Agile Development that Incorporates User Experience, Part 3

Chapter: Agile in Practice

As I’m reading through the Nielsen Norman Group’s lengthy report Agile Development that Incorporates User Experience, I will be sharing notes & key quotes chapter by chapter. I will not be sharing case study information.

Key Takeaways

  • Incorporating UX into Agile depends so much on the attitude and mindset of the team.
  • You need a person who is motivated to make Agile work in order for it to work — and the UX practitioner is in a unique position to be that person.
  • No one will do “true” Agile. It’ll always be a take on it. And that’s OK.
  • Don’t blame Agile if your project doesn’t work. Look at how you tried to implement it.
  • UX can benefit from following a more traditional approach at the start of a project — but must be able to work with any process the team is following.

Key Quotes

“It takes a strong UX practitioner to stand up to an ill-informed team who think that Agile is about speed rather than about better project control, and who subsequently think that user experience work is a waste of time.”

“The trick as a user experience practitioner is to fit within whatever process the team is following, and to suggest changes which can show demonstrable improvements to the user experience.”

“Often, it seems that management still want the early phases of a project to follow more traditional requirements definition processes. As we will see later this can be a benefit to user experience practitioners because it provides more time to engage in the up-front work which is often harder to perform in a truly Agile environment.”

“By learning how user experience work affects every element of the development process, you can quickly show your value on the team. Once you have shown value, you will be able to solidify your place on the team and then introduce new, even more useful user centered approaches.”

“The demands of providing user data on tighter timelines require some creative application of research techniques.”

“Agile development work really does require a mindset change from everybody who will be involved in the project.”

“It is not important to adopt every element of the Agile methodology. What is important is constant communication for expectation setting.”

“user experience practitioners are in a unique position to span the many disciplines on an Agile team which provides us with a unique opportunity to expand our roles and begin to drive the development process rather than reacting to it.”


  1. Executive Summary
  2. Agile — theory and history
  3. Agile in practice
  4. Challenges for UX practitioners
  5. Integrating UX into Agile teams
  6. Guerilla Usability — Quick & Dirty Techniques
  7. Making it Happen

Be sure to follow me for the following parts to this series.