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The Agile & Lean UX News #96

Welcome to issue #96 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally. We hope we have something to interest you this week.

Articles of Note


Leading Through Experimentation

by David Bland (@davidjbland)

“Teams need to own their experiments. Teams won’t learn if Heroic leaders are always prescribing the experiments. Product, Design and Engineering need to work together to create experiments that address the riskiest assumptions. The teams I advise use a canvas, map out the assumptions from the canvas and create experiments from the assumptions. They own it and they give an account of how they own it.”

How Paper Wireframing Will Make You a Better Designer

by Alexander Skogberg (@Skogberg)

“Since I started drawing paper wireframes and used them when presenting design not even once has anyone asked me the (often judging) question “Is it supposed to look like that?”. Everyone knows it’s work in progress. I’ve also noticed that drawing paper wireframes is great for driving political decision. When a feature goes from words to paper early on, it gets more “real” for a lot of stakeholders. This often acts as a catalyst for decision making.”

Dig in the Right Spot

by Erika Hall (@mulegirl)

“A good research question is specific, actionable, and practical. This means that it is possible to answer using the techniques available to you and that it’s possible to find an answer in which you can have sufficient confidence. (Certainty is impossible, so it’s all degrees of confidence.) If your question is too general or beyond your means to answer, it’s not a good question.”

Mapping Skills and Capabilities With Communities of Practice

by Emily Webber (@ewebber)

“If communities create the maps, then members will keep them up to date and use them to identify personal development needs. They can also help to give a picture of skills and capabilities of the practice as a whole, which is useful for making decisions about development across the practice. Skills and capability mapping at a community level means more accurate skills maps that can be useful for individuals, communities and the wider organisation.”

Choosing Tools for Scaling Design

by Jeremy Keith (@adactio)

“I think it’s important to remember what a tool is: it’s a piece of technology that enables you to work faster or better. You should enjoy using your tools, but you shouldn’t be utterly dependent on any particular one. Otherwise, the tail starts wagging the dog — you are now in service to the tool, instead of the other way around.”

Worth Another Read


Lean UX – Getting Out of the Deliverables Business

by Jeff Gothelf (@jboogie)

“Lean UX is an evolution, not a revolution. UX designers need to evolve and stay relevant as the practice evolves. Lean UX gets designers out of the deliverables business and back into the experience design business. This is where we excel and do our best work. Let’s become experts at delivering great results through these experiences and forgo the hefty spec documents. It won’t be an easy road. Culture and tradition will push back, yet the ultimate return on this investment will be more rewarding work and more successful businesses.”

The UX Conference 2018 Redux

The UX Conference took place in February with some great sessions. We think you will find these of special interest.

Take a look at the YouTube playlist for the other sessions.

Something for You To Watch


MVP and Why We Confuse Building to Learn With Building to Earn

(Jeff Patton, 66mins)

“Minimum viable product is one of the most misunderstood, misused, and abused terms in contemporary software development. In this talk Jeff will explain the misunderstandings made by thought leaders that lead to confusion we all deal with today. You’ll learn the counter-intuitive concepts hidden in the term and why really using them is so hard. You’ll learn about techniques that will ultimately help you find smaller successful releases, test your ideas faster, develop higher quality software more predictably, and release more confidently than ever before. Because hidden in this nasty little term are clues that can help you do all that.”

How to Start From Scratch and Prioritise

(Marcel Britsch, 18 mins)

“Inception processes are dependent on the domain in which you are operating. Whether working on a new product or starting new work on existing products, it is still possible to deliver value in through lean actionable modelling.”

Clumsy Colossus or Gentle Giant

(Julia Whitney, 26 mins)

“Julia talked about how to create an environment in which team members feel safe, including tips such as framing a problem as a learning problem not an execution problem, acknowledging your own fallibility, and modelling curiosity. This means you create an environment where the team can speak openly, report and admit errors, and where they can happily learn from each other.”

Upcoming Events

UX Scotland, 13-15 June, Edinburgh (10% off with code Adrian)

Enterprise UX, 13-15 June, San Francisco

Agile Australia, 18-19 June, Melbourne

Balanced Team Salon, 19 June, New York

How to Achieve Product-Market Fit, 21 June, Palo Alto

RebelCon, 21-22 June, Cork

User Research London, 21-22 June, London

UXPA International Conference, 26-28 June, Rio Mar

The Lead Developer, 27-28 June, London

Agile on the Beach, 12-13 July, Falmouth

UX Bristol, 13 July, Bristol

Mind the Product San Francisco, 16-17 July, San Francisco

Design & Content, 25-27 July, Vancouver

Agile2018, 6-10 August, San Diego

UX Week, 21-24 August, San Francisco

UX Australia, 28-31 August, Melbourne

Refresh 2018, 7 September, Tallinn

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

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

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.

If you want to meet us in person we’ll be talking at UX Scotland this week, Lead Developer London on June 27, UX Bristol on July 13, and Agile in the City: Bristol in November. Do come along and say hello (you can get 10% of UX Scotland & Agile in the City: Bristol tickets with the code “Adrian”.)

We’re also running two one-day public workshops on user story mapping in June and October this year. See our workshops page for more details (if you want to run this workshop inside your company drop us a line at

Finally — we currently have some spare coaching capacity. If you can’t get the support & advice you need within your org our 1-on-1 remote personal coaching sessions can help. Visit our coaching page for details.

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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