Agile methodology is a movement that proposes an effective and efficient work format for software development, ensuring progressive learning and continuous improvement of processes and people.
It is important to remember that agility in this context does not mean simply speed, it presupposes getting to the right place (hitting the target) within the shortest possible time.
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Scrum is an agile methodology for software development that uses the values and principles of the agile manifesto to create your work dynamics.
It is one of the most widespread methodologies and widely used to exemplify the concepts of this methodology.
In summary, Scrum follows a flow that starts from a Product Backlog (basically a list of things to develop) removing from that list the items that will be developed in pre-defined cycles.
These predefined cycles are called Sprint and usually last 2-4 weeks.
Within this period, the team meets daily to tell how the development is going and adjust any problems that are happening.
At the end of the Sprint time, the team delivers the items and can get new ones from the Product Backlog.
Design and the Scrum process
Since a sprint will focus on the creation and implementation of a product, which requires extensive coding, you might be wondering how can design and development work hand in hand using Scrum? Wouldn’t they need to have all the UI assets and information before they can code?
The Product Owner will have created user stories for the developers on the team. If one of those user stories is ‘create login page’ then the developers will need to have all the requirements and assets like prototypes needed for those particular user stories.
To get around it, UI and UX design should work ahead of any sprint cycle. Before a developer begins to work on a user story, that user story has to be designed, tested, and researched weeks if not months in advance.
If the developer doesn’t have all of this information at their disposal, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to complete the work in a 2 week or 4 week sprint.
The sprint relies on these elements being done in advance and as a result they can’t be done concurrently with development.
The designer’s profile and his role in the team
The UX Designer can transit and collaborate in several product teams. With a wider profile, it is possible to act from the realization of research with users and validation of hypotheses, through the architecture and design of interfaces, to development.
In this last step, even not writing the code, this professional uses the notions of logic and programming language to propose technically viable solutions that can be practiced within the stipulated deadlines.
To showcase the importance of this role in the agile team, there are some perceptions of some collaborators:
- For Developers, Designers bring the needs of real users from discovery and prototyping techniques, allowing more complete solutions to be developed. In addition, they help to understand the details of what is being developed, facilitate the understanding of business flows and contribute to technical decision-making related to the front-end and back-end, because through the design system it is possible to have the vision required to ensure consistency across product lifecycles.
- For Product Owners (when we use the Scrum framework) and Product Managers, Designers are seen as their peers in their day-to-day work and can detail the user experience through a systemic view, balancing actions focused on simplifying and streamlining ideas that the PO or PM may have to ensure that deadlines are met. Designers help to think not only about what the client asks to be done, but what the people who will use the solution need, increasing the chances of the product’s success and saving the efforts of the team as a whole.
- For Test and Quality Analysts, also known as QAs, working together with Designers contributes to the identification of usage scenarios, invalidating what was built, in addition to the perception of possible points for improvement.
Shared responsibility and a common mindset
Here at Soft, customers are usually greeted with the following question: what problem are we trying to solve?
This question will be answered from the journey of discoveries, which arise when we combine technology, design, and business. For this reason, it is important to unite professionals with different backgrounds and experiences, enabling effective and complete solutions to be created.
Therefore, the responsibility to promote a good experience is not tied to just one person, since the creative process for solving problems – also known as Design Thinking – must be practiced by all team members, including clients.
Therefore, it is up to the designer’s role to collaborate with in-depth knowledge and application of the different disciplines that include UX in the team’s routine.
How UX Designers Work
It is through the harmony between form, function, and context that UX Designers act: investigating, validating hypotheses, identifying scenarios, mapping journeys, and materializing possible interactions through the interface.
It is only through the connection of all these elements that we can truly place the human being at the center of everything and, finally, offer a good user experience.
To generate value, designers participate in activities both in the strategic, tactical, and operational spheres, identifying opportunities and promoting improvements and good experience practices.
If the entire team is engaged and developing solutions with this “designer thinking” and focusing on the people who will use the product, it is possible to cross the fine line between “just” developing a project and building a product or service digital with quality.
Where Design Fits in Agile Scrum Methodology
At the beginning of the project, to help define the initial backlog using, for example, a Design Sprint. This Design Sprint can be understood as a cycle with a pre-defined period where design activities are carried out to build a concept.
When loading the term Sprint, this cycle also inherits the same characteristics as Scrum, for example. In other words, in a Design Sprint, there are meetings, established roles and tasks to be performed, they can even be in a specific work board.
The difference is that during this period something 100% functional is not developed, only prototypes and concepts to be tested and refined with customers.
Another way to unite design with agile methodologies like Scrum is to place design tasks, mainly UX and Visual, within the Scrum Team’s own framework as specific activities.
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