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The Agile & Lean UX News #136

Welcome to issue #135 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

We’re just coming up to the end of the quarter — which means some of you are worrying about OKRs. Possibly for the first time! If you’re using OKRs and having problems — or adopting OKRS and want it to go smoothly — we’re running a 90m session that can help you spot & fix OKR issues early.

How to Write OKRs That Don't Suck, Oct 1st 2020
5-6:30pm BST | 12-1:30pm EDT | 9–10:30am PDT

You’ll leave the session with:

  • A list of common anti-patterns to avoid
  • A list of approaches and tips to help counter those anti-patterns
  • Worksheets & facilitation guides to help you and your teams create OKRs that don’t suck!

If you want to get an idea of the things we’ll be talking about check out the video of our talk last week at Lean Agile Exchange on OKRs That Don’t Suck.

But enough about us — let’s get to the articles.

Articles of Note


Catching Problem Participants in Remote Unmoderated Studies

by Kate Moran (@kate__moran)

“It’s important to identify people whose behavior is not representative for your user population and exclude their data from your analysis. (Testing representative users is one of the core principles of usability testing, and unrepresentative participants invalidate many of the findings from a study.) In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify three types of problem participants: outliers, cheaters, and professional participants.”

The Tension Between Building Design Capability and Delivery at Pace

by Isabella (@bellarosebm)

“Rather than asserting pace, teams need to acknowledge it and check-in with it. We need to show empathy for individuals, the team and the organisation to recognise when we can go fast and where we need to slow down. It’s having the awareness and maturity to recognise when the team or individuals need time and space to think, reflect and possibly pivot. Once you’re conscious of it, you can be deliberate.”

Incorporating a UX Research Practice in a 16-Year-Old Company

by Lade Tawak (@LadeTawak)

“It’s easier to start with people who already want to do research. Find early adopters and advocates for UX research and start mini research projects with them to show the value and benefits of research. It’s not enough to say UX is great and research is amazing, it’s easier to convince other people to incorporate research in their process when they’ve seen the success elsewhere.”

A Lean Design System: How We Built Tablekit

by Lehel Babos (@lehelbabos)

“To my relief, almost a year later, TableKit continues to mature and improve with each release. While we still have a long road ahead and we continue to evolve, here are the things I believe we did right so far. If you’re a developer or a designer at a small to mid-sized company, involved in building a design system for your own team, hopefully these insights can help you find success as well.”

How to Run a Journey-Mapping Workshop: A Step-by-Step Case Study

by Kate Kaplan (@katewkaplan)

“When journey maps are used in the right way — as a means to address a specific, known business goal — the benefits are vast … Because the structure of a workshop is dependent on the skill level and preferred methods of the facilitator, there are many ways to lead a journey-mapping workshop. This article provides an overview of one way — a case study with examples from a recent workshop — but there could be many variations of the activities listed that could also be productive.”

Worth Another Read


10 Things I’ve Learned About Customer Development

by Cindy Alvarez (@cindyalvarez)

“What features your customers ask for is never as interesting as why they want them. So: Direct them away from talking about the solution and back to describing the problem. Listen, pause, and then ask what it would allow them to do if they had it today. Ask what they’re currently doing as a substitute. They’ll either identify a problem (good — now go solve it) or be unable to provide specifics (feel free to deprioritize this suggestion).”

Something for You To Watch


Bringing Product and Marketing Teams Together

(Kathryn Corrick and Frank Wales, 23 mins)

“With continued regulations, data protection will be done by design and default. It won’t just be the job of legal or compliance but will become part of how teams work on a day to day basis. Agile focuses on speed but data protection and privacy require taking time to consider how things can be exploited … The key takeaway from this talk is that data protection and privacy will provide opportunities for product people to re-engage their relationships with the customer.”

Outcomes Over Output

(Josh Seiden, 43mins)

“An outcome is a measurable change in behaviour that drives business results. That word ‘behaviour’ is really important because it helps us focus on what people are doing. What are our users doing? What are our customers doing? What are we doing? … How can we change those things to create more value for our users for our customers and for our business?”

User Research for Product Managers

(Yue Wu, 36 mins)

“Users don’t know what features they want. User research can be used to get users to show you what they don’t want to tell you. If a user is asked “how would you improve this product?” the answer they give may not actually get them to use the product more. Instead, through user research, product people can understand user intent and use it to develop what users need and not what they thought they wanted.”

LeadDev Live Redux

LeadDev Live took place online this year and had some great sessions. We think you will find these of especial interest.

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

Upcoming Events

Lean UX & Product Discovery for Agile Teams, 15 September - 6 October, Online

Industry, 22-23 September, Online

How to Write OKRs That Don't Suck, 1 October, Online

#mtpcon London, 1-2 October, Online

UXDX, 6-9 October, Online

JAM, 12-17 October, Online

UCD Gathering, 15-16 October, Online

DesignOps Summit, October 21-23, Online

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.

We’re going deeper into OKRs with our 90m online workshop How to Write OKRs That Don't Suck on October 1st (attending will also get you a discount on 1-1 personal coaching!)

We’re still looking at options to the in-person user story mapping workshop we were previously planning to run at Mind The Product London — if this is of interest let us know and we’ll keep you updated.

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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