Overall Web Development Process

11 Feb 2008 - 1:40pm
6 years ago
1 reply
423 reads
brianh
2010

All,

I'm glad to hear the IxDA conference went well. Hopefully I can attend
next year and meet a few of you.

For those of you involved with website creation and assuming you are
part of a larger team that includes graphics artists, developers, etc.,
what overall process does your team or company use and are you happy
with it? I've done a fair amount of research into this topic and
eventually settled on the process presented in the book by Kelly Goto
and Emily Cotler, "Web Redesign: Workflow that Works." However, I'm
working at a new company and the developers have started to utilize
Agile development methodologies and I don't believe Goto and Cotler's
process takes that style of development into consideration. (Does it
need to?)

So, does anyone have an overarching website development process they can
recommend that would fit well with the Agile development process?

Thanks,

Brian

Comments

14 Feb 2008 - 2:59pm
Zachary Sam Zaiss
2008

Hi Brian,

While I'm not at a very large company, I'm going through the same thing
you are - trying to adapt a user-centered approach to an agile
development methodology. We're currently revisiting our process because
our initial attempt at agile resulted in a number of process breakdowns.
Here are a few tips I can offer that might get you started.

A quick caveat: My company has combined project management and design
into one position (which I think is a great idea, but perhaps the
subject of a different thread). A lot of my suggestions may require some
heavy partnership work, depending on your PMs, to (1) be recognized as a
stakeholder (since your work is on behalf of the users), and (2) play a
proactive role in the upfront, envisioning process.

1. Bring structure to the visioning process.
Agile has the notion of an up-front vision, but what it is and how it
relates to the process is vague at best in the literature (Schwaber
devotes a single paragraph to it in "Agile Project Management with
Scrum"). As designers, it's up to us to define some structure around it.
A couple tips:
1a. Work one sprint ahead.
You'll always be playing catch up if you try to start with what your
developers are developing today. Look at the next sprint in the backlog
and conduct some vision activities around it. Cut your losses on the
current sprint.
1b. Create an experience tree on top of the features in the backlog.
This is a simple exercise that links marketing and senior leadership to
the feature-centric world that your developers live in. This is
equivalent to the "Define the Site" stage in Goto and Cotler's book,
only your scope isn't quite so broad.
Start at a high level. What are some themes that make up what your
product is striving to attain? Your marketing department is a great
resource for these.
Now move to the experience level. What experiences are needed to give
meat to each theme statement? If you sell a product saying it can do X,
what will users be doing every day to achieve X?
Once you have your experiences, start tying them to features in the
backlog. In all but the most forward looking companies that I've
witnessed and worked with, an understanding of the bigger picture
rarely, if ever, enters in to feature prioritization. You can bring that
to the table.
2. Work on the experience level.
What you choose to do here depends on your skills and strengths, where
the product is, and what makes sense for the next sprint. If navigation
is on board for the next sprint, then Goto and Cotler's step of defining
the site structure is highly appropriate. Otherwise, picking relevant
experiences for the next sprint and doing design around them (even on
the wireframe level) will help developers to have a clearer
understanding of what they'll be building.
3. Hook in to the Sprint Review meeting
The literature suggests that this is a 1/2 day timeboxed meeting. I'm
not sure what your company does. But this is where the developers show
what happened was accomplished during the sprint for everyone's review.
If you aren't participating in these meetings yet, you should be. This
is where you watch for any red flags that need to be taken out for some
usability testing or other analysis.
4. Buy some of the Agile Project Management literature
The best way for you to figure out where the holes are in a process is
to know it inside and out. I hate to be a pessimist, but agile is a
developer-centric method. If your company is bought into agile from top
to bottom, then they're main concern is keeping their developers
working, and that runs contrary to a lot of user-centered design
processes that recommend a full understanding before you develop
anything.

Well, hopefully one or two of those ideas has some applications for you.
I've just scratched the surface of what I'm rolling out at my company,
so if you need more ideas, feel free to hit me up offline.

Cheers,
-Sam

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Brian Hoffman
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2008 1:41 PM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Overall Web Development Process

All,

I'm glad to hear the IxDA conference went well. Hopefully I can attend
next year and meet a few of you.

For those of you involved with website creation and assuming you are
part of a larger team that includes graphics artists, developers, etc.,
what overall process does your team or company use and are you happy
with it? I've done a fair amount of research into this topic and
eventually settled on the process presented in the book by Kelly Goto
and Emily Cotler, "Web Redesign: Workflow that Works." However, I'm
working at a new company and the developers have started to utilize
Agile development methodologies and I don't believe Goto and Cotler's
process takes that style of development into consideration. (Does it
need to?)

So, does anyone have an overarching website development process they can
recommend that would fit well with the Agile development process?

Thanks,

Brian

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