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The Agile & Lean UX News #107

Welcome to issue #107 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally. We hope your festive preparations are coming along nicely.

We hope you are counting down the days to Christmas by visiting Lean UXmas where we will be posting one of our most read articles from our newsletter each day. You can follow us at @LeanUXmas too.

This will be our last newsletter for the year so we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. See you in 2019!

Articles of Note


UX Debt: How to Identify, Prioritize, and Resolve

by Anna Kaley

“Agile teams are particularly prone to UX debt as a result of heightened pressure to regularly ship new features and functionality. However, UX debt can accumulate in any project, regardless of the development methodology employed, and too much of it will result in a loss of trust, traffic, and revenue. In this article, we define UX debt and show how it can be identified; we also discuss methods for how to prioritize UX-debt issues and resolve them.”

Cross-disciplinary Insights Teams: Integrating Data Scientists and User Researchers at Spotify

by Sara Belt & Peter Gilks

“We believe that mixed methods yield comprehensive answers: blind spots and caveats in specific approaches can be tackled through mixing methods. Triangulation allows us to have greater confidence and richer insights than is possible to achieve through a single method alone. We aspire to form a comprehensive narrative of what we know about the current and future users of our products rather than methodologically siloed insights.”

When Your Design System Fails

by Marissa Christy (@marissachristy)

“If you think about it, the design system process is a bit of an anomaly in modern product development. A large design effort, culminating in a suggested total overhaul of a site? If I were working on a feature, I would never spend weeks or months designing a perfect system that had all the answers. I would want to start small and learn. Test those ideas with real people, gather feedback and learn from my mistakes. I think the same could be true of designs systems.”

ResearchOps Spotlight: Vidhya Sriram, Customer Experience Strategist

Vidhya Sriram (@vsriram15) interviewed by Sofia Quintero (@Sofiaqt)

“If I go to different meetings, understand the problems, then circle back, I start understanding who is an influencer, who is the decision maker, and who is struggling but doesn’t have a voice. Find a way to connect to that person and see if you can solve their problem, even in the smallest way. And maybe you’ll start building champions at different levels … What you're doing is truly trying to understand if there's a problem from their perspective to see if you can add value. If we just bring it down to that one first principle, I am certain that we can add value, get buy-in and be a powerful change agent in our own way.”

Two Exercises for Improving Design Research Through Reflective Practice

by Andrew Maier (@andrewmaier)

“A few months ago, I watched a video of someone moderating a usability test in a way that I considered to be non-ideal. While my initial inclination was to give this person direct feedback, I eventually decided against it … Instead, I started to wonder how I might normalize an environment in which a researcher might expect to receive constructive criticism. I decided to run a “moderated research critique” and submit my own work for review.”

Worth Another Read


Sketchboards: Discover Better + Faster UX Solutions

by Brandon Schauer (@brandonschauer)

“From a solution point-of-view, the team’s walkthrough of the sketchboard brings us to place where we’ve got a pretty tight idea of what solutions we need to take forward into a detailed design. A well-reviewed sketchboard is a visual specification of the solution, with certain elements of specific sketches highlighted and circled, lots of notes, and several new sketches conveying the important details we’d made decisions about. Only at this point do we feel we’ve explored enough ideas, confronted the right problems, and received enough team input and perspectives to move forward into the detailed structure of a wireframe.”

UX Brighton Conference Redux

The UX Brighton Conference had Advancing Research as its theme this year. We think you will find these talks of especial interest:

If you like these you might like to check out the other sessions.

Upcoming Events

Kicking Off - Using Example Mapping for Better User Stories, 8 January, Southampton

Build, Measure, Learn, For Real, 15 January, London

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results, 23 January, Mountain View

MTP Engage, 7-8 February, Manchester

Smart Scrum Product Ownership, 7-8 February, London

ProductCon London, 27 February, London

Agile-Lean Ireland, 25-26 April, Dublin

Agile Manchester, 8-10 May, Manchester

MTP Engage, 22-24 May, Hamburg

ACE!, 23-24 May, Kraków

Enterprise UX, 3-5 June, San Francisco

Well — that’s it for this year! Thank you all for reading along. Remember to follow along with at @LeanUXmas. If you enjoy the newsletter you can always send us a present by recommending it to somebody else who would enjoy the content!

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

See you in 2019!

Until next time. Be excellent to each other.

Kathryn (too busy for twitter) & Adrian (@adrianh)

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