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The Agile & Lean UX News #123

Welcome to issue #123 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

We hope you are keeping warm and dry in this inclement weather. Adrian’s been discussing Crafting a UX Portfolio with other contributors from UX Matters. Take a look and see what you think.

Articles of Note


A Framework for Making Better Product Decisions

by Laura Klein (@lauraklein)

“If you think you’ll see a benefit in 6 months, check back in 6 months, but don’t keep extending the deadline if that customer still isn’t landed. It’s important for you to understand how long it can take to get the benefits you’re predicting. Hold the meeting, record the truth, and then feel free to set up a future date for an optional later retrospective if you think there’s still a chance you’ll get some benefit.”

Getting Started with Research Ops

by Emma Boulton (@emmaboulton)

“In the summer we introduced you to the Eight Pillars of User Research. These eight pillars are the broad areas of User Research. Underneath these pillars sit groups of things that User Researchers or ‘people who do research’ (PWDR) are concerned with. Many of these things are challenges to operationalising research. By understanding these pillars, we can start to think about how to operationalise research in our organisations. We can start to think about where a Research Ops layer might come in.”

What I Learned From 6 Months Leading a Design System for a Leading E- commerce Company

by Budi Harto Tanrim (@buditanrim)

“A good design is almost never created by a designer working in a vacuum. We have to work together with the other functions to not only get their buy-in, but their feedback and opinions as well. This helps shake us out of our bias and forces us to look at something from a different perspective. Pumping out designs from the “design” organization alone won’t work. Once we have conversations with other functions and align on what are the important criteria and why, we feel the distribution of design ownership starting to spread.”

Train Your Team to Usability Test in Just an Afternoon

by Nikki Anderson

“As companies grow to rely more heavily on user research, we have to keep up with the growing demands. The best way I’ve found to do this is to train the most relevant people on my team to conduct research sessions independently. I’ll host training sessions for designers, product managers and, if they’re interested, developers or data scientists … I have a tried-and-true workshop approach when teaching others how to conduct more tactical research sessions. In general, I always try to have the following agenda and goals in mind.”

Free Your Product Roadmap and Ditch the Timeline

by Janna Bastow (@simplybastow)

“Just because one item in your roadmap has a date, doesn’t mean you should give everything a due date. A timeline on your product roadmap does just this, and that’s why you need to ditch them. Your roadmap is meant to be a human-readable document that communicates your product strategy. If a key date is part of that strategy, write it down. However, the fewer key dates you commit to, the faster and more flexible you can be. That means you have a better chance to outperform your competition and build a better product.”

Worth Another Read


Larry Constantine on Agile Experience Design

by Jean-Claude Grosjean (@jcQualitystreet)

“I rather see the iterative and incremental development as an opportunity to gather, at frequent intervals, feedback… real feedback… rich feedback. Receiving feedback from the team, the customer or of course the users is, according to me the most important element on IT projects. Time to market, value and simplicity are now crucial for most organizations evolving in a highly competitive environment … I am really convinced that we need to adapt our approach, our tools and deliverables for more effective collaboration with other actors involved in IT projects.”

Something for You To Watch


Enabling Outcome-Oriented Product Organisations Through OKRs

(Sonja Mewes, 29 mins)

“My goal is to promote an individual approach of implementing OKRs over following a one-size-fits-all blueprint. How well OKR works for your organisation doesn’t depend on how rigidly you implement routines or whether you’re able to achieve Google-like success rates for your key results. Instead, the key for using OKRs to encourage outcome thinking in your organisation depends on your willingness to learn and adapt as you move from cycle to cycle.”

Justify Your Product Decisions and Get Stakeholder Buy-In

(Teresa Torres, 32 mins)

“Teresa advises that product managers should align with stakeholders around the mutually desired outcomes by co-creating ideas together. Stop yourself fixating on the “right” answer, show work early on, and leverage valuable stakeholder expertise.”

ACE! Conference Redux

There were some great sessions at the ACE! Conference this year in Krakow. We think you will find the following of especial interest:

You might like to check out the other sessions too.

Upcoming Events

Mind the Product Engage, 7 February, Manchester

Product Con, 11 February, London

Agile-Lean Ireland, 20-21 April, Dublin

Agile Manchester, 13-15 May, Manchester

ACE! 20-22 May, Kraków

Quietstars help teams improve with tactical workshops, team coaching, and personal coaching sessions. 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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