How to Integrate a UX Agency into Agile Software Development

“We’re building an airplane while it’s flying.” If you’ve ever worked on a software project, you’ve probably heard that before. Businesses need to to adapt to the market quickly, and can’t sacrifice product enhancements for processes with long lead times.

So what’s a product manager to do? We recommend the following 3-pronged approach that addresses the product’s big picture, the upcoming sprint (development work), and the current sprint.


Plan for Growth

To design a product for success, we need to know what its future holds, and a Product Roadmap is just the crystal ball we’re looking for.

The Product Roadmap will help us propose a design that can scale in the direction you’re leaning. It affords us the opportunity to plan and research, while we’re working on any active or future sprints.

  • Based on the roadmap, we can add value in the following ways
  • Map out the information architecture for the product, identifying where future features will fit in.
  • Provide concept sketches for future features and conduct user research using these sketches
  • Conduct usability tests to get a baseline of the issues with the current product


Design for the Next 2 Sprints

When working in an Agile process, it’s tempting to get as much of the UX work done as early as possible. While this sounds good on paper, it doesn’t work so well in the real world. Locking down the design too early will limit our ability to respond to late-breaking requirements and new user insights.

It’s best to have our team work on designing the user stories for the next couple of sprints. During this time, we can do the following

  • Tap into your customer feedback and explore solutions to their pain points
  • Work through user workflows and provide wireframes and/or visual design
  • Present our approach to your team, gather feedback, and iterate


Immerse the Agency in the Current Sprint

Typically by the time the development team starts work on the first sprint, they will have our UX designers’ wireframes or visual design with annotations to reference.

However, design is not set in stone.

Developers should have an open line of communication with the UX agency to allow for further collaboration. We can provide quick adjustments to some of our artifacts or simply provide guidance.

The UX agency (typically a producer) should participate in all sprint planning and review meetings. We’re part of your team, and only a GoToMeeting or Google Hangout away!

UX agencies can work with Agile software development to create successful, engaging, and user-friendly products. The trick is to embed the UX agency with your team!

Want to find out more? Contact us.