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The Agile & Lean UX News #132

Welcome to issue #132 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

Over the last couple of week’s Adrian has written about A Spotter's Guide To Good Retrospectives and the Vitamins & Painkillers metaphor for product/market fit. He has some slots on his calendar for free 30 mins chat. If you would like to talk over any work problems, or just fancy having a virtual coffee break with him, feel free to book a slot.

Articles of Note


50 Short Product Lessons

by John Cutler (@johncutlefish)

“The challenge is that organizations often struggle to define who owns problems and who owns solutions. The debate will never be resolved completely because at its heart, it’s a debate over how things are decomposed. It’s a debate over who decides how those things are all linked together. One test I use to tease out a problem’s full connection to what’s going on within the company is to imagine some really smart person in the back of the room continually asking, ‘Why,’ or ‘What are we hoping to achieve with this?’”

Applying In-Depth Research and Analysis to Achieve Better Outcomes

by Isabelle Peyrichoux

“Over the past 20 years, two of the domains to which I have applied my research and analysis skills are UX research and career exploration … In both of these domains, the approach, methods, and tools you choose for research and analysis make a big difference in achieving the desired outcomes. My experience has taught me that in-depth research and analysis provide more optimal outcomes over the long term … In this article, I’ll share six keys to applying in-depth research and analysis to achieve better outcomes in User Experience and career exploration.”

Teaching Design on the Job (With an Eye to Creating Practitioners)

by Ashley Evans

“A design approach to problem-solving for those who’ve never done it before can be an uncomfortable and uncertain process. But it’s one that a team at Camden Council have been embracing as they work through a design challenge to improve resident lives. We’ve been working with staff from Children and Families, Digital, Planning and Environmental Services in the council. All of which have no prior background or knowledge of design practice.”

Put Away Your Fancy Tools: Running Remote Workshops for Humans

by Boris Divjak (@borisdivjak)

“There are many excellent collaborative tools out there. If you and your participants feel comfortable using them, they can offer a great collaborative experience … But I find that it’s often the simplest technological setups that work best. With a bit of imagination, a lot can be achieved even just over a simple video call. And when even that fails — due to a slow internet connection, for example — talking to your participants on the phone is much better than not being able to talk to them at all.”

How Executives Can Support Teams and Change Institutional Ways of Working

by Kate Tarling (@kateldn)

“Executives who bring in agile service design teams don’t always know what’s needed to support these teams to deliver outcomes at scale … In this post I’ll explain tactics for executives to help tackle key problems with organisational structures and practices that get in the way of creating good products and services. Try these and there is more chance you’ll avoid well intentioned but ultimately wasted effort. Here are six things you can work on this week.”

Worth Another Read


Outside In: Breaking Some Anthropology Rules for Design

by Jared Braiterman (@JBraiterman)

“What does it mean to foreground ethnography versus anthropology when we work outside academia? What theories and practices from anthropology — including cultural immersion, de-familiarization, foreign language learning, analyses of symbols and meanings, and historical and cultural views of technology and social change — can be used in commercial consulting, adult education, and public research? How can we be relevant to audiences that are seeking new ways of perceiving the world and relating to others?”

Something for You To Watch


Organizational Alignment Through Vision and Principles

(Elena Luneva, 15 mins)

“Product principles are decisions that need to be made at each stage of a product lifecycle from idea to user conversations through testing, growth, evolution and finally termination. They are aligned around the vision of the company. Adding product principles to documentation and conversations during standups and sprints help to make empowered teams and allow people to move faster throughout the product lifecycle.”

How to Build an Effective UX Research Repository

(Jared Forney interviewed by Sofia Quintero, 50 mins)

“I’ve definitely learned a lot from this process. I think the biggest thing … is taxonomy … I spent a lot of time upfront thinking about taxonomy, researching different ways I could seed it. And just really a lot of pre-work went into that. And I think what I realized after a lot of effort was that I needed to be willing to accept the idea that … it’s not going to be perfect out of the gate. It is very much an iterative process and where, what ultimately was most successful for us was looking back at our past studies and using those as guidance for how we seeded our cortex on these.”

The GIST Framework

(Itamar Gilad, 28 mins)

“Itamar’s framework has four levels of planning: 1. Goals, which tell us what we are trying to achieve 2. Ideas, which are hypothetical ways to achieve the goals 3. Steps, that develop the ideas and test them 4. Tasks, the things that fall out of the steps level to build. For this talk, Itamar focuses on the first three levels – Goals, Ideas and Steps.”

Joint Futures 2019 Redux

There were many excellent sessions at the Joint Futures conference in September last year. We think you will find these of especial interest:

You might like to take a look at the other sessions too.

Upcoming Events

Knowing What You Can't Know: Enhanced Product Discovery, 23 July, Online

Online Passionate Product Leadership, 3 August, Online

Lean Agile Exchange, 10-11 September, Online

Mind The Product London, 1-2 October, London

UX Camp Brighton, 10 October, Brighton

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.

Adrian will be talking about OKRs for Agile Teams That Don’t Suck at the virtual Lean Agile Exchange conference in September — do say hello if you’re attending!

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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