11/3/2006, last modified 12/29/2006
In Agile Development, business value is important. However, business value comes after successful delivery of and subsequent use of a product that fits into its users’ lives and workpractice, and within the budget of the organization who pays for its design and creation. A holistic Agile approach doesn’t just drive towards the delivery of working software, but the use of it by its targeted users. To that end, designing for users and use and balancing that design and its implementation costs against business goals is critical. To do it well takes a little more thought than just writing down what you want on an index card. But don’t stop writing things down on index cards.
In support of building a holistic Agile product design and delivery approach, I leverage design and modeling approaches from user centered design processes, and Usage-Centered Design in particular. But you can’t just design the outside of the software, you’ve got to build it to. To do that I leverage Agile Development Approaches informed by Alistair Cockburn’s writing and speaking, the Poppendiek’s Lean Software Development, Ken Schwaber’s Scrum Methodology, Beck’s Extreme Programming, and many other’s wise thinking and teaching. Other’s influences are almost too numerous to count.
This stuff is difficult. There isn’t an instruction manual to follow. My approach has been to build up a kit of techniques and tricks, along with various process templates. On the ground, in the context of a team and product to design and build, improvisation is critical to success.