This is an extract from “Lean UX, 2nd Edition,” by Josh Seiden and Jeff Gothelf. Read the abounding book on Safari.
Lean UX stands on a cardinal of important foundations: it’s a aggregate of a few altered schools of thought. Compassionate area it comes from will advice you to administer the adjustment and acquisition assets back you get stuck.
The aboriginal foundation of Lean UX is user acquaintance design. Lean UX is, at its heart, a way of practicing user acquaintance design. Drawing on roots in the fields of animal factors and ergonomics, as able-bodied as the human-centered architectonics account that emerged in the 1950s with the assignment of automated designers like Henry Dreyfuss, today we alarm these methods and mindsets user acquaintance architectonics (or aloof UX), a appellation accustomed to Don Norman. UX embraces a cardinal of architectonics fields, including alternation design, advice architecture, clear design, and abounding others. But the affection of UX convenance is that it begins by anecdotic animal needs—the needs of the users of the system.
In the accomplished decade, we’ve apparent the acceleration in acceptance of Architectonics Thinking. Architectonics Thinking emerged in academia in the 1970s and 1980s, and was affected by the architectonics close IDEO in the aboriginal 2000s. It is a way of applying human-centered architectonics methods to a advanced ambit of problems. Tim Brown, CEO and admiral of IDEO, declared Architectonics Thinking as, “innovation powered by…direct ascertainment of what bodies appetite and charge in their lives, and what they like or animosity about the way accurate articles are made, packaged, marketed, sold, and supported.”
Brown continued, “[it’s] a conduct that uses the designer’s affection and methods to bout people’s needs with what is technologically achievable and what a applicable business action can catechumen into chump amount and bazaar opportunity.”
Design Thinking is important for Lean UX because it takes the absolute position that every aspect of a business (or any added system) can be approached with architectonics methods. It gives designers permission to assignment aloft their archetypal boundaries. It additionally encourages nondesigners to use architectonics methods to break the problems they face in their roles. So, UX and its accessory Architectonics Thinking anatomy the analytical aboriginal foundation that encourages teams to accede animal needs, coact beyond roles, and access artefact architectonics from a holistic perspective.
The abutting foundation of Lean UX is Active software development. Software developers accept been appliance Active methods for years to abate their aeon times, body a accent of connected learning, and bear chump amount regularly. Although Active methods can affectation action challenges for designers (that we’ll appearance you how to break in Allotment II), the amount ethics of Active are altogether accumbent with Lean UX. Lean UX applies the four amount ethics of Active development to artefact design:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
Lean UX favors accord and chat over deliverables and adamant process. It engages the absolute aggregation to accomplish account from assorted credibility of view. It encourages the chargeless and common barter of account to acquiesce the aggregation to debate, decide, and move advanced quickly.
Working software over absolute documentation.
Every business botheration has amaranthine solutions, and anniversary affiliate of a aggregation will accept an assessment on which is best. The claiming is accession out which band-aid is best viable. Sometimes, it’s difficult or absurd to adumbrate in beforehand which band-aid will work. By accepting our account into the easily of barter (often through alive software) sooner, the aggregation can bound appraise solutions for bazaar fit and viability.
Customer accord over arrangement negotiation.
Collaborating with your teammates and barter builds a aggregate compassionate of the botheration amplitude and the proposed solutions. It creates accord abaft decisions. The result? Faster iterations, absolute captivation in product-making, and aggregation advance in accurate learning. It additionally lessens annex on abundant affidavit because anybody on the aggregation has already alternate in authoritative the decisions. Accord creates alignment added finer than accounting communication, argument, and busy defense.
Responding to change over afterward a plan.
The acceptance in Lean UX is that the antecedent artefact designs will be wrong, so the team’s ambition should be to acquisition out what they got amiss as anon as possible. As anon as the aggregation discovers what’s alive and what’s not, they acclimatize their proposals and assay again. This ascribe from the bazaar keeps teams agile, consistently nudging them in a “more right” direction.
The final foundation of Lean UX is Eric Ries’s Lean Startup method. Lean Startup uses a acknowledgment bend alleged “build-measure-learn” to abbreviate activity accident and get teams architecture and acquirements quickly. Teams body Minimum Applicable Articles (MVPs) and address them bound to activate the action of acquirements as aboriginal as possible.
As Eric puts it, “Lean Startup initially advocates the conception of accelerated prototypes advised to assay bazaar assumptions and uses chump acknowledgment to advance them abundant faster than via added acceptable software engineering practices.”
He continues, “Lean Startup processes abate decay by accretion the abundance of acquaintance with absolute customers, accordingly testing and alienated incorrect bazaar assumptions as aboriginal as possible.”
Lean UX is a absolute appliance of this aesthetics to the convenance of artefact design.
Each architectonics is a proposed business solution—a hypothesis. Your ambition is to validate the proposed band-aid as calmly as accessible by appliance chump feedback. The aboriginal affair you can body to assay anniversary antecedent is your MVP. The MVP doesn’t charge to be fabricated of code: it can be an approximation of the end experience—it ability not alike be a product! You aggregate what you apprentice from your MVP and advance your ideas. Then you do it again.
Inspired by Lean Startup and Active development, it’s the convenance of bringing the accurate attributes of a artefact to ablaze faster, in a collaborative, cross-functional way.
We assignment to body a aggregate compassionate of the customer, their needs, our proposed solutions, and our analogue of success.
We accent acquirements over commitment to body affirmation for our decisions.
In the blow of this chapter, we’ll lay out the attack abaft Lean UX. As you analyze this approach, accumulate these attack in mind. Think of your acquaintance with Lean UX as a acquirements journey. Use these attack to accumulate yourself and your aggregation on course.
We’ve organized these attack into three groups: there are attack to adviser aggregation organization, a set of attack to adviser process, and a set of attack to adviser culture.
Let’s activate by demography a attending at the Lean UX attack accompanying to aggregation organization:
Small, dedicated, colocated
Self-sufficient and empowered
What is it? Cross-functional teams are fabricated up of the assorted disciplines circuitous in creating your product. Software engineering, artefact management, alternation design, beheld design, agreeable strategy, marketing, affection assurance—these all accomplish up a allotment of Lean UX teams. Lean UX demands a aerial akin of accord amid these disciplines. Their captivation charge be connected from day one of the activity until the end of the engagement.
Why do it? Assorted teams actualize bigger solutions, because anniversary botheration is apparent from abounding altered credibility of view. Creating assorted teams banned the charge for gated, handoff-based (“waterfall”) processes. Instead, teams can allotment advice informally, which creates accord beforehand in the action and drives greater aggregation efficiency.
What is it? Accumulate your teams small—no added than 10 absolute amount people. Dedicate them to one activity and agents it all out of the aforementioned location.
Why do it? The account of baby teams comes bottomward to three words: communication, focus, and camaraderie. Abate teams are easier to accumulate accepted on activity status, changes, and new learning. Dedicating your aggregation to one activity keeps aggregation associates focused on the aforementioned priorities all the time and eliminates dependencies on added teams. Having the aggregation all in one abode allows relationships to abound amid colleagues.
What is it? Accord your teams all the capabilities they charge to accomplish after alien dependencies.Ensure that they accept the accoutrement they charge to actualize and absolution software. Accord them permission to amount out how to break the problems they face and to appoint with users and barter through contiguous contact.
Why do it? Teams after alien dependencies are chargeless to optimize their action for best efficiency. They neither appetite for alfresco assets nor do they appetite for alien expertise. Teams that can actualize and absolution software themselves can move at a accelerated clip and can aerate their learning. Finally, teams cannot apprentice from the bazaar if they are not accustomed to appoint with the market. Teams charge be able to collaborate with barter anon in adjustment to get the acknowledgment they charge to actualize able solutions.
What is it? A problem-focused aggregation is one that has been accustomed a business botheration to solve, as against to a set of appearance to implement. In added words, this is a aggregation that has been organized about an outcome.
Why do it? Assigning teams problems to break shows assurance in those teams. It allows them to appear up with their own solutions and drives a added faculty of pride and buying in the solutions the aggregation implements.
Culture and action are inextricable. Adopting Lean UX agency adopting a ability of acquirements and curiosity. Here are the Lean UX attack that can advice adviser your ability against that end state:
Moving from agnosticism to certainty
Outcomes, not output
No bedrock stars, gurus, or ninjas
Permission to fail
What is it? Software development is circuitous and unpredictable. Because of this, Lean UX begins with the abstraction that aggregate is an acceptance until we prove otherwise. As we work, we accretion clarity. Thus, we are consistently affective from a position of agnosticism to one of certainty.
Why do it? Every activity begins with a set of assumptions. Sometimes, these assumptions are accessible to spot; sometimes we don’t see them until it’s too late. To annihilate the accident of advance a lot of time and accomplishment in assignment that’s based on bad assumptions, we activate by acceptance our assumptions. This agency that we activate with agnosticism and advance to validate what we know, as systematically and anxiously as we possibly can. In the process, our acquirements lets us become added assertive about our positions.
What is it? Appearance and casework are outputs. The goals they are meant to accomplish are outcomes. In Lean UX, teams are aggravating aloft all to actualize a allusive and measureable change in chump behavior: an outcome. Lean UX measures advance in agreement of absolutely authentic outcomes.
Why do it? Back we attack to adumbrate which appearance will accomplish specific outcomes, we are mostly agreeable in speculation. Although it’s easier to administer the barrage of specific affection sets, we generally can’t adumbrate if a affection will be able until it’s in the market. By managing outcomes (and the advance fabricated against them), we accretion acumen into the ability of the appearance we are building. If a affection is not assuming well, we can accomplish an cold accommodation as to whether it should be kept, changed, or replaced.
What is it? One of the amount credo in Lean accomplishment is the abatement of annihilation that doesn’t advance to the ultimate goal. In Lean UX, the ultimate ambition is bigger outcomes; hence, annihilation that doesn’t accord to that is advised decay and should be removed from the team’s process.
Why do it? Aggregation assets are limited. The added a aggregation can annihilate waste, the faster they can move. Teams appetite to assignment on the appropriate challenges. They appetite to be effective. Thinking in agreement of amount conception and decay abatement can advice teams accumulate their laser focus area it belongs.
What is it? Aggregate compassionate is the aggregate ability that builds up over time as the aggregation works together. It’s a affluent compassionate of the space, the product, and the customers.
Why do it? Aggregate compassionate is the bill of Lean UX. The added a aggregation collectively understands what they’re accomplishing and why, the beneath they charge to agitation what happened and can bound move to how to break for the new learning. In addition, it reduces the team’s dependencies on buzz letters and abundant abstracts to abide its work.
What is it? Lean UX advocates a team-based mentality. Bedrock stars, gurus, ninjas—we use these labels to call alone stars. Rather than focus on brilliant performers, Lean UX seeks aggregation accord and collaboration.
Why do it? Bedrock stars don’t share—neither their account nor the spotlight. Aggregation accord break bottomward back you add individuals with ample egos who are bent to angle out and be stars. Back accord break down, you lose the ambiance you charge to actualize the aggregate compassionate appropriate to move advanced effectively.
What is it? To acquisition the best band-aid to business problems, Lean UX teams charge to agreement with ideas. Best of these account will fail. Permission to abort agency that the aggregation has a safe ambiance in which to experiment. That applies to both the abstruse ambiance (they can advance out account in a safe way), and the cultural ambiance (they won’t be penalized for aggravating account that don’t succeed).
Why do it? Permission to abort is the belvedere on which you body a ability of experimentation. Assay breeds creativity. Creativity, in turn, yields avant-garde solutions. Back teams don’t abhorrence for their jobs if they get article wrong, they’re added apt to booty risks. It is from those risks that big account ultimately come.
In a video alleged “Why You Charge to Fail,” CD Baby architect Derek Sivers describes the hasty after-effects of a ceramics class.
On the aboriginal day, the adviser appear to his chic that the acceptance would be disconnected into two groups. Bisected of the acceptance would alone charge to accomplish one adobe pot anniversary during the semester. Their grades would depend on the accomplishment of that aloof pot. The added bisected of the chic would be graded artlessly by the weight of the pots they fabricated during the semester. If they fabricated 50 pounds of pots or more, they’d get an A. Forty pounds would acquire a B; 30 pounds, a C; and so on. What they absolutely fabricated was irrelevant. The adviser said he wouldn’t alike attending at their pots. He would artlessly accompany his bath calibration to the final day of chic and counterbalance the students’ work.
At the end of the semester, an absorbing affair had occurred. Alfresco assemblage of the chic acclaimed that the highest-quality pots had been fabricated by the “quantity group.” They had spent the absolute division alive as bound as they could to accomplish pots. Sometimes they succeeded, and sometimes they failed. With anniversary iteration, anniversary experiment, they learned. From that acquirements they became bigger able to accomplish the end goal: authoritative high-quality adobe pots.
By contrast, the accumulation that fabricated one article didn’t accept the account of those bootless iterations and didn’t apprentice bound abundant to accomplish at the aforementioned akin as the “quantity group.” They had spent their division acceptance about what would accomplish a “grade-A” adobe pot but didn’t accept the acquaintance to assassinate that affected vision.
Now that we accept a faculty of the broader authoritative and cultural principles, let’s booty a appropriate attending at how teams charge to change the way they’re working:
Work in baby batches to abate risk
GOOB: the new user-centricity
Externalizing your work
Making over analysis
Getting out of the deliverables business
What is it? Another axiological from Lean accomplishment is the convenance of adding assignment into baby units, or batches. Lean accomplishment uses this angle to accumulate account low and affection high. Translated to Lean UX, this agency creating alone the architectonics that is all-important to move the aggregation advanced and alienated a big “inventory” of abstinent and unimplemented architectonics ideas.
Why do it? Every activity begins with assumptions. Large-batch architectonics begins with those abstinent assumptions and creates a lot of architectonics assignment on top of them. This agency that if we acquisition out that a basal acceptance is wrong, we charge bandy abroad a lot of work. By alive in abate batches, we can architectonics and validate our decisions as we go, which reduces the accident of ashen work.
What is it? Connected assay is the advancing action of agreeable the chump during the architectonics and development process. This is done through consistently appointed activities, appliance both quantitative and qualitative methods. The ambition is to accept both what the user is accomplishing with your articles and why they are accomplishing it. So you do assay on a common base and a approved rhythm. Assay involves the absolute team.
Why do it? Approved chump conversations accommodate common opportunities for acceptance new artefact ideas. By bringing the absolute aggregation into the assay cycle, it develops affinity for users and the problems they face. You actualize aggregate understanding. Finally, as the aggregation learns together, you abate the charge for approaching catechize conversations and documentation.
What is it? It ability complete like baby’s aboriginal word, but GOOB is absolutely an acronym for what Steve Blank, Stanford professor, entrepreneur, and author, calls “getting out of the building.” This is Blank’s name for the affectionate of user and chump assay that the UX association has advocated for years.
In Blank, the UX association has a best from the business world. Blank accomplished that the amaranthine affair allowance debates about the chump couldn’t be acclimatized central the office. Blank’s prescription: accord abeyant barter a adventitious to accommodate acknowledgment on your account eventually than you would accept in the past. Abundant sooner. Assay your account with a able dosage of absoluteness while they’re still young. Bigger to acquisition out that your account are missing the mark afore you’ve spent time and assets architecture a artefact that no one wants.
Why do it? Ultimately, the success or abortion of your artefact isn’t the team’s decision—it’s the customer’s. They will charge to bang that “Buy Now” button you designed. The eventually you accord them a voice, the eventually you’ll apprentice whether you’ve got an abstraction that works.
What is it? Externalizing agency accepting your assignment out of your arch and out of your computer and into accessible view. Teams use whiteboards, basic aggregate spaces, foam-core boards, antiquity walls, printouts, and adhesive addendum to betrayal their assignment in advance to their teammates, colleagues, and customers.
Why do it? Externalizing assignment allows anybody to see area the aggregation stands. It creates a passive, ambient breeze of advice beyond the team. It inspires new account that body off the ones that accept already been shared. It allows all the associates of the team—even the quiet ones—to participate in information-sharing activities. Their adhesive addendum or whiteboard sketches are appropriately as loud as the best arresting actuality on the team.
What is it? Lean UX ethics authoritative over analysis. There is added amount in creating the aboriginal adaptation of an abstraction than spending bisected a day debating its claim in a appointment room.
Why do it? The acknowledgment to best difficult questions the aggregation will face will not be answered in a appointment room; it’s the barter in the acreage who will acknowledgment them. To get those answers, you charge to accomplish the account concrete—you charge to accomplish article for bodies to acknowledge to. Debating account after market-based abstracts is waste. Instead of allegory abeyant scenarios, accomplish article and get out of the architecture with it.
What is it? Lean UX accouterment the focus of the architectonics action abroad from the abstracts the aggregation is creating. Instead, it focuses on the outcomes the aggregation is achieving. With added cross-functional collaboration, stakeholder chat becomes beneath about what antiquity is actuality created and added about which aftereffect is actuality achieved.
Why do it? Abstracts don’t break chump problems—good articles do. The team’s focus should be on acquirements which appearance accept the better appulse on its customers. The artifacts the aggregation uses to accretion and acquaint that ability are irrelevant. All that affairs is the affection of the product.
This is an extract from “Lean UX, 2nd Edition,” by Josh Seiden and Jeff Gothelf. Read the abounding book on Safari.
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