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The Agile & Lean UX News #138

Welcome to issue #138 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

We’re running our sold out OKR workshop again in December for those who missed out!

How to Write OKRs That Don't Suck, Dec 1st 2020
5-6:30pm GMT | 12-1:30pm EST | 9–10:30am PST

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

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

Articles of Note


The Challenges of Introducing Product Experimentation

by Monira Rhaimi (@monirarhaimi) & Oli Gibson (@oligibson)

“There is great value in building products through experimentation. The continual optimization, systematic testing, and incremental validation can help you avoid costly mistakes and enable you to reach your goals faster. However, as our experience demonstrates, without the right organizational culture, you will constantly be facing challenges from within. If you want to make product experimentation a core capability, you must establish a learning culture. Only then will you be able to focus purely on the work that has the most significant impact.”

How to Get The Most Out of Your Customer Interviews Part 1 & Part 2

by Tristan Kromer (@TriKro)

“Non-verbal communication can be quite telling, but it’s a tricky note type to record. Often the signals you are looking for happen in a split second: a little smile, eyes widening, someone shying away, etc. But when you recognize it, body language provides a powerful signal. Watching someone react to what you are telling them is like taking the filter out of the equation. So whether it’s positive or negative body language, make note of it. You might just find more truth in that than in the words of your customers.”

Ethnographic Research in Remote Spaces: Overcoming Practical Obstacles and Embracing Change

by Chloe Evans

“Another unexpected benefit of remote research may be greater attention to misrepresentation. An ethical and epistemological benefit from participant-made videos, for example, is that this approach can help us address some of the issues of representation and the power dynamics of the ethnographer having the privilege to describe another person’s lived experience. By relying on the videos sent to me by participants rather than filming them, they have more control in how they want to present themselves to the world.”

Organisational Design for a Service Line

by Mark Dalgarno

“I first came across the concept of a service line when consulting in government 3 years ago and have used the concept ever since. It’s a good organising principle when thinking about sets of related services. A service line is simply a set of services that work together to enable a user to complete an end-to-end journey. I’ve seen a few examples of service lines over the past years and the different organisational structures that deliver them … I’ve come up with the following design for the organisation around a service line.”

Design, Prototype, Zoom: How New York Times Interns Built a Game Remotely

by Milena Correa, Stephanie Lu, Jenna Kim, Natalie Erjavec, Rohan Shaiva and Shandler Mason

“How do you design a digital game with people you have never met in person? … The team typically develops new game prototypes every month to test with Times subscribers. They assigned us — a team of six interns with skills in design, tech and data — an ambitious task for our summer internship project: to design and prototype a digital game in three weeks. To do this remotely, we had to get creative with our design and playtest approaches.”

Worth Another Read


Reappreciating: “How Might We?”

by GK VanPatter (@SenseMaker)

“Today we see rising appetite for customizing innovation methods and interconnected is deeper interest in better understanding innovation methods history…. where various techniques, exercises and method ideas came from … It might surprise some to know that How Might We? does not originate in the Design Thinking community but rather comes from the Applied Creativity community of practice. These have been and remain two rather different communities with very different histories, heroes, leaders and knowledge.”

Something for You To Watch


Atomic Product Strategy

(Rob Hayes, 20 mins)

“This strategy consists of a vision, strategic objectives, a roadmap and tasks … The top tier (vision) has a horizon of years in most cases and outlines and the bottom tier (tasks) focus on what is going on at a granular level from today to next week … The key takeaways are the benefits of a good product strategy. It provides a clear line of sight between day to day work and the overall vision. Product managers can know that things will go in the right direction without micromanaging, and provide them with more freedom to focus on other things.”

How Do You Apply HCDAgile to Data Projects?

(Carol Righi, Lisa Bruce, Jim Moore & Janice Meissner, 26 mins)

“How do you apply the principles of human-centered design Agile (HCDAgile) to data projects? 1904labs employs our HCDAgile process for all of our projects, many of which focus on data engineering and decision science, where there isn’t necessarily a user interface. Knowing this was also a challenge many enterprises face, in October 2019 we brought together practitioners to discuss this very question.”

Product Managers and Product Owners: What’s the Difference?

(Teresa Torres, 13 mins)

“The vast majority of times when a company feels like they need both roles, it’s usually because they’re still stuck in this project-based discovery model, where they have one foot in the old waterfall, traditional product management model, and one foot in this more customer-centric discovery model. And because they’re trying to do both jobs, it’s just slowing them down. I really encourage teams and companies to step that foot out of the traditional model and step fully into a continuous discovery model.”

NY Product Conference 2019 Redux

There were some great sessions during last year’s NY Product Conference. We think you will find these of particular interest:

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

Upcoming Events

Managing Product = Managing Tension, 4 November, Online

#mtpcon digital, 18-19 November, Online

Why Are Soft Skills the Hardest When Managing Products?, 18 November, Online

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

Managing Products: A Reality Check, 2 December, 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.

Adrian’s looking forward to talking at #mtpcon digital next month on “Communicating Research with Pace Layer Mapping” — a brand new talk on ways to help professional researchers, people who do research, and non-researchers align over which research activities are needed to help drive the best product decisions for the organisation.

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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