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Über dieses Buch

This book examines the possibilities of incorporating elements of user-centred design (UCD) such as user experience (UX) and usability with agile software development. It explores the difficulties and problems inherent in integrating these two practices despite their relative similarities, such as their emphasis on stakeholder collaboration.

Developed from a workshop held at NordiCHI in 2014, this edited volume brings together researchers from across the software development, UCD and creative design fields to discuss the current state-of-the-art. Practical case studies of integrating UCD in Agile development across diverse contexts are presented, whilst the different futures for UCD and other design practices in the context of agile software development are identified and explored.

Integrating User Centred Design in Agile Development will be ideal for researchers, designers and academics who are interested in software development, user-centred design, agile methodologies and related areas.



Chapter 1. Integrating User-Centred Design in Agile Development

Integrating user-centered design (UCD) into software development methodologies has always been a challenge. In the first two decades of UCD, structured methodologies provided a process where UCD methods could be clearly integrated, at least in principle, and thus integration challenges were not primarily due to process structures. This changed with the spread of agile software development approaches, which differ substantially from structured development. While there has been progress in combining UCD and agile approaches, many problems remain. In response to this, at NordiCHI 2014, a workshop on Integrating User Centred Design in Agile Development brought together researchers and practitioners at the leading edge of combining these two potentially complementary approaches to software development. The chapters in this book update and extend the position papers that were presented and discussed at the workshop. Six authors developed their position papers into chapters for this book. Five additional chapters introduce the book, report on the initial workshop, and provide three additional studies. The case studies in this book cover a very wide range of organizational sizes (from 8 to 135,000) in over 15 countries, operating in consumer, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), large Business to Business (B2B), public sector and non-profit markets across a range of around 20 application domains. Some chapters synthesise several studies that were conducted over a number of years. This introduction presents the context for the workshop, identifies common themes with regard to cultures, teams and tasks in agile UCD development, and discusses future trends and a research agenda for adapting UCD to agile development contexts.
Gilbert Cockton, Marta Lárusdóttir, Peggy Gregory, Åsa Cajander

Case Studies


Chapter 2. User Integration in Agile Software Development Processes: Practices and Challenges in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

HCI and CSCW research as well as practice has strongly indicated the value of integrating (end) users in software development processes. Such integration can help address actual needs and wants, to avoid undesirable developments and to strengthen the User Experience of a product. A user-focused approach to software development has some conceptual overlap with agile software development practices, such as quick and iterative (user) testing. However, out in the wild, organisations seem to have difficulties actually mapping user-centered development with agile processes for a variety of reasons ranging from organisational or hierarchical aspects up to financial issues. This problem seems specially prevalent in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) where such constraints can be even tighter than in larger organisations. To help understand those problems and to identify possible solutions, we turned to three quite different German software SMEs, varying in size, market focus and organisational structure. By way of qualitative field studies, we were able to identify key roles and tools as well as methodological, organisational and analytical practices and challenges in integrating (end) users into agile software development.
Oliver Stickel, Corinna Ogonowski, Timo Jakobi, Gunnar Stevens, Volkmar Pipek, Volker Wulf

Chapter 3. Templates: A Key to Success When Training Developers to Perform UX Tasks

Working with usability and UX design in an agile development context such as Scrum has been found challenging. Not all companies have the need or resources for a team of dedicated UX specialists. In other cases the UX team is perceived as a bottleneck. We therefore set out to investigate; how companies can perform UX tasks, when no or little UX expertise exists in the organization; if it is possible to perform this work in line with the Scrum sprints and how such work should be facilitated. To do this and since the Scrum framework states that every team member should be able to perform every work task, we trained software developers in three different companies to perform certain selected UX methods. The training was done as 1-day training sessions. The developers were provided with materials describing UX methods modified to be used in an agile, industrial environment. These consisted of guidelines, templates and cheat sheets. These materials were refined throughout the training sessions based on observations and feedback from the developers. We found that especially the templates were highly valued by the developers. The templates provided a quick overview of the method, guided them in the work and gave them security and confidence in conducting this type of work independently of the researchers. The templates described in the paper have been made publicly available and may be used freely.
Tina Øvad, Lars Bo Larsen

Chapter 4. Integrating Scrum and UCD: Insights from Two Case Studies

This paper presents two case studies that suggest how to adapt Scrum for user-centered design (UCD) focused industrial projects and how to work with UCD in Scrum software development teams. The objective of the paper is to share insights gained from running such combined projects in industry in order to help others avoid some of the pitfalls associated with this way of working. There has been much published in this area within the research community. However, our work presents both perspectives: adapting a UCD way of working towards a Scrum way of working; and adapting Scrum for running projects from a UCD perspective. We explore the impact Scrum had on team members’ work-practices during a project life-cycle and what lessons were learned from our experiences.
Alvaro Aranda Muñoz, Karin Nilsson Helander, Thijmen de Gooijer, Maria Ralph

Chapter 5. Integration of Human-Centred Design and Agile Software Development Practices: Experience Report from a SME

The integration of Human-Centred Design (HCD) and Agile software development approaches is gaining momentum in both the Human-Computer Interaction and Software Engineering communities. The common principles shared by the two approaches, i.e., iterative design, user involvement, continuous testing and prototyping, should facilitate their integration which, however, is not without problems. In this chapter we report a study conducted in a Small-Medium sized Enterprise (SME) that adopts a Scrum-based methodology. After identifying the integration points between HCD and Agile development activities, a tailored HCD-Scrum methodology has been applied to the development of a web application aimed at retrieving and comparing data related to public institutions.
Carmelo Ardito, Maria Teresa Baldassarre, Danilo Caivano, Rosa Lanzilotti

Chapter 6. Communication Breakdowns in the Integration of User-Centred Design and Agile Development

Despite several calls for a more systematic integration of User-Centred Design and Agile development methodologies, no satisfactory agreement has been found yet. We articulate three breakdowns that may occur when integrating these two software engineering approaches, namely a variable interpretation of user involvement, a mismatch in the value of documentation, and a misalignment in iterations. These themes emerged from theoretical grounding as part of action research in a case study where UCD and Agile were integrated to develop mobile applications for a user community. We discuss attempted strategies for improving community involvement alongside the evolution of the project team, composed of developers, designers, users, and customers. We finally suggest ways to promote a receptive organisational culture for the integration of UCD and Agile, drawing inspiration from participatory design and design thinking, retaining the richness of community voice, and effectively timing the combination of the two methodologies.
Silvia Bordin, Antonella De Angeli

Chapter 7. Towards Understanding How Agile Teams Predict User Experience

In this chapter, we compare UX assessments of users and agile team members to learn to what extent developers can predict how users experience (UX) the product the developers are working on, and where user involvement is truly required. We compared UX assessments of agile team members (N = 26) and users (N = 29) of six enterprise applications with statistical tests. Moreover, we analyzed the data with principal component analysis to reveal the main dimensions of UX for enterprise software. Our results confirm prior research findings that agile team members can put themselves in the users’ position when evaluating instrumental aspects of UX of the software they are working on. However, it seems that developers cannot evaluate non-instrumental quality. Therefore, direct user involvement from participation to evaluation or other means to support user empathy in development process is needed. We recommend additional means, such as personas to help agile team members empathize with the users and their needs for non-instrumental qualities of the enterprise software.
Kati Kuusinen, Heli Väätäjä, Tommi Mikkonen, Kaisa Väänänen

Future Directions


Chapter 8. Workshop on the Integration of User-Centred Design and Agile Development: Approach, Findings and Themes

This chapter reports on a workshop held at NordiCHI 2014 on the integration of user-centred design (UCD) and Agile Software Development (Agile). The workshop brought together academic researchers and industrial practitioners to discuss challenges, success stories and future trends when working with UCD and Agile. Eight papers were accepted, of which seven reported the results of empirical studies and one presented a theoretical comparison. The workshop day was inspired by Agile methods. It was time-boxed, incremental, interactive, collaborative, used a visual workspace and a team-based approach. Post-it notes capturing features from paper presentations and discussions were written and displayed on the walls throughout the day. These were divided into two groups, one for ‘interesting points’ and the other for ‘challenges and obstacles’. At the end of the day the two groups of post-it notes were themed using an affinity diagram approach. Eight higher-level themes were identified by the authors during a post-workshop analysis. These were: People and roles, Teams and communication, Culture, Methods and practices, Time and synchronisation, Artefacts and tools, Research and problems, and Miscellaneous. Six themes were applicable to both affinity diagrams, the ‘Culture’ theme was only found in the ‘challenges and obstacles’ set and the ‘Research and problems’ theme was only found in the ‘interesting points’ set. Key elements of the themes were about practices, people, culture and time. The workshop illustrates the importance of industry-based empirical research to investigate challenges and innovate solutions for the ever-changing landscape of software development.
Peggy Gregory, Marta Lárusdóttir, Åsa Cajander, Gilbert Cockton

Chapter 9. BoB: A Framework for Organizing Within-Iteration UX Work in Agile Development

Most research on Agile UCD recommends scheduling of UX work one iteration ahead of development. There is, however, some evidence arguing for an approach where software developers and UX specialists work in cross-functional teams conducting design and implementation tasks during the present iteration. This within-iteration approach can, for instance, improve communication between UX designers and software developers and thus help the team to better concentrate on value-adding work. This chapter discusses problems related to the iteration-ahead approach and introduces a framework called BoB (Best of Both Worlds) that utilizes the within-iteration approach to integrate UX work in agile development. Furthermore, we present guidelines related to factors that support the within-iteration approach and the cross-functional team.
Kati Kuusinen

Chapter 10. Challenges from Integrating Usability Activities in Scrum: Why Is Scrum so Fashionable?

Scrum is currently a widely used process in most areas of software development. Conversely, usability activities as prescribed in the area of HCI are not widely used in the software industry, especially not in agile software development projects. Through an analysis of interview and survey data from five studies we scrutinize the reasons for choosing Scrum, consequences of using Scrum, and study the challenges of integrating usability activities in Scrum projects are scrutinized. Our results show that the IT professionals appreciate the inherent values in Scrum, which are speed and communication internal to the Scrum team. Also, working in teams and focusing on a small number of tasks at a time is valued. The main challenges are that including specialists in the teams is hard and Scrum does not always match with external requirements for the organizations. Usability activities in Scrum are found to be informal and implicit, even sometimes hidden behind more fashionable concepts such as security and accessibility to increase priority. In addition, usability activities are often seen as not fitting in the pace of the project. Two of the underlying questions in the paper are: Why is Scrum so fashionable? How can usability activities be better integrated in agile projects? Answers to these questions are discussed in the chapter.
Marta Lárusdóttir, Åsa Cajander, Gudbjörg Erlingsdottir, Thomas Lind, Jan Gulliksen

Chapter 11. Integrating Both User-Centered Design and Creative Practices into Agile Development

Tensions between software development methodologies and user-centered design (UCD) have always existed, but waterfall methodologies do provide a process context within which UCD methods can be clearly integrated whenever this is required. Popular agile methodologies such as Scrum create different challenges to integrating UCD. However, fitting UCD into agile methodologies will not necessarily result in high software quality. The combined approaches can still have significant design gaps that must be addressed by additional creative design practices. This chapter relates selected historical methodological trends to tensions between software and creative design. To resolve these tensions, innovative software development needs to draw on creative design practices in addition to UCD and agile methods. Specifically, innovative software development needs to draw on three key insights from design research: creative design work co-evolves problem and solution spaces; design materials talk back; and, the best design work is generous in scope and intent. These three insights are used firstly to structure a critique of the Agile Manifesto and secondly to provide the basis for proposing a balanced approach to software development that can appropriately integrate engineering, user-centered and creative design practices.
Gilbert Cockton
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