Agile Development that Incorporates User Experience, Part 4

Chapter: Challenges for UX Practitioners

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

  • The Agile process poses challenges for UX designers unless the right mindset (flexible, not dogmatic) is obtained.
  • Remember the “Customer” isn’t always the “User”
  • Use various UX research tools to keep up with the sprints.
  • Use time wisely. There’s not a lot of it. It moves quickly.
  • It’s up to the UX designer to show their own worth. Be diligent, work hard, keep up & prove your worth.

Key Quotes

“It’s often better to use real code as a demonstration of the system’s capacities and then make changes based on users’ feedback to this early development work.”

“The trick is to ensure that any small amount of up-front time that you have is used wisely.”

“Agile focuses on the customer, but the customer often isn’t the user.”

“User needs must be communicated to the development team in quick stand-up scrum meetings. There is little space for complex user requirements definition documents or piles of use cases.”

“Creating thumbnail or assumption personas with the team’s input can be a great way of reaching a common understanding on the team about the needs and abilities of the target user group.”

“Sometimes a team needs to fail slightly in order to realize they have a need for more or different data.”

“Traditional tests, with one-way mirrors, video cameras recording every move, and complex task/metric matrices are unlikely to work well during an Agile development.”

“Embrace the opportunity to expand your testing repertoire.”

“The blessing of being able to integrate UX deeper into the workings of the team is also a curse if there aren’t the resources to deal with it.”

“You have to overcome the idea that there are certain roles for certain people on a project team. In Waterfall, there is a wall between the developer and UX communities. Agile has to bridge those two communities.” — Kristen Johansen (UX / Citrix)


  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.