If your organisation truly wants to move away from being ‘organisation’ centric towards becoming more customer centric, it needs to ensure that mechanisms and processes are put in place to ensure the team has regular access to customer intelligence and feedback.
Agile development is a popular development process these days. As we know, Agile puts the emphasis on creating a ‘minimum’ product which then can be tested and iterated more quickly than traditional software development processes.
In order to support these quicker lighter development sprints, UX practices have also evolved and approaches and philosophies such as Lean UX have emerged. In Lean UX there is a move away from the ‘document heavy’ more formal UX research deliverables towards providing quicker and less formal feedback that can be quickly and continuously assimilated into the process.
Benefits of regular testing and customer insights.
- On a practical level, this will ensure that that the products and services your company produce are started with, and continue to be developed with, your customers’ needs in mind. They therefore should be more meaningful and useful to your customers’ lives.
- Having access to regular insights about your customer’s behaviour and how products fit in with their lives in general or any barriers they might be facing can help spark innovation and generate ideas for new features or products.
- On a more strategic level, making regular testing part of your processes helps embed a culture of learning and experimentation in your organisation. As Jeff Gothelf explains in his book ‘Lean UX book ’ it is then easier to leave individual opinions at the door and instead frame internal ideas as assumptions that need to be tested.
User centred design thinking in Agile processes
Many companies we work with as a UX Consultancy at User Vision are looking to the Agile approach in order to improve efficiencies and deliver better end products . We work with those companies looking at how best to incorporate UX and User Centred Design thinking into their new strategies and processes.
A cautionary note about the Agile approach; getting carried away with the process
As we know Agile was originally developed as software development approach where the priority was on getting to a point where the team could ship software. It was very much a process driven approach and the focus was on creating outputs. The Agile approach has evolved and is now being applied to many different business scenarios not just software development. However, what we still sometimes see with teams who are apply Agile is the legacy of the original process driven approach where internal teams get very much drawn into the details of the process (and the emphasis on delivery) and less focus is placed on customer input.
This is where having a process set up that feeds regular customer insights and feedback into the process is essential to keep teams embedded in reality and remind everyone of the bigger picture of what they are working towards.
For several of our clients we provide that ongoing user testing service. Apart from the obvious advantage that doing this externally, frees up the internal team to focus on other things, the biggest advantage of this approach is that we have the opportunity to work with and support the internal teams throughout the whole process.