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The Agile & Lean UX News #133

Welcome to issue #133 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

Adrian has been helping people hiring for product, research, and development roles recently. Which has led to two short posts on Pointless Job Requirements and Dumb Hiring Shibboleths that you may find of interest.

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 Adrian, feel free to book a slot.

Articles of Note


Biases in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

by David Bland (@davidjbland)

“Biases aren’t necessarily bad. They’ve helped us survive as a species, but they aren’t always beneficial when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship. Biases can unsuspectingly seep into our processes and lead us down a path of wasted time, effort and money. There are several types of biases, but I repeatedly observe the same three major biases time and time again when working with anyone trying to create something new.”

How to Run a Design Sprint Remotely

by Rachel Hand (@justHand)

“Plenty has already been written about the difficulty of facilitating sessions when you can’t read the room. I learned to avoid ‘open discussion’ style sessions, in favour of more structure. I asked participants to take turns to share by reading out the notes they were adding to the whiteboard. I also felt that despite getting loads of valuable insights from the research, the team lacked that amazing buzz we usually have when we’ve just observed research in person, and we can’t stop talking about it. Maybe allowing time for team reflection after each interview could go some way to replicating that feeling.”

Creating a UX Research System: Making your work understood as a researcher

by Aravind Ravi (@_aravindravi)

“A well-told story can be enough to convince even the most obstinate of stakeholders to take action, but arranging the plot points in a convincing way is a challenge when there’s so much data to make sense of. We took the “seeing is believing” philosophy, where insights from User Research were presented as bite-sized, tangible, and accessible nuggets of information that the stakeholders could understand. These nuggets served as research vignettes — evocative accounts of user pain points and desires.”

Service Blueprinting: A Digital Template for Remote Teams

by Sarah Gibbons (@segibb)

“A service blueprint is a diagram that visualizes the relationships between different service components — people, props (physical or digital evidence), and processes — that are directly tied to touchpoints in a specific customer journey. Service blueprints often act as the next step after customer-journey maps. Whether you are making a service blueprint on your own, digitizing a physical service blueprint for the first time, or conducting a remote blueprinting workshop, this spreadsheet can act as a starting place.”

Exploration Over Pre-Discovery

by Scott Colfer (@scottcolfer)

“In 2019 I worked with colleagues across MOJ Digital and Technology to figure out if we needed something before discovery. If so, what did it look like, what should we call it, and what does success look like? We did need something and we decided that it should be called ‘exploration’, not ‘pre-discovery’. We designed our approach based on several experiences of ‘pre-discovery’ and have now tested it with two explorations. Here’s what it looks like today.”

Worth Another Read


How To Build An Agile UX Team: The Culture

by Jeff Gothelf (@jboogie)

“This is the first in a three-part series on how to build and grow successful user experience teams in agile environments. It covers challenges related to organization, hiring and integration that plague UX teams in these situations. … Building any kind of agile team is a lengthy and challenging process. Building a user experience team within an agile organization challenges not only traditional design practices but typical design team dynamics. In this first part, we’ll look at the type of culture that would support a strong UX component in the agile process and how to structure the organization so that designers are most effective and are able to thrive.”

Something for You To Watch


The Dreaded ‘R’s: Refactor, Rewrite, Rebuild

(Sally Brogan, 17 mins)

“Don’t be afraid of the three Rs: Refactor, Rewrite, Rebuild … Here, with a 5-step guide, Sally takes us through some actions to remove the dread from these words, sprinkled with illustrations from her own experiences of house building and home improvements. The example is of an entire system, but the advice applies equally to individual features.”

When A/B Tests Aren’t Enough

(Scott Castle, 17 mins)

“A/B testing is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only tool available to product people who want to build up a data-driven understanding of their customers’ usage of their product. And it’s certainly not even the most appropriate tool in a complex B2B environment. With the aid of relatively straightforward SQL queries and good data visualisation, it’s possible to start building up a much more sophisticated understanding of your customers, and of your product’s performance in both long and short timeframes.”

Qualitative Intelligence

(Mitchell Gillespie, 36 mins)

“As product managers are constantly striving to understand why their customers and stakeholders behave in certain ways, they are often in dire need of high-impact qualitative understanding. Doing this isn’t just about doing the occasional bit of research, but potentially also about instigating change in an organization, both for our benefit, and the benefit of the people we collaborate with. Working like this is one of the best ways to invoke your powers of influence as a product manager.”

Interaction Design Day 2019 Redux

The IXDA’s Interaction Design Day had some great sessions. We think you will find these of especial interest:

The other talks are well worth a look too.

Upcoming Events

User Research at Work - Exploring Challenges for B2B Research, 12 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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