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The Agile & Lean UX News #129

Welcome to issue #129 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

If you’re suddenly struggling with running a distributed product team, and think a quick chat might help, Adrian’s opened up some slots on his calendar for free 30m chats. Feel free to book one.

Adrian also did a Mind The Product podcast on Sturgeon’s Biases. He’s been too embarrassed to listen to it to see if it makes sense.

Articles of Note


Supercharge Your Agile UX Research with Informal Cognitive Walkthroughs: Part 1 & Part 2

by Valentina (Grigoreanu) Strachan (@HCIResearch)

“Over the past decade, I’ve bootstrapped over a dozen large enterprise software development teams with this Agile UX research method. For researchers who are embedded in product teams, ICWs offer a way to significantly reduce the considerable time it would take to plan, conduct, and present results of a traditional usability study. All this while still talking to the same number of customers, having confidence in the accuracy of your results, and having more impact than ever with the product team.”

Bring Product Thinking to Non-Product Teams

by Jeff Gothelf (@jboogie)

“Organizational agility is a welcome transformation in every department. By approaching the work you do as a product with specific customers, giving your teams problems to solve and measuring their success with outcomes, rather than outputs, you create a company-wide customer-centric culture and ensure that whether someone is buying a product from you, is employed by you, or contracts with your organization you’re always maximizing both their success and yours.”

My Journey to Find the North Star

by Tyler Joyce (@tyler_joyce6)

“We force rank each opportunity by forecasting which opportunities have the greatest impact on our Inputs, and then which Inputs have the greatest impact on our North Star. This forms a backlog of opportunities—not a roadmap … The opportunity backlog also evolves and shifts. As you learn, you re-prioritize. With this framework we force the backlog of opportunities to be scrutinized against our Inputs, and by definition, our North Star and Product Vision.”

Design Frameworks at Sainsbury’s

by Iain Heath (@iainheath)

“All of our design teams revolve around Lean UX to do what’s right for the teams we work with at the right time. To enable this to happen and where possible we predominately work with longer lived teams to make sure we have a good level of collaboration through the whole team. This means that we’re able to have a good degree of trust to test and learn as quickly as possible and take some bets and assumptions to gather feedback from. This way we’re able to work in rapid, iterative cycles, while balancing and trying to reduce the need for rework or technical debt.”

Prototyping User Experiences: Reducing the Risks of Product Innovation

by Ward Andrews (@wardandrews)

“The need to balance the speed and the risks of product innovation is not new. What is new is how many organizations of all sizes are embracing design thinking and prototyping to reduce the risk of product design. By adopting a design-thinking approach—and fostering a culture that embraces prototyping and rapid iteration—you can improve time to market while reducing the capital and human costs of product development.”

Worth Another Read


Wilder Than Testing in the Wild: Usability Testing by Flash Mob

by Dana Chisnell (@danachis)

“Ever heard of Improv Everywhere? This was the UX equivalent. Researchers just appeared out of the crowd to ask people to try out a couple of designs and then talk about their experiences. Most of the interactions with participants were about 20 minutes long. That’s it. But by the time the sun was over the yardarm … we had data on two designs from 40 participants. The day was amazingly energizing.”

Something for You To Watch


The Lizard Loop – How to Back up Rigour With Intuition

(Roisi Proven, 20m)

“In this #mtpengage Manchester talk, Roisi Proven of Gower Street Analytics talks about the lizard loop, which she describes as “backing rigour with intuition, after you’ve already backed up your intuition with rigour” … System 1 and System 2 thinking originate from the popular book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. System 1 thinking, also known as your lizard brain, is responsible for fast, automatic, frequent, unconscious decisions.”

Scaling User Research

(Jen Cardello, 45m)

“Jen Cardello shares her playbook for scaling User Research across a recently transformed agile enterprise, including over 400 scrum teams. She explores how to listen, diagnose, and put in place key initiatives to navigate and deliver value amidst tremendous change.”

Why Happier Autonomous Teams Use One-Pagers

(John Cutler, 60m)

“A one-pager is a concise, easy-to-read document that outlines a proposed product bet. The one-pager clearly communicates what the product bet is about, what outcomes are expected, and how they will be measured. One-pagers are a “forcing function” because they force product teams to think, assess, and revisit their product bets.”

Joint Futures 2019 Redux

The programme from last year’s Joint Futures conference was exceptional. We think you’ll find these sessions especially interesting:

But the whole programme is well worth your time to check out.

Upcoming Events

Agile Manchester 1 Day Conference, 15 May, Virtual Conference

Product Research Rules, 19 May, Webinar

The What and Why of Continuous Discovery, 19 May, Webinar

Design Politics, 16-18 June, Virtual Conference

UXRConf Anywhere, 25-26 June, Virtual Conference

Agile Manchester, 14-15 September, Manchester

ACE! 16-18 September, Kraków

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.

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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