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The Agile & Lean UX News #100

Welcome to issue #100 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally. Five years and 100 issues and we’re still here!

To celebrate we’ll be picking our five lucky book winners from our list of subscribers today. Keep an eye on your inbox — you might have a chance to pick a book from our mini-recommended reading list:

If you don’t end up winning — don’t worry. We still have some interesting articles and videos for you. Here’s to 100 more issues!

Articles of Note


Is Agile the Enemy (of Good Design)?

by John Cutler (@johncutlefish)

“Designers have a right to be concerned. At least with waterfall no one prematurely yells “ship it” in the middle of the project. Designers have time to work instead of trying to jump on and off the sprint conveyor belt. And because the “thing” is built in a big batch, they have time to tackle the design problem holistically right from the beginning. “Good” waterfall beats abused Agile any day.”

Here’s Why You Don’t Do Customer Research

by Sofia Quintero (@Sofiaqt)

“What often happens is that we start customer research activity with little confidence in whether or not we will learn something from it. Maybe this is due to lack of research experience or because of time constraints. Either way, we fail to bring useful insights back to the team so the team quickly jump to the conclusion that research is not useful, so instead of wanting to do more and better research they quit research all together. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that slowly kills momentum in any research activity.”

Embedding Product Design in a Large Agile Organization

by Scott Mackie (@smackienz)

“As we established the scrum design role we recognized that: 1) We were asking scrum designers to do a lot … and 2) we had a bunch of great specialists in our organization that weren’t UI-capable product designers — we had researchers, strategic designers, content specialists and even some UX engineers. To leverage those skills and to support our scrum designers we established a centralized DesignOps team.”

Take Our Playbook: NPR’s Guide to Building Immersive Storytelling Projects

by Wesley Lindamood (@lindamood)

“For projects that achieve their editorial goals and connect with audiences, the goal should be to figure out how to create a repeatable pattern. The rigor and focus on learning in a hypothesis-driven design project are geared toward this. Over time, projects that start out as experiments become established approaches, and the focus of the work shifts from discovery to improvement.”

Anatomy of a User Research Consent Form

by David Travis (@userfocus)

“We now have a data retention policy for our user research. All of our raw data that contains personal information (primarily usability test video recordings but also photographs and audio recordings from field visits) are destroyed after two years. As an acquisitive researcher, this is one of the things I found most difficult. Raw data are the building blocks of our trade: what if I want to re-analyse them in the future? Then I looked over the last 20 years of research we had done and discovered this had happened just once … So it's something I'm learning to live with.”

Worth Another Read


Ready to Ship?

by Jeff Patton (@jeffpatton)

“The opening of a Broadway musical and the morning newspaper have something in common: They both deliver a unique product on a fixed schedule. So why is it difficult for us to do the same in software development? … I know they do a couple [of] things that we often neglect to do in software development, namely focus on the readiness of the entire product and not just the completion of planned bits of work. I learned to apply the same kind of thinking working on software for brick and mortar retailers. … From this experience, I've designed three successful strategies that may help you decide if your product is ready to ship.”

UX Fest 2018 Redux

UX Fest took place in June. We think you will find these of particular interest


Something for You To Watch


Reboot Your Team

(Christina Wodtke, 32 mins)

“Getting your team to provide healthy feedback to each other and own their culture is incredibly hard. It requires the team to develop great empathy for each other and be vulnerable to create an open dynamic for feedback on what individuals do well, how they can change, and how the team can use this information to work better together. This level of feedback can be powerful, but difficult to achieve.”

Cognitive Biases & the Questions You Shouldn’t Be Asking

(Cindy Alvarez, 37 mins)

“Our brains are not very good at making nuanced decisions. So cognitive bias creeps in and impacts the questions we ask, what people tell us in response, and how we interpret what we have heard. Cindy talks us through several common biases, how they manifest themselves in our work, and what questions we should be asking instead.”

Upcoming Events

UX Australia, 28-31 August, Melbourne

Refresh 2018, 7 September, Tallinn

Criticality v. Scope: How to Prioritize Product Decisions, 12 September, New York

Responsive Conference 2018, 24-25 September, New York

Product Innovation Summit, 27-28 September, Boston

EuroIA, 27-29 September, Dublin

Industry, 1-3 October, Ohio

Business of Software USA, 1-3 October, Boston

Global Scrum Gathering, 8-10 October, London

The Advanced Lean Startup Workshop, 11-12 October, Paris

MWUX, 11-13 October, Chicago

Agilia Budapest, 15-17 October, Budapest

World Usability Congress, 17-18 October, Graz

Leading the Product, 18 October, Melbourne

Mind the Product, 18-19 October, London

Leading the Product, 23 October, Sydney

Agile in the City: Bristol, 7-9 November, Bristol (10% off with code Adrian)

DesignOps Summit, 7-9 November, New York

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.

We’re running one more public workshop on user story in October as part of Mind the Product London. See our workshops page for more details (if you want to run this workshop inside your company drop us a line at

If you want to meet us in person we’ll be presenting at the Scrum Gathering London in October, and Agile in the City: Bristol in November. Do come along and say hello (you can get 10% of Agile in the City: Bristol tickets with the code “Adrian”.)

If you can’t get the support & advice you need within your org our team coaching and our 1-on-1 remote personal coaching sessions can help.

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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