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The Agile & Lean UX News #92

Welcome to issue #92 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

If you’re thinking of attending the always excellent UX Scotland this June in Edinburgh you can get 10% off your ticket price with the code “Adrian” (and you don’t even have to come to his talk!)

Articles of Note


Why T-Shaped People?

by Jason Yip (@jchyip)

“T-shaped people is about embracing human adaptability. A skill that you know well and find mundane might be very interesting and challenging to someone else who doesn’t know that skill. A skill they know well and find mundane might be very interesting and challenging to you. Cross-training to be more T-shaped enables this learning and growth mindset.”

UX Research — A Dedicated Role, or a Skill Everyone Develops? The Answer: Yes

by Peter Merholz (@peterme)

“Something I found ironic in the Twitter discussion of “user research as a skill” was the lack of respect for deepening the practice of that skill, seeing it as simply a phase in a designer’s process. User research can do way more than just help designers solve problems. Dedicated user research teams have an opportunity to deeply impact an entire organization’s awareness of its customers.”

Confronting The Ethics of Your Design Choices

by Owen Williams (@ow)

“The biases that come from power and cultural differences are an important concern and even easier to miss. As a designer, it’s easy to walk into a project and assume you’re able to just solve any problem by iterating on it. While that might work most of the time in the digital world, it gets more complicated when you’re solving an issue that impacts someone’s most basic needs.”

What, So What, Now What?

by Will Myddelton (@myddelton)

“When we take notes in a research session we only note down observations. But if you ask someone new to research to take notes they’ll write a mixture of observations (participant struggled to enter a password), findings (hiding passwords stops users logging in) and actions (show the password!). … I use What, So What, Now What to explain the user research process. It's about going through three stages, one at a time, pausing to reflect and prioritise after each stage.”

How Building a Design System Empowers Your Team to Focus on People — not Pixels

by Mariah Muscato (@mariah3421)

“Before the mood boards could be created, before the typography could be explored, before we could have heated discussions over the perfect hue of orange, we needed to get principled. We needed to agree on our core beliefs, the ones we could lean on when decisions were hard. And we needed to uncover which ideals our teams felt the responsibility to uphold. So the design team ran a few ideation exercises to establish the foundation of our new design language. We debated, we stack-ranked, and we landed on five core design principles, ones that have guided us through a million micro- and macro-design decisions since.”

Worth Another Read


Agile UX? Lean UX? Customer Development? A Multiple Discovery Moment

by Josh Seiden (@jseiden)

“The time has arrived that three communities–the business, design, and technology communities–have independently discovered the same thing. That the best way to build new technology products, services, and the businesses that deliver them is to work in small, cross-functional, highly collaborative teams. To use lightweight, informal methods. To use rapid cycles of designing, making, and validating in order to test and learn and improve. To focus on the customer.”

Agile Content Conf 2018 Redux

We think you’ll find these sessions from January’s agile content conf of particular interest:

Check out the full list of videos for more.

Something for You To Watch


The Build Trap

(Melissa Perri, 53 mins)

“Many large companies that have been around for decades, or recent startups that have found some stability, are falling into a dangerous place called "The Build Trap". These continue to develop functionality after feature without stopping to validate what customers really want and need. This is partly due to a poor understanding of product strategy and product management, as well as how to manage teams. Instead of focusing on problems, they look for miracle cures like Agile without understanding the philosophy behind the process.”

All the Things You Need When You Want Great Design

(Jane Austin, 33 mins)

“A look at the processes and structures that support commercially successful product design. Jane will draw on her experiences from across her career, focusing specifically on The Telegraph and MOO. She will present four case studies from The Telegraph, each one emphasizing a particular aspect of design methodology. They will exemplify how her processes evolved to allow her team to ship well designed software at speed, maximising their effectiveness while minimising waste.”

Upcoming Events

User Story Mapping, 19 April, Hamburg

MTP Engage, 20 April, Hamburg

ProductCamp RTP, 21 April, Cary

Industry: The Product Conference, 23-24 April, Dublin (€100 off with code AgileLeanUXVIP)

Sense & Respond, 25 April, Dublin

Craft, 8-11 May, Budapest

Big Apple Scrum Day, 11 May, New York

ACE!, 17-18 May, Kraków

Business of Software Europe, 21-22 May, London

UX Lisbon, 22-25 May, Lisbon

UX London, 23-25 May, London

Advanced Lean Startup, 31 May - 1 June, Milan

Product Camp Poland, 7-9 June, Gdynia

UX Scotland, 13-15 June, Edinburgh (10% off with code Adrian)

Enterprise UX, 13-15 June, San Francisco

Agile Australia, 18-19 June, Melbourne

User Research London, 21-22 June, London

UXPA International Conference, 26-28 June, Rio Mar

The Lead Developer, 27-28 June, London

Mind the Product San Francisco, 16-17 July, San Francisco

Design and Content, 25-27 July, Vancouver

Agile2018, 6-10 August, San Diego

UX Week, 21-24 August, San Francisco

UX Australia, 28-31 August, Melbourne

Refresh 2018, 7 September, Tallinn

Product Innovation Summit, 25-26 September, Boston

EuroIA, 27-29 September, Dublin

Industry, 1-3 October, Ohio

Business of Software USA, 1-3 October, Boston

MWUX, 11-13 October, Chicago

World Usability Congress, 16-18 October, Graz

Mind the Product, 18-19 October, London

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’ll be talking at UX Scotland and Lead Developer London in June. Do come along and say hello.

We’re also running two one-day public workshops on user story mapping at:

Does your organisation have trouble keeping track of the big picture during product development? Have you ever ended up releasing a product that doesn’t actually solve the customer’s problem? Story mapping can help.

(If you want to run this workshop inside your company drop us a line at

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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