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The Agile & Lean UX News #120

Welcome to issue #120 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

Adrian’s been trying to do more writing in public — so you can check out Maslow's Hierarchy of Nicolas Cage and The Four Categories Of A**hole on his new blog.

Or you can read the more interesting articles by clever people below!

Articles of Note


Working Fast and Slow

by John Cutler (@johncutlefish)

“I was chatting with a team recently and an engineer said something that really made me happy: "We know something is working when we spend longer on it, instead of shorter." Her team was delivering into production daily/weekly. They could have easily bragged about how “quickly” they “move things to done”. But she didn’t. Instead, the engineer pointed out that when they’re in the groove, learning quickly, and having an impact, they tend to keep working instead of just jumping to the next thing.”

Agile User Research? That’s Umpossible

by Sarah Christopher

“As researchers, we can get stuck in our ways on how to tackle a project. Some of us also have opinions and ideas on how a method should be carried out — remote vs. in-house; moderated vs. unmoderated. This is all ok, but when you have to do a bunch of interviews within a sprint it is not ideal to get too picky. So, be open and resourceful to using a wide range of methods and tools to gather as much data as possible within a short amount of time.”

How to Master Innovation (Without The) Labs

by Andy Wicks

“Decentralising innovation makes the process collaborative and far more likely to succeed. Labs can’t innovate effectively within a silo. Innovating in the open drives collaboration throughout the business. Embed small teams of two or three people throughout the organisation whose sole job is to focus on experimentation to validate new ideas. Small teams with access to subject-matter experts will help to keep the team focused and nimble. As they work closely with the business, ideas are likely to be grounded in reality and far more likely to succeed.”

Conferences as a UX Research Constraint

by Becky White (@beckywhite11)

“Every year, Atlassian hosts our customer conference, Summit … From a research point-of-view, Summit presents a unique opportunity to learn from an engaged subset of our customers. But while these customers are extremely passionate, they may only be able to spare 15–20 minutes of their time. Given these constraints, how can we best engage with them?”

Stop Designing Products for Random People

By Prachi Nain (@prachinain)

“What truly helps in making informed product decisions is a demanding set of customers called the high-expectation customer, HXC for short. The High-Expectation Customer (HXC) is a 3-in-1 customer who is a benefiter (Someone who is going to benefit the most from your product), a hacker (Someone who is using multiple hacks to solve the problem), and an expert (People aspire to emulate her). Let’s unpack our 3-in-1 HXC and identify each of these traits.”

Worth Another Read


Super-Sizing the Design Studio

by Craig Villamor

“The design studio had been such a success at the individual team level, we thought maybe we could scale it up to accommodate an organization. We would involve our entire products and technology team of several hundred people rather than the typical 6-10 participants. We also wanted to tweak the structure a bit to focus on surfacing innovative ideas that we knew were already out there.”

Something for You To Watch


Lean, Agile, & Design Thinking

(Jeff Gothelf, 40mins)

“There are so many frameworks and tools to choose from, so how do you make them work in the real world? Jeff takes us through the basics of the three main frameworks — Agile, Lean, and Design Thinking — and then gives us a set of principles that can help us effectively meld them together.”

Transform Me, but Please Don’t Change Anything

(Gabrielle Bufrem, 25 mins)

“If you don’t embrace your digital channels, you will fall behind. How does digital transformation play out for corporations with deep-rooted histories of doing business in other ways? Firstly, to transform, truly, takes time … It requires time, understanding, and a willingness to change, driven by an understanding of what you could become, or what you could achieve after you have invested in this process. Gabrielle has a list of things you can do to start establishing real change.”

They’re Just Fancy Averages

(Ben Fields, 17 mins)

“In this ProductTank London talk, Ben Fields, formerly Lead Data Scientist at FutureLearn, looks at getting the most from the relationship between product managers and data people, working out people’s background understanding, the benefits of leading with a story, and how best to spread knowledge.”

DesignOps Global Conference Redux

We think you’ll find these sessions from DesignOps Global Conference 2019 of interest:

Do check out the other sessions.

Upcoming Events

UX Australia, 27-30 August, Sydney

Continuous Discovery Habits, 12-13 September, New York

re:develop, 20 September, Bournemouth

Industry: The Product Conference, 23-25 September, Cleveland

EuroIA, 26-28 September, Riga

UXDX, 7-8 October, Dublin

Mind the Product, 17-18 October, London

DesignOps Summit, 23-25 October, New York

Want to say hello in person? We’ll be attending the always entertaining re:develop in September, and running our popular one day User Story Mapping workshop at Mind the Product London in October (only a few tickets left!.)

If you’d like us to run one of our workshops or talks at your company get in touch.

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.

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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