Past Meetup

Usability testing in agile environments

This Meetup is past

125 people went


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.


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.