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Usability testing in agile environments

BAs and testers traditionally team up when it comes to testing. In agile environments the situation is the same -- pairing to assess bugs and defects that in Waterfall environments may not have been discovered until right at the end of the project when it was simply too late or too expensive to correct. Testing to understand whether end-users will find software easy to use, however, takes a different approach. Afterall, surely you need a significant enough product before end-users can start to test it?

Matthew will present a case study of usability testing in a Scrum project operating in an enterprise using Waterfall. This is an interactive session that examines usability testing techniques and the psycho-cognitive disciplines that underpins them. He'll detail the issues in adapting traditional user-experience testing methods and techniques – heuristics, cognitive walk-thru and expert review – to the Sprint cycle as well as the role that formal usability testing then took to attempt to increase awareness of the impact of design debt in the developer-only team, and the re-work that resulted that could have otherwise been avoided. Matthew will then articulate the major usability findings from assessing the features produced by the team, the remedies to improve usability in the context of the Scrum by drawing on Lean thinking, and the Enterprise Definition of Done for all software development projects that emerged. Specifically, Matthew look at the question of timing of usability testing in Scrum and answer it with lessons learned from his experiences on this project, and conclude by looking at experiences with this, and a number of other teams, and the conflict in ideology that has often arisen between minimal viable product, minimal *usable* feature, and what an end-user values.

Takeaways:

  • Techniques and topics on how -not- to attempt to describe usability in a User Story.
  • Techniques for UX as BDD and Definition of Done.
  • A pattern for conducting usability testing in Scrum environments.
  • Patterns for breaking down and estimating usability improvements when the scope of recommendations seem to vast.
  • Common pitfalls in usability to watch out and avoid for when your team lacks UX skills particularly where cognitive load, cognitive complexity, visual contrast and visual flow are concerned, and how to develop these UX skills in team members.
  • The important lessons learned from Matthew's previous projects regarding the valuable synergies between UX, user-centred design, usability and Lean inherent in Scrum that can ensure features developed are valued by users, not just those who created them.


 

 

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  • Andrew DuLaney S.

    Matt,
    Thanks for sharing your story of an organisation that successfully adopted a more agile approach mid way through a project.
    Embedded in your talk was an appreciation of how understanding a little psychology can contribute to the success of a project. It was great to hear you share these insights, in a language that everyone can understand and benefit from.
    Thanks again. Andy

    May 16, 2013

    • Matthew H.

      Thanks for your comments, Andrew.

      Usability is often hard to understand for that very reason -- lots of UX jargon and psych. Much of usability testing is not hard to do, either in a Waterfall or Scrum environment, it's making it in a form that digestable that is often hard :D

      May 16, 2013

  • Kelsey van H.

    Great content, excellent delivery, valuable take always.

    May 14, 2013

    • Matthew H.

      Thx Kelsey. There are a lot more 'hidden' things inside the Prezi to discover while browsing through.

      May 16, 2013

  • Matthew H.

    For more information on the patterns we used to break down large sized usability User Stories, check out our new blog post: http://zenexmachina.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/patterns-for-breaking-down-usability-and-ux-user-stories/

    M

    May 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Awesome presentation! Very entertaining. As Craig articulated, It's great to have an expert like Matthew put a container around what us users do on a subconscious level every time we interface to a computer. It all comes back to the science, and it's interesting to note the science hasn't changed, just technology and our ability to present information.

    1 · May 14, 2013

    • Matthew H.

      Am really glad you enjoyed the presentation. I'd love to come back again to Melbourne and present some more on my experiences.

      May 15, 2013

    • Craig W B.

      Anytime Matt

      May 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great presentation by Matthew Hodgeson on Usability. Generated some great discussions and debate as well!

    May 14, 2013

    • Matthew H.

      The chat went til around 11pm last night! I got the impression that meetups typically don't go that long :P

      May 15, 2013

  • Matthew H.

    Thanks to everyone that came last night. The presentation can be found on our Zen Ex Machina blog: http://zenexmachina.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/usability-testing-in-scrum-environments-presentation-at-scrum-australia-2013/

    Hope to catch up with you all again soon and perhaps delivery a full-blown Agile UX talk.

    If you want to follow-up with me about Scrum or UX, give me a ping on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/magia3e

    M :)

    May 15, 2013

  • Ed W.

    Thanks for your enthusiasm tonight, folks. Thanks to Matthew and Mia for making trip from Canberra. I mentioned LAST Conference, which is on Friday 2 August at Swinburne Uni. If you have something to get of your chest, or want to share learning with the community, then please consider submitting a session idea. Submissions are open until midnight on Sunday:
    http://www.lastconference.com/submissions

    Stay tuned to the LAST Conference site, as we are going to be making some announcements in the 1-2 weeks about registering for the event. We will have early bird pricing, but even the full fare registrations will be very affordable.

    May 14, 2013

  • Fred

    Interesting presentation and good company.

    May 14, 2013

  • Bernd S.

    If you're interest in the Lean Kanban Australia/New Zealand (LKANZ) 2013 conference (12th and 13th September in Melbourne), please check out our crowdfunding approach on http://pozible.com/lkanz and/or follow us on http://twitter.com/lkanzconf

    1 · May 14, 2013

  • Craig W B.

    Video people using systems in their normal environment. Get users to self talk as they work to verbalise their thinking.

    1 · May 14, 2013

  • E C.

    Horribly sick and don't want to pass it around. Next time!

    May 14, 2013

  • Nene W.

    Got a meeting prior. Does this start 6pm on the dot?

    May 14, 2013

    • Craig W B.

      Yes but it will be conversational as well. Come when you can.

      May 14, 2013

  • Max R.

    Conflicting appt

    May 14, 2013

  • Jeremy S.

    Looking forward to it

    May 13, 2013

  • Krishna N.

    I am a BA from USA and new to Melbourne. Looking forward for collaboration with like minded people and understand the Australian market, while contributing from my experience across various geographies.

    May 13, 2013

  • Matthew H.

    Did we get a venue confirmed for this?

    Just finalising my travel arrangements now :)

    May 11, 2013

    • Craig W B.

      Venue locked in. BYO projector if it is important. The venue gear is pretty old and tired.

      May 12, 2013

  • Neal M.

    I'm a BA, originally from Canada and now in Melbourne. Looking forward to contributing and learning with like-minded professionals.

    May 8, 2013

  • Clive

    As a Test Analyst, this sounds very interesting.

    May 7, 2013

  • Marcel van H.

    For those who were interested in the flip chart drawing and visual thinking - Let's meet! -> http://www.meetup.com/Visual-Practitioners-Melbourne/events/111112192/

    1 · April 17, 2013

  • sasee

    Looking forward to see you guys

    April 17, 2013

  • Matthew H.

    Craig, can you suggest a venue please?

    March 9, 2013

    • Craig W B.

      Will do Matt. It will be CDB for sure.

      April 17, 2013

  • Irith

    Does this HAVE to be on a Tuesday? Clashes with UX Book Club :-( Just asking because April's meetup is a Wednesday... @Ed, @Craig ...

    1 · April 15, 2013

    • Irith

      Just saw that your meetup is normally 2nd Tuesday of the month.... guess that answers my question!

      April 15, 2013

    • Craig W B.

      We can run occasional variations, but we have the Scrum users group on Tuesdays and so changed the night for people who have a clash but common interest.

      April 17, 2013

  • Barbara H.

    Will attend - looking forward to it

    April 14, 2013

  • Abhishek G.

    Looking forward to it...

    February 18, 2013

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