Digital Transformation: How to integrate UX and Agile Teams | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Posted On July 20, 2016

The digital services market is seeing a lot of traction, with technology companies acquiring digital and creative agencies to expand their digital portfolio. A modern digital services provider is continuously adding services into its digital portfolio, such as social, mobile, analytics, and cloud. Digital agencies help these technology providers build expertise in customer insight, user interface (UI) design, and campaign design. Hence, digital acquisitions help service providers expand quickly, and compete to grab a larger pie of the digital services market.

This is leading to a new disruptive model where customers get creative and seek business strategy from one firm instead of multiple agencies and consulting firms. However, the integration between consulting, design, and system development/deployment is harder to achieve on real customer engagements.

The new digital landscape is making a significant impact on traditional delivery models. Most organizations have adopted agile and DevOps models to help development and operation teams deliver with higher speed and efficiency. The focus on digital and design thinking is pushing organizations to think through new models to integrate user experience (UX) with agile delivery teams.

Traditionally, there has been little overlap between UX and development teams, and both teams have operated in silos. In order to provide digital capabilities, service providers are setting up design studios to ideate and prototype digital solutions for clients. This requires UI designers, solution architects, and developers to quickly prototype a solution to test feasibility before piloting the solution.

UX professionals might find it difficult to understand and collaborate with agile teams. UX designers typically focus on laying out the entire design in one go. In contrast, development teams focus on creating a “Minimal Viable Product” using agile methodology.

Historically, enterprises have adopted an internal agency approach wherein the UI designers are allocated to projects based on their area of specialization. But, this model may not be best suited in the new digital world, wherein UI designers and development teams need to work in tandem to quickly deliver sprints. In cross-functional teams, UI designers will have to be closely aligned to the agile teams for digital transformation projects.

There are several ways enterprises can address some of these challenges:

  • Educate UI designers on agile design principles
  • Require the UI team to collaborate closely with agile teams to iteratively develop new wireframes and designs
  • Ensure the agile team incorporates design principles in their development methodology to deliver an exceptional customer experience
  • Design management by objectives (MBOs) for both UI designers and agile team members on the overall success of the project, rather than on individual design or software delivery, to deliver maximum value

Enterprises that are able to think ahead and focus on solving these team integration challenges will be able to reap the most benefit from an integrated digital environment. As I see it, enterprises have barely started with DevOps! So the cultural shift to DevOps might need to be even more dramatic, as it now needs to integrate design as well!

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