

(Randy Silver, 12 mins)

“The ancient explorers used dragons and other things on their maps to represent the unknown, rather than fill the map with empty space. The job of a product manager is to navigate around the unknown using OKRs, making bets, and removing biases. It also requires that you communicate with customers – not to simply talk to them, but to listen to them so that we can gain more insights.”

Hypothesis Driven Validation

(Nate Archer, 19 mins)

“Hypothesis-driven validation provides a framework to help product teams validate more quickly and efficiently by breaking down their ideas. It embraces the uncertainty inherent in what product managers do. New products always include a lot of risk, this process acknowledges assumptions and reduces that risk.”

Agile Cambridge Redux

There were some great sessions at Agile Cambridge last year. We think you will find these of particular interest:

The rest of the sessions are well worth a look too.

Upcoming Events

Agile 100 Conference, 27 August, Online

Lean Agile Exchange, 10-11 September, Online

Mind The Product London, 1-2 October, London

UX Camp Brighton, 10 October, Brighton

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

Adrian will be talking about OKRs for Agile Teams That Don’t Suck at the virtual Lean Agile Exchange conference in September — do say hello if you’re attending!

We’ve got some open slots for new remote 1-1 personal coaching clients this month — if this would be useful for you or your reports please get in touch.

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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