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The Agile & Lean UX News #101

Welcome to issue #101 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally. As the autumn approaches and the weather cools down, we hope we have something that will interest you today

First, congratulations to Eleonora, Will, Margarida, Tatiana, and Tom for being the winners of our 100th issue book draw. The books you picked are heading your way and we hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Now — on to this issue’s articles.

Articles of Note


Experiments in Tweaking Agile for UX

by Meghan Lazier (@meglaz) & Jessica Skretch (@jskretch)

“Instead of estimating, our team created goals for each sprint, and we relied more heavily on achieving an overall goal, whether for the team or an individual owning a goal or a particular subset of a goal. Our sprint goals helped keep things in check. Our goals helped us ensure our expectations for the sprint were reasonable and achievable and that our tasks supported the goals we wanted to achieve. We found that creating goals for the sprint kept our team motivated, while also reducing the tendency to slip back into a waterfall approach.”

How Squarespace Plans User Research for Deep Engineering Involvement

by Eli Goldberg

“The results “stuck” with the team much more than having an engineer or two observe a traditional user study. It gave them a bonding experience. Because leading research was so far out of our engineers’ actual work responsibilities, it made the learnings all the more memorable and sticky. It’s something the team talked about for months afterwards.”

How To Run a Regular Design Team Meeting

by Sophie Dennis (@sophiedennis)

“Having a time to get feedback from your peers is really important when designers are spread across multiple teams in an organisation. They spend most of their time getting critique and feedback from non-designers, rather than the informed peers who can really help them grow. Your regular time together is a precious opportunity for you all to develop your design practice. Don’t squander it. So whatever format you use for your design team meetings, if you do nothing else, make sure you build time for reflective practice into your time together.”

6 Guiding Principles for Effective Product Discovery

by Teresa Torres (@ttorres)

“Obsessively learn about your target customer’s needs and challenges. Do the work to understand their context. What’s their typical day like? What do they struggle with? What do they love doing? What would they rather not do? Talk to them every week about their life, not just about your product. Do this week over week and you’ll understand your target user or customer better than anyone else.”

What Do You Think About Research Data ‘Freshness’ in the Context of a Research Repo?

by Kate Towsey (@katetowsey)

“I asked the question and got a great conversation back … I’m working on developing a research repository for my work place so I’m pondering all the things about making research data findable and useful. One of the things I’m pondering is data ‘freshness’ — apart from data security/hygiene, how long is it useful to keep research data around? And of course, which type of data is useful to keep and which isn’t? I’m also thinking about good research versus not-good research.”

Worth Another Read


Agile UX and The One Change That Changes Everything

by Anders Ramsey (@andersramsay)

“The first and probably most fundamental change to flow out of starting to build earlier is that of chopping your up-front design phase down to a fraction of what it might be in a traditional model to allow for establishing a foundation of working software, and then evolving the rest of the product on top of that foundation. In other words, we go from Big Design Up Front to Just Enough Design Up Front. So how do we do that? There are two key changes to focus on here: Rapid and Rich Communication, and Just-In-Time Detail.”

Design Research 2018 Redux

This March’s Design Research 2018 conference had some excellent sessions. We think you’ll find these of especial interest:

If you found these interesting do check out the rest of the programme.

Something for You To Watch


Quantifying Qualitative Research

(Leisa Reichelt, 27 mins)

“While we should be out there doing research, we’re letting bad research pass for evidence, and we make decisions on data we shouldn’t be using for this purpose. We mess up research by trying to quantify things and make them seem more scientific than they really are. Looking at only parts of a picture can give a warped perspective, and we can see things that appear meaningful but which aren’t. We have to make sure we are getting a big enough picture in research to make a good decision.”

Mastering the Problem Space for Product/Market Fit

(Dan Olsen, 32 mins)

“In order to find product/market fit you shouldn’t try to compete on must-have features, just make sure you have them and do them well enough. Where you need to spend time and effort is on your product’s unique differentiators, and the combination of a benefit that outperforms the competition and a unique delighter can be incredibly powerful.”

Roadmaps are Dead! Long Live Roadmaps!

(C. Todd Lombardo, 28 mins)

“A roadmap isn’t necessarily supposed to be features and dates. Sure the features might be part of it to some degree but I actually want to maybe change your mind in how you think about that. A roadmap is much more about strategy. It’s communicating a strategy … a product strategy on where you go … It’s a statement of intent and direction.”

Upcoming Events

Unite Content Skills and Agile Methods to Improve People’s Lives, 11 September, London

Criticality v. Scope: How to Prioritize Product Decisions, 12 September, New York

Responsive Conference 2018, 24-25 September, New York

Product Innovation Summit, 27-28 September, Boston

EuroIA, 27-29 September, Dublin

Industry, 1-3 October, Ohio

Business of Software USA, 1-3 October, Boston

Global Scrum Gathering, 8-10 October, London

The Advanced Lean Startup Workshop, 11-12 October, Paris

MWUX, 11-13 October, Chicago

Agilia Budapest, 15-17 October, Budapest

World Usability Congress, 17-18 October, Graz

Leading the Product, 18 October, Melbourne

Mind the Product, 18-19 October, London

Leading the Product, 23 October, Sydney

How to Achieve Product-Market Fit, 24 October, San Francisco

Agile in the City: Bristol, 7-9 November, Bristol (10% off with code Adrian)

DesignOps Summit, 7-9 November, New York

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’re running one more public workshop on user story mapping in October as part of Mind the Product London. See our workshops page for more details (if you want to run this workshop inside your company drop us a line at

If you want to meet us in person we’ll be presenting at the Scrum Gathering London in October, and Agile in the City: Bristol in November. Do come along and say hello (you can get 10% of Agile in the City: Bristol tickets with the code “Adrian”.)

If you can’t get the support & advice you need within your org our team coaching and our 1-on-1 remote personal coaching sessions can help.

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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