Even though today is officially a day off for me, I am working to get all things ready for Autodesk University 2009 next week in Las Vegas. I am at my downtown Salt Lake City office space at http://betaloftslc.com/ today. There are a number of creative and smart people working here which makes it a fresh and intellectually stimulating environment.
I was talking with a process and Agile software method expert Jeff Patton (http://www.agileproductdesign.com/) who was sitting near me. We had a great discussion on the topic of User Experience “UX” and product design. I have always wanted to know how Agile can be applied to product design, product development, and the user experience.
Having run Autodesk Beta programs for many years, the discussion steered into my favorite subject matter of customer involvement in the software development process.
My opinion is the customer should be involved from the concept and every point in between to the completion and shipping of the product which and then start over again to improve the next release of a product. According to Jeff, I have always been an Agile process person without even being aware of it.
People that know me should be familiar with my quirky habit to come up with analogies. Sometimes the analogies are good ones, sometimes not so good.
<Warning Shaan analogy coming…>
Think of the customer or end user being considered as a thread and must be involved consistently when sewing fabric along the entire length at regular intervals or the seam will not be strong or completed. The more threads in the stitch, the stronger and more successful the outcome (common sense required). Requirements in a PRD & MRD can and will change between research and delivery to maintain the focus on end user experience and the ever changing industries and market.
Never cut back on the required number of stitches, but you can adjust the fabric length. The key is to maintain and assure a quality product delivery with customers involved in the process so they get what they want and needed.
The same analogy can altered to be about laces on a shoe or football being vital to the quality of the product.
Listen to & aim to delight the customers at every point of the process.
I like being a needle!