Dallas Texas, normally brings images and sounds of a bucking rodeo bull, JR Ewing’s ten gallon hat and gun galore to mind. I must admit I set out to get myself that ten gallon hat and eat steak every day at least once. I achieve the latter but the hat still eludes me.
Agile 2012 has just wrapped her self up, that Texan Blonde with a side order of Geek salad has just gotten up and hit the saddle after another successful baton change (it was over the London 2012 Olympics!) over from last years ten year anniversary event in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 2013 the event will be held in Nashville, Tennessee.
UX is bigger than a stage
Adrian Howard (@AdrianH) and I (@Ultraman) co-produced the UX stage this year. All that preparation and curation really paid off as all the sessions went down without a hitch. We had breadth and depth in our UX stage sessions and for the first time, we had an even split of developers, business, usability, product owner and hard core UX designers delivering the talks and workshops.
So what is going on here? Shouldn’t UX folk do the UX lectures and workshop facilitation? The surprising answer is NO need. Mission number one this year was to prove that as a practice and philosophy had infiltrated and converted strong advocates to fight for and promote our cause; thinking of themselves as important UX practitioners even if their label did not signify this. Examples of non UX folk delivering session on the UX stage include:
- The Fastest Learner Wins: Exploring the Innovator’s DNA: Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck
- User Driven Development: Alline Watkins
- Exploring UX techniques and practices – When should they be applied? Get some practice!: Ariadna Font
Get them talking about UX even if they don’t know they are
The UX stage was just one stage out of fifteen. How can we start to reach more folks and evangelise about the power of good UX if all we were allowed was 11 sessions over the course of a whole week? How can we compete against other stages with amazing speakers talking about leadership, culture, collaboration, coaching, trnsformation and all things Agile? These sessions all run in parallel. You ask anyone and they will same thing: “It is so hard deciding what to see as there is so much great stuff going on at the same time. How do you choose?”
Thankfully, as I experienced by sitting in on some awesome non-UX stage sessions, our job is being done for us once again. You can’t really talk about any subject related to Agile without factoring in UX. It is part and parcel of the Agile philosophy. Individuals (needs, capabilities) & (Useful user) Interaction, Working (usable) software, customer collaboration, responding to (user validated) change. remember take the user out and you have awesome software that no one wants or no on can use!
Examples of non UX folk delivering session on the non-UX stages include:
- The Product Partnership: Using Structured Conversations to Deliver Value: Ellen Gottesdiener, Mary Gorman
- Agile Inception Deck – 10 questions you’d be crazy not to ask before starting your project: Jonathan Rasmusson
- How to Brainstorm : Lessons from Design Thinking: Jeremy Lightsmith
- Play the Customer Development Game: A lean approach to business model discovery : Adrian Howard
- Users Are From Mars, Developers Are From Klingon: Derek Lane
We must continue to challenge, educate and improve
Great that we are starting to see people talk about and champion UX as non-UX professionals and as part of Agile leadership, culture, enterprise and business transformation topics, but we can’t rest there. We must start to promote UX further and clearer into the strategic part of any conversation and planning exercise. UX is identifies the real issues, it build empathy with our customers and it helps problem solving so that as a team we can all deliver awesome experiences taking into cosideration business and technology needs at the same time. UX is the missing link that we all need to continue to promote, love, include and constantly use to help validate why we do things, how and what we build.
As UXers, we must continue to educate, fight the good fight and most importantly, share who we are and what we do so that by the next conference we no longer need to have a UX stage because we will have talks and workshops that just are part of business and customer success. UX is a catalyst that should be in everything we do. I challenge everyone to pick up this vision and strive for it!