UX and Scrum

Last post 06:39 pm February 5, 2018
by Stephanie Brenton
6 replies
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01:34 pm October 21, 2017

Hello,

Our current situation is as follows:

We have a mltiple Scrum Teams where the DevTeams consists of Software Developers as well as Testers.

Besides that we have an UX Design Team working with the Scrum Teams. In the Organisation the UX team is seperated from development in order to have the corporate design under control. They are some how “above” development.

When the PO writes a new story he first works with the UX team to get an initial idea about the design. The stories with the designs are then presented to the development team in Backlog Refinement. The team has now the chance to give some additional input to the design team. When the story is choosen for development in Sprint Planning the design is already finished.

Our problems are:

1. The development team often feels very limited in terms of creativity. They feel like they are just some coding monkeys who are not involved in the look and feel of their software. Because of that, they are demotivated.

2. The UX team often has some problems when the DevTeams start to discuss passionately about the designs, because the developer should focus on developing as they  (the UX team) are the experts for design.

3. The PO has the last word about the UX of the software. Often he stands somewhere in the middle between UX and development and no matter how he decides, someone’s gonna be frustrsted.

I’m the Scrum Master of the team and I’m trying to figure out how I can improve the collaboration between the Scrum team and the UX team. 

My questions are:

1. Should the PO have the last word on UX?

2. How do you combine UX and Scrum?

3. Does the development team just have to accept the designs provided by UX team? 

4. Do you have any other advice for me?

 

This situation frustrates almost anyone involved and I hope you may hove some helpful advice.

 

Regards,

Benjamin

05:32 pm October 23, 2017

I’m the Scrum Master of the team and I’m trying to figure out how I can improve the collaboration between the Scrum team and the UX team. 

Do you think it's right that there should be a separate UX team at all?

06:57 pm October 23, 2017

Thanks for your reply!

No I don’t think thats the best solution. In my opinion the best solution would be to have one UX designer in each development team. That way the teams would be truly cross functional. In such a situation all the UX designers should participate in a community of practice to ensure a corporate design.

That would be the ideal solution in my opinion.

 

However reality looks different. And unfortunately the organization will not change very soon... 

Do you have any advice for me? What about the 4 questions in my original post, any ideas?

 

Thank you very much!

07:39 pm October 23, 2017

Very little is likely to change if people in the organization currently believe they are implementing Scrum. My advice would be to correct any misunderstanding about this, and to be as transparent as possible about what Scrum really entails.

08:01 am October 24, 2017

I totally agree with you Ian. And I'm doing my best to make the disadvantages of the current organization structure transparent and clear. And we are already moving towards the goal (very slowly). Our testers are now more integrated in the DevTeams. Before they were also in a separate team in the QA department. For UX that would (at the moment) not be possible as we don’t have enough UX designers for each team.

I’d really appreciate some advices on how to make work under the current circumstances more productive. How could a Scrum team without UX designer in the DevTeam work effectively with an external UX team?

Besides that, would you agree that the PO should have the last word on UX? I don’t see the answer about that in the Scrum Guide. In my opinion he should have the last word. On the other hand isn’t UX part of the “HOW” not of the “WHY” or the “WHAT”?

Thanks again for your answers! :)

 

09:24 am October 24, 2017

I’d really appreciate some advices on how to make work under the current circumstances more productive. How could a Scrum team without UX designer in the DevTeam work effectively with an external UX team?

If the current circumstances are not changed, the situation is unlikely to become more productive. My advice is to make it absolutely clear that there is not yet a Scrum Team at all, and to put transparency in place which shows how current arrangements are suboptimal. This may include highlighting the deficit for release (the work which is left undone by each workgroup at the end of an iteration), the opportunity cost of each missed release, and perhaps measures showing the dissatisfaction with current ways of working.

A Scrum Master should have a low tolerance for organizational impediments, although it is up to each one to decide how much they are personally willing to tolerate.

05:46 pm February 3, 2018

My questions are:

1. Should the PO have the last word on UX?
I'm a senior UX professional -- I've been taught that it's my job as the expert on design best practices, user behaviors and needs to provide all design details for the team. I work with the product owner to ensure business needs are met. At the end of the day, it's not my product. If there is a business need that conflicts with a user need and we can't come to a good compromise that maximizes UX while supporting business needs, the product owner gets final say as they have the responsibility for a successful product. That said, they should expect UX to provide sound recommendations for the scenario and take that into consideration.

2. How do you combine UX and Scrum?
Scrum is a development methodology. It's for developers, not UX. That said, developers can use scrum to manage their work while UX uses UX methodologies to manage their own work. The ideal is that UX is working with Product Owners ahead of the sprints to learn about the users, learn business goals, define the features, test prototypes, and iterate on the solution BEFORE it ever hits a sprint. Essentially they groom the backlog. This diagram kinda represents the idea: https://experience.sap.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bettertogether1.p…

3. Does the development team just have to accept the designs provided by UX team? 
Yes and no. The developers should collaborate with the UX professional and product owners to make sure they are implementing the product goals that will make the product most successful. A good UX professional should know how to design so that the product has better adoption, is less error-prone, and is more intuitive. Developers can help UX by looking for technical issues/challenges with proposed designs, gaps in requirements, and recommending component libraries that can be easily leveraged to achieve the final outcome. The developers should also offer to sit in on UX research so they can hear first-hand the struggle users face and talk to UX about how their design helps users be more successful...and helps the business be more successful. Taking the time to understand and believe in the product can be very motivating for developers...and then it empowers dev to be a safety net...they can help spot blind spots and opportunities that the UX and PO team maybe overlooked.

4. Do you have any other advice for me?
Try to figure out how to partner with the UX professional on your team. They have a big job and could likely use some help. Find out how you can support them in building a great UI and collaborate with them. Being at odds with a team member is frustrating...so work together to work past the frustration. Good luck!