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Archive for the ‘UX’ Category

Passionate ProductOwner (CSPO) Workshops by Jeff Patton at Agile India 2013 Conference

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Jeff Patton, a.k.a Father of Agile-UX, is doing the most innovative work around product discovery, release planning, agile interaction design, and putting requirements into context. Jeff won the Gordon Pask Award in the year 2007, for his work helping establish what User-Centered Design means in Agile.

Jeff Patton Story Mapping

Jeff brings two decades of experience from a wide variety of products from on-line aircraft parts ordering to electronic medical records to help organizations improve the way they work. Where many development processes focus on delivery speed and efficiency, Jeff balances those concerns with the need for building products that deliver exceptional value and marketplace success.

We are thrilled to offer Jeff’s exceptional Passionate ProductOwner (CSPO) workshop at the Agile India 2013 Conference.

Jeff Patton

Recently, we caught up with Jeff and asked him the following questions:

Why the passion in product ownership?

First off, “Passionate Product Ownership” is a stupid title, because you can’t teach someone passion! However, I’ve always been involved in Product Development and Product Management, and I take the greatest pride from knowing that I’ve made a product or put something out into the world that other people use. The class focuses on understanding the business problems we are solving – the people who will use the product and understanding what their problems are. While I can’t teach passion, we can certainly focus on helping everyone understand that they are building products that help people, and that’s where the passion comes from.

The product ownership role is often defined as one of the most challenging roles defined in scrum, why is this?

Scrum and Agile processes in general, offer a lot of tactical guidance for how to get software built. But most Agile processes depends on getting the right person in the Product Ownership role – someone who already knows what to build.

This role difficult because you are responsible for building the right thing, and you are also responsible for communicating what that right thing is to a large group of people, sometimes in excruciating detail! In this class, one of the first things you’ll learn is that while there may be a single Product Owner who acts as a leader, product ownership is handled by a team of people. I’d rather that the role of Product Owner was named “Product Leader” and that whole teams take ownership. If you survive the class and adopt this way of thinking, you’ll be practicing a type of product ownership where everyone is involved in figuring out the details of what to do, who the user is, how best to help them and what solutions should be built and described in detail.

You’ve done significant work in blending UX & Agile. Where do you think the community is headed as far as UX on Agile projects go?

That’s a great question! It depends on which community you’re talking about. In the early 2000s, I spent a lot of time in the Agile community trying to help them understand what user experience was and its importance. Simultaneously, I spent time with User Experience people trying to help them not be so darn afraid of Agile Development as if it was going to “wreck” things.

I’ve seen a lot of maturation over the last decade and many UX people now have experience working inside Agile projects and teams. The coolest thing that’s happened within the User Experience community is that they have learned to change their practice so it works better in an Agile context. I’ve also seen more and more organizations working with Agile development recognizing the importance of understanding users and building products that people like. Organizations see that UX is the kind of work that happens outside the code and it isn’t an “engineering thing.” Currently, I am seeing the User Experience community going deeper and evolving practices that work better. For example, you’ll find books on Agile User Experience and Lean User Experience. Also more and more people who teach Agile practices acknowledge, or at least understand, what a user experience person does, although some challenges remain.

A new kind of Agile is forming, where the work that UX people do to understand users, prototype and try out ideas, is now called Lean Start-Up. A friend of mine, Leah Buley, once said, “Design isn’t a product that designers produce. Design is a process that designers facilitate.” The communities are starting to understand that the user experience work is cross-cutting and the concern is threading it’s way into everyone’s process.

What will be the key take away for the workshop attendees?

You will learn the practices that support the “Product Discovery” process and how to do discovery well. Building the right product is about understanding who the product is for and how they are going to benefit from using it. This is not a singular person’s responsibility – it is the whole team’s responsibility. The practices you’ll get in the class that support this come from user experience. Practices such as simple personas and story mapping provide understanding of users and model user behaviors. You’ll also get practices for good project management. For example, focusing product releases on specific target users, tactically guiding releases, ways to slice stories thinly to slowly build up a product, so that as soon as possible, it is a shippable, complete product. You’ll also gain practices for building small amounts of product as experiments to really validate if you are building the right product.

Limited seats are available for Jeff’s Product Ownership workshop. Book your seat today to avoid disappointment: http://booking.agilefaqs.com

Facebook’s timeline – Like or Dislike?

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Over the last few days, I’ve heard friends complain about Facebook’s timeline (3rd major redesign of the profile page.)

I’m surprised that some people don’t like Timeline. IMHO its very elegantly designed and very “consuming information” friendly. The article: 5 Keys To Creating A UI With Soul explains the thinking process behind the timeline.

Obviously I like other other forms of consuming information like a Twitter stream or a Web page with comments. But I think timeline is neat.

I’m interested to hear from you, what you like or don’t like about timeline? Specific details will help me.

Hudson: Access Denied User is missing the Read permission

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Today I was adding some new users to our Hudson CI Server. Since we use Husdon’s Own User Database, I had to add new users in Hudson. However after that, when the new user tried to login, the user kept getting the following error:

Access denied User is missing the Read permission.

Google did not reveal any thing obvious. Then I started looking at Hudson configuration and realized that we’re using Hudson’s Matrix-based security authorization.

So every time we add a new user, we have to add the same user here as well. What a pain! Ideally permissions should be a link right from the new user’s page.

I wish we stop using the Martix-based security authorization and instead just use “Anyone can do anything” option. One less administrative step.

Great Community of Users Trumps Poor Quality Products

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Every now and then, I run into some weird issue with a software that I truly depend on. What I’m trying to do, looks like a very valid scenario, yet the software just does not want to cooperate. I look at their error message, it is completely misleading. You try to logically reason it out, but you run out of reasons.

Just when you are about to loose hope, you google for the error message and you find a huge number of other users offering solutions. Some problems might be very old know issues, but the folks building the software just never got around to fix them. However, with the help of suggestions from other users, you are able to very quickly solve your issue.

Instantaneously your frustration with the “poor quality” software disappears. You start to love the software even more.

This might sound dramatic, but this is my experience.

For Example: Recently I noticed that my blog, which runs on wordpress, did not have any description meta-tag.

Asked myself:

Shouldn’t wordpress produce a decent  description for each blog post? Guess not!

So I googled for it. Found an easy enough solution. Implemented it. Worked well, except, I started getting the following error on all admin pages:

Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at

It says its a Warning, but its a show-stopper. Does not even let me access the admin screens. However people can view my blog just fine.

Again googled for the error message and found a solution. Fixed it. Life is good.

This is the power of having a great community of users. User issues can be fixed in a fairly decentralized way.

Also we all know that “Zero-Defect-Product” is a myth. Any interactive system, can never be fully specified nor fully tested. There will always be scenarios that your team did not think about, but your users are trying to use the product in those scenarios.

So my point is:

Your software might have issues, but sometimes the community can figure out the solution and share it with others, faster than your company can. It does really compensate for not having the highest quality product.

In other words:

You can get away with slightly lower quality product if you are able to build a great community of users around your product.

Of course, if you have a crappy product that does not add any value to any users, then you won’t be able to build a community, no matter how great the quality of your product is.

Also I’ve seen many products that keep everything so closed/secretive, that even if a user wants to help, they simply cannot.

Personally I think those days are gone. This is the era of more power to the users and more dependence on the users.

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